Not too long ago I started drooling over all of the king cakes that I was seeing on Instagram. I ended up sending a message to Allie Ming of Baked Love or bakedloveam on Instagram, asking her for her recipe. The next day one of my good friends who I taught with in St. Louis for 5 years, Claire, sent me a recipe and said “You HAVE to make this!”. I checked out both recipes and ended going with the one from my friend Claire because it included the icing recipe and Allie’s did not. I will be for sure making Allie’s in the future!
When I read over the recipe from Claire, I realized that it was a copy-cat recipe from Randazzo’s bakery. I did everything I could to research the bakery, which included watching several YouTube videos of amazing bakers at the bakery churning out so many of these beautifully braided king cakes. It is super cool to watch, you should check it out if you are interested in learning some new tricks!
The ingredients needed for the dough portion of this recipe are – 5 cups or 635 grams of bread flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, a pinch of fresh grated nutmeg, 2 teaspoons instant yeast, 1 cup whole milk, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup butter, 1 egg and 1/4 cup honey.
To make the dough I began by measuring all the dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer, being sure to add the yeast to the opposite side of the bowl as the salt and then mixed them all together. For the wet ingredients, I I warmed the milk to simmering but not boiling. Then I added the butter, cut into 4 pieces and the water to the milk. It should melt the butter. I mixed it until it was all combined. Once the mixture is a little cooler, I added the beaten egg and honey to the mixture and stirred everything together. I was sure to check the temperature of the wet ingredients to make sure that it was between 110-115 degrees.
I used the paddle attachment of the stand mixer to mix the dry ingredients on low while I slowly streamed the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Once the dough came together, I switched the paddle out for the dough hook and turned the machine up to medium and let the dough knead for a full 10 minutes. The dough was sticky but very easy to handle. After the dough was finished kneading, I removed the dough from the bowl and sprayed the bowl with oil and then added the dough back to the bowl and sprayed the top of the dough and covered the it with plastic wrap. I put the bowl in my oven on the proofing setting for 45 minutes or until it doubled in size.
While the dough was rising, I prepared the ingredients for the filling. In a small bowl, I combined 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons of cinnamon and in a separate bowl I let 1/4 cup of butter soften.
Once the dough had risen, I dumped it out onto the dough mat and I used my hands to flatten to the dough out into a 10-by-12-inch rectangle. I covered the dough with the softened butter and then sprinkled the cinnamon and sugar mixture on top of the dough and used my hands to press the mixture into the dough. Then, starting with the long end of the rectangle farthest away from me, I rolled the dough into a jelly roll. Next, I used my rolling pin to flatten the jelly roll out slightly and then used a pizza cutter to cut the flattened roll into 3 long pieces. Next, I twisted each of the pieces to expose the cinnamon sugar to the outside. Then I braided the long ropes together, I find it easiest to start braiding in the middle and then finish out the top and bottom, trying not to make a big clump of ends.
Next, I placed the braided loaf onto a baking sheet (I ended up moving it to one with sides because I was worried about leaking) covered with a silpat mat or parchment paper. I shaped the dough into an oval and then tried to braid the ends together to make a solid braided oval. I covered the oval with the same plastic wrap from before and put it back in the proofing oven for 30 minutes for the second rise. Once it was finished proofing, I heated the oven to 400 F degrees and baked the dough for about 22 minutes. I knew the cake was finished baking when the internal temperature reached 180 F degrees. I let the cake cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes and then transferred it to a cooling rack. On the cooling rack, I pulled off all the butter and sugar that leaked out – it had over heated a little and had a slight burnt flavor.
As soon as the cake was completely cool, I made the icing for the top of the cake. The ingredients for the icing are – 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, 3 3/4 tablespoons whole milk, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup and 2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar.
To begin, I melted the butter in a small bowl and then added the milk, salt, vanilla and corn syrup to the bowl and whisk it all together. Then I added the powdered sugar to the mixture and whisk together. If the icing seems too thin, continue to add powdered sugar until it is thick enough to not slide off the cake, but thin enough to be able to be poured or easily spread over the top of the cake. I used the whisk to help drizzle the icing over the cake.
Quickly, after the icing is added to the cake, I toped the cake with yellow, green and purple sprinkles. Technically my purple sprinkles are just died granulated sugar because I could not find purple sprinkles anywhere! I cut a slice of the cake to split with Kevin and make sure it tasted alright before I served it to my friends at a party on Saturday night, and we could not stop eating it! I was slightly embarrassed because we seriously ate like 3 slices before we made ourselves stop! Honestly though, this cake is HUGE! It has a delicious buttery flavor that is sweet from the filling, but studded with cinnamon and nutmeg to round out the taste. The icing is so delicious and really enhances the whole cake. I hope you have a wonderful Mardi Gras and always remember to Let the Good Times Roll….until Lent starts on Wednesday…
**So you are supposed to put a baby into the cake, I didn’t have one or know where to easily get one, I thought about adding a lego, but then realized my friends probably wouldn’t appricate that as much as my boys would, so I just left it out**
Recipe: Mardi Gras King Cake
- 5 cups or 635 grams of bread flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- a pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup softened butter
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 3/4 tablespoons whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
- In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt on one side of the bowl and yeast on the other. Use the paddle attachment to mix them together.
- In a small pan, heat the milk until it is warm but not boiling. Add the butter and water to the milk and mix until the butter melts. Once the mixture has slightly cooled, add the beaten egg and honey and mix together. Check that the temperature of the mixture is between 110 – 115 F degrees. With the stand mixer on low, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until the dough comes together. Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium until the dough is smooth and slightly sticky.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and spray the bowl with oil and replace the dough and cover the top of the dough with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place or in a proofing oven until the dough is doubled in size, 45 minutes to 2 hours.
- While the dough is rising, get the filling ingredients prepared. Pull the butter out to soften and mix the sugars and cinnamon together in a small bowl.
- Once the dough has risen, dump it out onto a dough mat or floured surface and use your hands to flatten it into a 10-by-12-inch rectangle. Spread the butter over the top of the dough and then sprinkle the sugar mixture over the top and use your hands to press the sugar into the butter.
- Roll the dough into a jelly roll by rolling the long side of the dough, starting with the side farthest from you into a spiral. Then use a rolling pin to flatten the dough. Use a pizza slicer to cut the dough into 3 long ropes. Twist each rope to expose the filling to the outside. Braid the dough and then place it on a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper on it. Shape the braid into an oval and braid the ends together.
- Re-cover the braided oval with plastic wrap and let it rise again for 30 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap after the dough finishes the second rise.
- Heat the oven to 400 F degrees and bake the cake for 18 – 22 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 180 F degrees. Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes on the baking sheet and then finish cooling on a cooling rack.
- Once the cake is cool, prepare the icing by melting the butter and mixing it with the milk, salt, vanilla and corn syrup. Then whisk the powdered sugar into the mixture until the icing reaches a thick but pourable consistency. Pour it over the top of the cake. Top with yellow, purple and green sprinkles.
Recipe adapted from Food Twenty Four Seven