Sunday, March 6, 2011

King Cake for Mardi Gras

Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras is next Tuesday, March 4th, 2014.  You know what that means?  There will be lots of partying with Hurricanes, King Cake, and Cajun food over the coming week. If you are not going to be in New Orleans for the festivities, there is still time to make a King Cake, and "get your beads on."  Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez !  
I have never been to NOLA, but hope to get there one day, and it's on my bucket list. I had made King Cake before for my Bunco Group many years ago.  Here is the back story.  When I was in the corporate world in Inside Sales for a major corporation, part of my territory was Louisiana and I had many customers in NOLA and the surrounding areas. Preceding Mardi Gras one year, I received not one but two King Cakes via Fed Ex, and each one was different, and equally delicious, and that's when I l fell in love with King Cake.   I kept  some the decorations that were on those cakes and here they are.. (I'm a keeper, but not a hoarder.)

There are three basic symbols that every King cake has; the baby, which represents the Christ child, the beads, and the the three colors of Mardi Gras, Purple for Justice and Passion, Green for Faith, and Gold for Power. A miniature ceramic or plastic baby is hidden in the cake, and whoever finds it, has to  have the next party or buy the next King Cake.  If you don't have a baby, you can use a nut in place of it.  There are many versions of the King Cake, and each bakery does theirs a little different.  On one of the King Cakes that I received, it had a Crown for King Rex and a Chalice.  If you would like more information  for the King Cake or Mardi Gras information,  use this link  Mardi Gras History

Back to the King Cake, Most of you know that I don't do yeast recipes.  I had a fear of yeast, except that I made this cake once, a long time ago. It's like doing wallpaper to me.  You don't do it that often, and you forget all the steps, and how to do it, until you're almost done.  I didn't know how the yeast was supposed to look "foaming" , because the recipe that I used had you combine the yeast,  sugar, butter, egg yolks, and  warmed milk in the bowl and slowly mix in the stand mixer with the bread hook for four minutes. Oh My! I was hoping  that the yeast gods were smiling on me.  I wished that I had Monet', or Brandie, or Sandra's   phone number to call for help.  I did call my son the Chef/Baker who has yeast rolls, and said that everything should be fine. In the end everything did work out, but I started at 1;30pm and finally got the sugar on the glaze about 7:30PM.  I did have a nap, while during the first rise of the dough.:) I kept thinking about all of you out there, who bake wonderful yeast breads and rolls, how do you do it?

There are many different types and versions of King Cakes, and there is not one "Official"  recipe. I adapted a recipe from Emeril LaGasse, because he used a cream cheese filling.
King Cake Adapted from of Emeril Lagasse, Food Network
  • 2 packages dry active yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 cup warm milk(110 degrees F)
  • 4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Vegetable oil
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Purple, green and gold sugar sprinkles
  • Plastic baby toy
Preheat the oven 350 degrees F. Combine the yeast, sugar, butter, and egg yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the milk. With the mixer on low speed, beat the mixture for about 4 minutes to dissolve the yeast. If the yeast mixture doesn't begin to foam after a few minutes, it means it's not active and will have to be replaced. In a separate large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, nutmeg, and lemon zest. Add this mixture to the yeast mixture.

 Mix on low speed until it lightly comes together, then increase the speed to medium and beat until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl, forms a ball, and climbs slightly up the dough hook. Remove the dough from the bowl. Coat the dough with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl and turn it to oil all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, set in a warm, draft-free place, and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours

. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Mix well. In another small bowl, combine the remaining powdered sugar, lemon juice and milk. Mix well and set aside. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Roll the dough out 30 inches long and 6 inches wide. Spread the cream cheese filling across the center of the dough. Bring the two long edges together and seal all sides completely.
 Using your hands shape the dough into a long cylinder and place on a greased baking sheet, seam side down. Shape the dough into a ring. Cover the ring with a towel and place in a warm, draft free place. Let the dough rise for about 45 minutes or until the dough doubles in size.  Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow the cake to cool.  Drizzle the cake with the sugar glaze Sprinkle the cake with sprinkles, alternating colors.  


  1. Fantastic recipe your photos!

  2. Our recipes are sort of similar, but I beg to differ... yours looks better! My cake baked up too much and didn't have the hole in the middle - that's why I only have pics of pieces!
    Goodness you have been busy, and still snow??? It's got to stop soon!
    Our thought are with your brother as he starts this cheno journey... I hope all goes well.

  3. Love it! I've never had King Cake before but I thinkit would be such fun!! Yours is gorgeous. How do we do it? Well I can't speak for everyone but I know I start right when I wake up...sorta. But before lunch! You did a SUPER JOB!! ♥- Katrina

  4. Sandra- thanks for your kind words

    Kim- Thank you for those kind words about the cake and thoughts for my brother. I like your cake. I was a nervous wreck, making it. Yes , I've been on a baking frenzy! Besides making the King Cake, I made Red Velvet cupcakes for my brother.

    Katrina- Since you bake with yeast all of the time, this cake would be easy for you. It probably wouldn't take you as long, as it took me:)

  5. so sorry to hear about your brother this is a first class post so interesting to learn about the king cake and yours looks amazing

  6. Rebecca- Thank you for your comments. The Mardi Gras history is very interesting, and much of it is still in practice today!

  7. Hi Becky! Okay...send me an email, and I will give you my phone number if you ever need help :-) But considering this looks like you are going to be just fine! What a beautiful creation. You are making me want to make one of these cakes right now. Thank you for sharing! I hope you have a happy week. Your posts bring me joy...thank you for being you!

  8. Monet- I will send you an e-mail. You would be such a wonderful mentor for yeast. Now you have a new title:) Your comments mean so much to me.
    Have a great week!

  9. Becky, the cake looks moist and fantastic! loved the pics- great work!

  10. What a colorful and delicious cake! It definitely sounds like you have your plate full with your family situation, thinking of your family at this time:)

  11. Suchi- Thank you for your kind comments.

    Amber- Thank you for your kind comments and thinking of my family. It means a lot.

  12. I've seen a lot of pictures of King Cakes over the last few days, and this is by far the nicest! Looks delicious!

  13. Woo hoo Becky, I'm proud you conquered your fear of yeast. This cake looks wonderful, and lucky you getting two sent to you. Hope you are having a great week. Sending a hug and well wishes for your brother.

  14. I have seen so many of these lately, this looks so great! I am glad you overcame your fear!

  15. hi Becky
    what an outstanding King cake, and I am loving that cream cheese filling!
    Now how soon can you ship me one of those!
    Have a great week my friend

  16. Natasha-Thank you for the kind words.

    Gina-Thank you for your compliments and well wishes for my brother.

    Chef Dennis- Next year? Just kidding! I could send you one tomorrow, if I start right now!

  17. Love it, it's so colorful and meaningful, and the creamy center- YUM YUM YUM! Just wonderful, thank you for sharing! Have a great day Becky :)

  18. Mateja-thank you for your kind words.

  19. Becky, I can't believe you're a yeast bread novice! Your King Cake looks marvelous...perfectly decorated...and I'm LOL that you're a keeper not a hoarder...I would have tucked away those trinkets, too.

  20. You did a great job with the King cake, it looks terrific! I had a fear of yeast as well, not too long ago :)

  21. Lizzy- Thank you so much for your comments.

    Natasha- Thank you for the comments. You had a fear of yeast , too. I'm in good company:)

  22. oh wow, totally an eye catcher !
    very beautiful~

    & how can you fear yeast after making something like thisss? (:
    im sure after each successful dish, your confidence boosts, doesnt it?

    many wishes of successful cooking your way~

  23. Stephanie,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I probably will be more confident, when I make my next yeast recipe.

  24. First of all, I just want you to know that I'm praying for you, your brother and your Dad. You are so right. Family first - always!
    Secondly, I think you conquered your fear quite well. It turned out gorgeous!

  25. This looks great and I love that you put the plastic baby in the ingredients list :D

  26. I've never had King Cake before! Yours turned out beautifully. I do bake a lot with yeast, and I promise the more you do it, the easier it gets :)

  27. Brandie- thank you for your prayers and kind words.

    Tiffany- Thanks for your comments

    Megan-thank you for your kind words and support.

  28. Wow! Wow! I wonder if there can be anything more attractive than this, looks gorgeous.

  29. Your cake looks fantastic! I love all the colors. It looks like you conquered your fear :)

    I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. I can't imagine facing cancer once, much less three times. How terrifying. I'm sending good thoughts his way.

  30. I have been seeing so many yeast cakes lately that i think i must try to make one. Your cake looks vibrant with all those colors! Truly a kingly cake ;)

  31. Wow, what a cake to face your fear with! I saw that word cheesecake in there and just about swooned. It looks heavenly. Great job. Congratulations!


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