King Cake New Orlean style/Mardi Gras King Cake-Bánh Mì Ngọt kiểu New Orlean

Vietnamese food

     I saw a King Cake recipe on a local newspaper last week. It is not a cake but a sweet bread in a oval/round ring shape with icing and generous splashes of color sugar on top and one or two fillings. The dough can be twist or braid or roll like jelly roll.
     King Cake is made and served from Epiphany, the Jan.6 (The Twelfth Night) to Mardi Gras which fall on March 4th this year. The festival’s symbolic colors are used to tint King’s Cake:  purple for justice, green for faith and yellow for power.  It is traditional to hide a doll, coin, plastic baby in the cake before after it has been baked.  Whoever got the slice contained it will be the King or Queen for the day or supposed to bake or buy the next cake for everyone to eat.   Let’s start, we still have time to make and eat a King Cake.

    Some recipes call for a soft, not sticky or wet (the dough should separate/clean the bowl) while others states dough should be soft and very sticky (won’t clear the side of the bowl) and messy if kneading by hands.   Check out two recipes here  from King Arthur flour and Alice Clark.  I used sour cream and milk powder but if you do not have them in hand, you can omit them because many recipes do not use them.  I did not proof the yeast because I know the yeast is good. 
Dough:
1 cup  milk 
1/4 cup butter, room temperature, cut in small pieces

4 oz sour cream
3½ cups all purpose flour and extra if needed (spoon flour into a measuring cup and leveled)

2¼ tsp instant rise yeast
1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup powder milk
1/4 cup  sugar
Oil for hands and working surface
Cinnamon sugar filling:
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
Glaze:
1 cup powder sugar
1 Tbs milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Color sugar:
1 Tbs of each purple, green, and yellow sparkling sugar or mix food colors (liquid or paste) with granulated sugar.

  1. In a small sauce pan, melt butter with milk over low heat. Stir until butter melt and milk is luke warm (105-110), add sour cream and whisk until smooth.  Remove from heat.  Sour cream maybe curdle if milk too hot but still good to use.
  2. Put all ingredients in a large mixing bowl of a standing mixer.  Mix with a hand or spartula/spoon until fully incorporated. Knead with a dough hood attached with speed #2 until smooth and elastic about 6-8 minutes.  The dough should be softt, sticky and won’t clear the side of the bowl completelly. If you knead by hand, add a little bit more flour just enough to handle. A dough scrapper is helpful with hand kneading. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap, and let it proof at warm place (80-85 oF) until double in size about 45 min.to 1 hour. It will take longer at lower temperature:  1½ hours at 70 oF. It can also rise over night in the fridge.Transfer soft dough to a lightly greased surface.  Lightly oiled your hands and gently pat and stretch the dough out to a 20×6 rectangle.  
  3. Mix melt butter with sugar and cinnamon. Spread the filling  over the dough, leave 1/2 inch border  .  Starting at the nearest long edge, roll the dough into a log snugly. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.with the seam side down at bottom. Gently curle and connect two ends of the log to form a circle or oval shape.  Pinch the ends together to seal them. Leave the center open.  May put an emply can/heatproof glass jar or ramkin at the center to prevent dough spreading over during baking. Cover with plastic. Allow it to rise again 30-40 minutes to double in size.  
  4. Preheat oven to 375 oF near the end of rising time. Bake until golden brown about 30 minutes. May brush a thin layer of egg wash ( lightly beaten an egg white with a tsp of water) atop of the cake when taking it out of oven.  Tranfer the cake to a wire rack and let it cool completely or at least 30 minutes.
  5. In a small bowl, mix all ingredients of sugar glaze:  sugar powder, milk, and vanilla until smooth and drizzled.  Add more powder sugar if too thin, or milk if too thick.  Spoon icing over top of the cake and immediatlely sprinkle colored sugar alternate beween three colors.
*Note:
Cream cheese filling:
8oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 egg yolk, save the white for egg wash
1 Tbs all purpose flour ( up to 3 Tbs flour if use 1 whole egg instead of egg yolk)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Beat all ingredients together and spread on the dough like cinnamon sugar filling.

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