Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mardi Gras King Cake

"The first week of January in New Orleans starts the King cake season. King cakes first appeared after 1872, when the Rex Krewe selected the Mardi Gras colors [purple, green and gold]. The traditional King cake is a coffee cake, and is oblong and braided. It is iced with a simple icing and covered with purple, green and gold sugar."

"Each cake contains a hidden bean or small plastic baby, and custom tells that whoever finds it must either buy the next King cake or throw the next King cake party. One Mardi Gras organization uses the King cake tradition to choose the queen of its annual ball. Hundreds of King cake parties are thrown every year and hundreds of thousands of cakes are made, bought and eaten every year."

"A king cake [sometimes rendered as kingcake, kings' cake, king's cake, or three kings cake] is a type of cake associated with the festival of Epiphany in the Christmas season in a number of countries, and in other places with the pre-Lenten celebrations of Mardi Gras/Carnival."

"In the United States, Carnival is traditionally observed in the Southeastern region of the country, particularly in Mobile, Alabama, the towns and cities of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, southern Louisiana and New Orleans. In this region, the king cake is closely associated with Mardi Gras traditions and is served throughout the Carnival season, which lasts from Epiphany Eve to Fat Tuesday."

"The traditional colors of Mardi Gras are purple[for justice], green [for faith], and gold [for power]. These colors are said to have been chosen by Grand Duke Alexis Alexandrovitch Romanoff of Russia during a visit to New Orleans in 1872. This doctrine was reaffirmed in 1892, when the Rex Parade theme "Symbolism of Colors" gave the colors their meanings."

Some believe the significance of the cake's decorative colors are purple for royalty [hence the name king cake] gold for wealth [this in connection to king cake also being served during the Christmas holidays; symbolic of the 3 wise men bringing gifts to the baby Jesus], and green for good luck and monetary fortune.

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!

sookie's King Cake
From Foodista

King Cake Recipe

For The Cake:
1/4 cup of butter
1 teaspoon salt
16 ounces sour cream
2 packages
dry yeast
2 eggs
6 cups to 6 1/2 of all purpose flour divided
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
For The Frosting:
3 cups of sifted powdered sugar
3 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 drops of food coloring.
Colored Sugars:
1 1/2 cups sugar divided
2 drops of green, yellow, red and blue food coloring.

Combine 1/4 cup of butter, salt, and sour cream in saucepan. Heat until all has melted, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.

Dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar in warm water as according to directions on package. Let yeast stand for 10 minutes.

Add butter/ sour cream mixture, eggs, and 2 cups of flour in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed of an electric mixer for about 2 minutes or until smooth. Gradually stir in remaining 4 cups of flour to make a soft dough.

Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until elastic. Place dough in a well greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (80-85 degrees) for one hour. Dough will double in bulk.

Combine 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, melted butter, and cinnamon. Set aside.

Punch dough down and divide in half. Turn one portion of dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll onto a 28x10 rectangle. Spread softened butter and cinnamon mixture on dough. Roll dough in jellyroll fashion, starting at one end and roll towards other end. Halfway down the roll, add filling of choice [cream cheese, chocolate, Bavarian cream, fruit filling, etc.]

Finish rolling to end and gently place dough roll seam side down on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bring ends of dough together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching the edges together to seal.

Cover and let rise in a warm place 20 minutes.

Bake a 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Repeat procedure with remaining dough, butter, and cinnamon mixture.

Combine powdered sugar and butter. Add milk (at room temperature) to desired consistency for drizzling. Stir in vanilla. Divide frosting into three batches, tinting one green, one yellow, one combining red and blue for purple. Yields about 1 1/2 cups.

Place divided sugar in three jars or bowls. Place a drop of green in one container and mix well. Repeat for yellow and purple colored sugar.

Decorate each cake with batches of colored frosting and sprinkle with colored sugar.

In the recipe above, the time needed to allow the yeast to rise does not permit a quick prep or bake time. my time saving tweak for a king cake recipe is substitute a basic scratch cake recipe using flour, milk, whole eggs and egg whites, sugar, butter, baking powder, salt. A bundt pan makes a decorative shape. For the frosting dilute Karo syrup pour over the cake and then sprinkle colored sugar crystals.

Text Credits: Wikipedia || Wikipedia || || Image Credit: sookie's King Cake

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