Mardi Gras King Cake
1 Stick of Butter, melted
2/3 C Evaporated Milk
¾ C, plus 1 tsp. Sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 Envelopes of Active Dry Yeast, Regular or Rapid Rise
Grated Zest of 1 Lemon
6 C Flour
4 TBSP Butter, melted
1 Egg White, for glazing
½ C Sugar
1 tsp. Cinnamon
2 C Powder Sugar
2 TBSP Whole Milk
Colored Sugars – ¼ Cup Each of yellow, green, red and blue
Combine 1 stick of melted butter, evaporated milk, ¾ C Sugar and salt. Stir so that the sugar dissolves, allow to cool. Dissolve the yeast in ¼ C lukewarm water along with the teaspoon of sugar. Cover and allow to stand for up to 10 minutes or until foamy. (If the yeast does not foam up, it is no good, you will have to start over with yeast and sugar…be sure your water temp is lukewarm, not hot.)
Add yeast mixture to the butter/milk mixture. Next add eggs and lemon zest; whisk together vigorously until well blended. Add one cup of flour at a time until you have a thick paste – about 3 C of flour. Then switch to a wooden spoon and continue adding flour, mixing well. Do not add more than 6 C of flour or your cake will be too dense. When you have added all of the flour, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured wooden board and knead with your hands until the dough is smooth and elastic. (About a dozen turns).
Place dough in a large clean boil that has been coated with vegetable oil, turn the dough to coat all sides with the oil; cover bowl with tea towel and allow it to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down and divide the dough in two pieces. Roll out each half into a 10x15 rectangle. Brush each half with the 4 TBSP of melted butter and sprinkle each half with cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll up along the long end like a jelly roll. Seal the seam, using water if necessary. Braid the two rolls together, making one thick piece, form the dough into a circle, seal ends and place on a greased baking sheet.
Cover again and allow it to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour; it should double in size. Preheat oven to 350 – whisk an egg white with 1 TBSP water, and brush the top of the cake. Bake for 35 minutes or until browned and sounds hollow when tapped.
Icing – combine the sugar and milk in a small dish; if appears too thin, add more sugar…if it is too thick, add a little more milk. Drizzle over top of cooled cake then top with colored sugars. Makes about 24 thin slices…remember, you can’t have a Mardi Gras party without a King Cake!! Enjoy.
**For a more gourmet approach you can add cream cheese and fruit fillings to the cake