Traditional King Cake
What's Cookin'February 2016
By Lana Granfors
Photo by Kara Stewart
New Orleans Mardi Gras…traditions, celebrations, and King Cake! The streets of New Orleans are filled with the magic of the festivities, parades, tons of beads and King Cake, the traditional dessert of Mardi Gras. Thanks to our dear friends from the area, we have been the lucky recipients of King Cake, shipped from Randazzo’s, a Louisiana bakery famous for their version. The round or oval shaped confection is similar to a coffee cake. It is rich in tradition and history and the decorations, a creamy glaze topped with sugar sprinkles in the royal colors of purple (justice), green (faith) and gold (power) honor the three kings who visited the Christ child the 12th day after Christmas. It is also known as King’s Day, and it starts the merrymaking which goes through to the day before Ash Wednesday, the grand finale on Fat Tuesday.
Note: Sugars are available at Michael’s or online. I got mine through Amazon.
Serves 18 (makes 2 cakes)
- 1 (16-ounce) container sour cream
- ¹⁄³ cup sugar
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 (¼-ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
- ½ cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
- 1 T. sugar
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 6 to 6 ½ cups all purpose flour
- ¹⁄³ cup butter, softened
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground cardamom
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 3 T. butter, melted
- 2 T. fresh lemon juice
- ¼ tsp. almond extract
- 2 to 4 T. milk
STEP 1: Cook first four ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts. Set aside, and cool mixture to 100 to 110 degrees.
STEP 2: Stir together yeast, ½ cup warm water, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a glass measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes.
STEP 3: Beat sour cream mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until smooth. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add enough remaining flour (4 to 4 ½ cups) until a soft dough forms.
STEP 4: Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top.
STEP 5: Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 1 hour or until dough is doubled in bulk.
STEP 6: Punch down dough, and divide in half. Roll each portion into a 22- x 12-inch rectangle. Spread ¹⁄³ cup softened butter evenly on each rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border. Stir together ½ cup sugar, cinnamon and cardamom and sprinkle evenly over butter on each rectangle.
STEP 7: Roll up each dough rectangle, jelly-roll fashion, starting at one long side. Place one dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bring ends of roll together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal. Repeat with second dough roll.
STEP 8: Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
STEP 9: Bake at 375° for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden. Slightly cool cakes on pans on wire racks (about 10 minutes). Drizzle Creamy Glaze evenly over warm cakes; sprinkle with colored sugars, alternating colors and forming bands. Let cool completely.
STEP 1: Stir together first four ingredients. Stir in 2 tablespoons milk, adding additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until spreading consistency.