I have been so busy of late, I didn’t even realize what time of year it was! That is until our local community radio station was playing two full hours of Dixieland and New Orleans style jazz, and I realized Mardi Gras is almost over! I am very disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to make a King Cake this year, but I did last year, and so I am taking a moment to share the recipe with you.
Oh boy! Just thinking about New Orleans makes me so excited! What an amazing city! The first “grown up” trip I ever went on, meaning not a family trip, was to New Orleans, it was like no place I’d been before. The seafood, the culture, the voodoo, and St Louis Century #1! It wasn’t during Mardi Gras, it was actually during a heatwave in the Summer (I had no idea).
Years later, okay decades later, my husband Shane and I were lucky enough to spend a full month right in the French Quarter! We traded cleaning and unpacking a friend’s apartment for a place to stay. We got to really take the city in, and even experienced Mardi Gras! I had great odd jobs there, I bottled spiced rum for a two weeks at a small distillery, and I helped a woman clean up lingering Katrina damage in her house and helped organize 50 years worth of Mardi Gras costumes. It was a hard place to leave, that is for certain.
King Cake Recipe
I’ve done this recipe with eggs, milk, and butter, and I have done it vegan, exchanging the butter for oil and the eggs for flax seed meal and hot water. It’s great both ways!
- 1/4 cup warm Water
- 1 pkg. Yeast
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1/3 c. Sugar
- 1 tsp. Nutmeg
- 3 – 3 1/2 c. Flour
- 1/3 c. milk
- 3 eggs (or 3 T. Flax seed meal and 9 T. warm water, let sit for 5 minutes)
- 1/2 c. butter, melted (or oil)
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 tsp. Lemon Zest
- 1 tsp. Cinnamon
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/3 c. butter
- Powdered Sugar
- Colored Sugar (it’s easy to make your own)
Stir together yeast and very warm water, add a tablespoon of sugar, let sit.
Combine 2 1/2 c. flour, remaining sugar, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a large bowl. Whisk together.
In a smaller bowl, mix milk, eggs, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and melted butter, add to dry ingredients along with yeast.
Add additional flour until dough forms a ball. Knead dough for 5 – 10 minutes. Place in oiled bowl and cover for about an hour.
Mix sugar and cinnamon together for filling. Melt or soften butter.
Punch down dough, roll out into a large rectangle about 1 inch thick.
Spread butter on top of dough, sprinkle on cinnamon sugar and roll up, not too tight. If you have plastic baby or a coin, add it now!
Make cake into a ring and seal edges. Place on cookie sheet and cover with towel. Let rise until about doubled in size.
Heat oven to 375 degrees and place in oven for 20-30 minutes. Let cool.
Prepare icing by mixing powdered sugared adding a small amount of milk, vanilla and lemon juice. You’ll want a good amount, so start with 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar and about 2 T. of liquid and adjust until smooth. Pour over cooled cake, sprinkle colored sugar on top – GREEN, YELLOW, & PURPLE are the official colors.
Enjoy! Whoever gets the baby or coin is the lucky one who gets to bring the King Cake next year!