Besides the beads, promiscuous women and beer, one of the most beloved traditions of Mardi Gras is serving up the soft, moist and colorful King Cake and seeing just who gets the piece with the little plastic baby. The King Cake is one of the most popular dishes of Mardi Gras, but that doesn't mean you have to wait until the 21st of February to enjoy this deliciously sweet cake. Enjoy this treat today and hide the baby in your neighbor's slice so you are free from hosting the party this year!
To make the cake as authentic as possible, use green, purple and yellow sprinkles paired with an easy royal icing. And to ensure no one actually swallows the plastic baby, make sure it's big enough and urge everyone to inspect their piece first!
2/3 cup chopped pecans (can use other nuts as well)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup raisins (or dates)
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg white
Green, yellow and purple sprinkles
Heat milk over high heat and scald, removing from heat as soon as it's finished. Quickly stir in butter and allow mixture to cool to room temperature. In a bowl, dissolve yeast into the warm water and add one tablespoon of the sugar. Let sit until mixture becomes creamy, which will take about 10 minutes.
Once yeast bubbles, add the milk/butter mixture and slowly whisk in the eggs. Stir the remaining sugar, salt and cinnamon. Using a handheld mixer, beat the flour (just one cup at a time) into the milk and egg mixture until a dough forms. Liberally flour a hard surface and knead dough until firm and elastic.
In a large bowl, add oil (vegetable or canola) or water and place dough in it, being sure the entire dough is covered in moisture. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a room temperature room for at least two hours. Punch dough down when it has risen, and then set aside.
To prepare the filling, mix the brown sugar, nutmeg, nuts, 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of raisins until fully combined. Pour butter and mix again until crumbly.
Roll dough into long rectangles (about 10 inches) and sprinkle dough over it. Gently roll each dough up tight (much like a jelly roll) and bring ends together to form two rings. Make cuts along the dough (about 1/3 of the way down) in inch intervals and let dough rise again for at least 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and place parchment paper down on a cookie sheet. Bake cake for at least 30 minutes or until golden brown. Mix egg white and powdered sugar together and frost while cake is warm so the frosting melts over the sides. Sprinkle with extra sprinkles, hide the plastic baby inside the cake and enjoy!