King's Cake Recipe

From Dorothy McNett's Recipe Book.

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King's Cake

From Dorothy McNett's Recipe Book at A cake served for Mardi Gras. The lucky person who finds the pecan or bean or plastic baby in a slice of cake is "king or queen for a day." The cake is shaped in a ring and decorated with tinted green, purple, and yellow food colors, the classic carnival colors.

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus about 1 cup more for kneading
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 cup lukewarm water ( not more than 115 degrees)
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup finely chopped dried fruit
1 pecan half
1 egg, lightly whisked with 1 tablespoon milk

for the decorating sugars, use already colored purple, green, and yellow, or make your own by tinting 3 tablespoons white granulated sugar with a very small quantity of each color of paste food coloring.
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup strained fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons water
2 candied cherries, cut lengthwise into halves

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, nutmeg, salt, yeast, and lemon zest. In another bowl, combine the warm water and egg yolks. Add to flour mixture and blend in the softened butter and chopped fruit. Turn out onto a floured surface, adding more flour as needed. With your hands, knead the mixture about 10 minutes until smooth and satiny. Butter mixing bowl and place the ball of dough in it. Cover. Let rise in a warm draft-free place 1 1/2 hours. Punch the dough down and shape it into a cylinder about 14 inches long. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and then loop the cylinder onto the sheet. Pinch the ends together to form a ring. Press the pecan half (or plastic baby) gently into the ring so that it is completely hidden. Drape the dough with a cover and set it in a draft-free place to rise for about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Just before baking, brush the surface gently with the egg mixture. Bake 30 minutes. Slide the cake onto a wire rack to cool to room temperature. When cool, make the icing by combining the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and water to make a smooth icing which you can drizzle over the cake, allowing it to run irregularly down the sides. Sprinkle the colored sugars over the icing immediately, forming rows of purple, yellow, and green strips, each about 2 inches wide on both sides of the cake. Arrange two cherry halves at each end of the cake.

Recipe created 1998-02-16.

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