We lived in New Orleans from 2010 to 2012. I have such happy memories of living there. The locals are welcoming and kind. It’s not hard to make a wonderful group of friends in Louisiana culture.
I thoroughly enjoyed studying creole and cajun cooking while living in New Orleans. Opportunities to learn were everywhere and I found myself learning as much from a cajun mama in the grocery store (who was happy to stop and talk with me) as I did from formal classes.
This is my recipe for king cake. I make it every year for my family now, as we have adopted many traditions from New Orleans that continue to be a source of joy and contentment for us.
Mardi Gras King Cake
- 4 cups flour all purpose
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup powdered milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup water lukewarm
- 1/4 cup melted butter cooled to lukewarm
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 2-4 tablespoons spiced rum or bourbon optional
- 2 cups sugar, divided into thirds 2/3 cup for each color
- food coloring gold, green and purple
For the cake
- Combine flour, sugar, powdered milk and salt in a large bowl. Form a well in the middle of your dry ingredients(see video). In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the water,melted butter and yeast.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the well in the dry ingredients. Mix slightly with a fork to create a paste-like "sponge". Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 15-30 minutes.
- Mix the sponge throughout the dry ingredients and knead on afloured surface for about 10 minutes. Incorporating more flour as needed. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours.
- After dough has risen, roll out into a rectangle on afloured surface and brush butter on dough. See video.Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on buttered dough.Roll up dough "cinnamon roll style" and form into an ovalor circle.
- Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes.
- Bake at 325° for 30-35 minutes. Be sure to completely cool the cake before glazing.
- Using a mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese, adding the powdered sugar and milk as you go. Add the rum or bourbon at the end.
The tinted sugar
- To make the decorating sugar, place 2/3 to 1 cup of sugar each – into three bags. Put a few glops of gel food color into each bag. Secure the top of the bag and knead and shake the sugar until the gel food color is fully mixed.
- Pour the glaze over the king cake and arrange the sugarover it, alternating colors.