Linda Crow of 2nd Cup of Coffee
Congratulations! Let me know your preferred flavor of King Cake so I can go order and ship it to ya! We'll expect full reportage on the glory of the yummy baked good after it arrives and is consumed. (Warning: A wee plastic baby may or may not be hidden inside the cake, so please do not chomp down unawares. I am not legally responsible for chipped teeth or broken crowns!) :)
Also known as Twelfth Night Cake, the brioche-style King Cake is made in Louisiana bakeries for the period between the Twelfth Night (January 6) and Ash Wednesday.
This delicious tradition is thought to have begun with French settlers, and dating back to 12th century France, when a similar cake was used to celebrate the coming of the three wise men bearing gifts twelve days after Christmas, calling it the feast of Epiphany, Twelfth Night, or King's Day.
The cakes are traditionally baked in the round shape to commemorate the circular route taken by the Kings, and usually contained a bean, pea, or a figurine symbolizing the baby Jesus. Around 1871 the tradition of choosing the Mardi Gras queen by who drew the prize-filled piece of cake began. Now the "winner" provides the next cake or hosts the next party.
1 packet dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 Tbs. milk, scalded and cooled
4 1/2 - 5 cups flour
8 oz. butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. melted butter
very small plastic doll
light corn syrup for topping
Colored sugar sprinkles (or make your own with granulated sugar colored with food coloring -- green, purple, and yellow)
Prepare yeast in warm water. Add milk and about 1/2 cup of flour. In a large bowl, mix butter, sugar, salt and eggs. Add yeast mixture and mix well. Slowly add in 2 1/2 cups flour to make a medium dough. Place in a greased bowl and brush with melted butter. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise double in size (3-4 hours).
Press the doll into the dough from bottom. Cover dough ring with a damp cloth and let rise about 1 hour. Bake at 325° for 35 to 45 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Brush top of cake with corn syrup and sprinkle with alternating bands of colored sugar. Cut, serve, enjoy!