A King Cake for Mardi Gras
Unfortunately, I won’t be at any Mardi Gras parades this year. Maybe I’ll host my own at-home party by pulling out my stash of beads, plastic cups, and doubloons and then assembling my krewe—two cats and my boyfriend—and yelling “throw me something, mister” at each of them. Maybe not…
I am, however, going to keep with the tradition of celebrating Mardi Gras with a king cake—the brioche-and-cinnamon-roll-like cake that is covered with icing and multicolored sugar and has a plastic baby hidden inside. I know, it sounds kind of crazy, but it’s delicious and worth the effort.
You can find multiple sources online that discuss the history of and traditions surrounding the cake, so I’ll avoid that here because the recipe is quite long. Enjoy the cake and the party, and laissez les bons temps rouler!
1 pkg. dry active yeast
2 Tbsp. warm water
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup soy milk
2 tsp. lemon zest
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 1/2 cups flour
Egg replacer equivalent to 2 eggs (try Ener-G brand)
8 Tbsp. cold margarine, cut into small pieces
Filling (see recipe below)
Plastic baby or dried bean
Frosting (see recipe below)
Sprinkles (see recipe below)
- Place the yeast and warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Let stand until frothy.
- In a small bowl, combine the salt, sugar, soy milk, and lemon zest, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add to the yeast and water.
- Mix the nutmeg with the flour in a separate bowl.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the egg replacer, then gradually add the flour mixture and the margarine and mix until incorporated. Additional flour may be needed.
- Knead on low speed for 10 minutes, or until a smooth, elastic dough is formed.
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour in a warm spot.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Press into a 26×12-inch rectangle.
- Spread the filling over the rolled-out dough. Starting at the bottom, roll the dough up to form a log about 26 inches long. Hide the small plastic baby or dried bean in the dough.
- Pinch the seam to close. Place seam side down on a lightly greased baking sheet, then bring the ends together to form a ring. Pinch the ends together to seal.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- Place the cooled cake on a serving platter that will catch any excess frosting.
- Spoon the warm frosting on top of the entire cake, letting it run down the sides.
- Add the sprinkles in 2-inch sections, alternating colors.
- Serve immediately, or refrigerate and serve later.
Makes 1 medium cake
For the Filling:
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup margarine, softened
- Mix the ingredients together until combined.
For the Frosting:
1 1/2 Tbsp. margarine
1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. soy milk
- •Melt the margarine over low heat.
- •Add the powdered sugar and the vanilla, mixing until smooth.
- •Slowly add the soy milk, stirring constantly, until the desired consistency for drizzling is reached.
For the Sprinkles:
1 cup sugar, divided into 3 equal parts
Yellow, green, and purple food coloring
- Place the sugar in three separate bowls. Add one color to each bowl and mix until all the granules are covered.