Happy Mardi Gras! No carnival celebration is complete without a big bowl of New Orleans Gumbo and a colorful King Cake!
Make your own braided King Cake for Mardi Gras, complete with brown sugar pecan filling, icing, festive colors and one plastic baby.
King Cake is a traditional Mardi Gras sweet bread that symbolizes a crown, specifically one that the three kings who visited Christ on the day of his birth wore. Sparkling sugar colors represent purple for justice, green for faith and gold for power and prosperity.
A tiny plastic baby, baby Jesus, is inserted into each cake after baking. The individual who gets the slice with the baby will have good fortune for the upcoming year. They are also obliged to host the next year’s King Cake party.
However, if you are slicing and happen to slice that poor little plastic baby, you will have bad luck for the upcoming year.
Although King Cake is called “cake” is more of a cross between a Danish pastry and French brioche. The sweet and buttery bread is stuffed with a raisin, brown sugar and pecan filling and then topped with a powdered sugar glaze and bright sparkling sugar.
To learn more about Mardi Gras, visit my post about Red Beans and Rice and enjoy the holiday!!
Check out these other Creole inspired dishes:
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons milk
- Purple, Gold and Green Sparkling Sugar
- 1 Plastic Baby
- In a large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a which attachment, combine 1 package of dry active yeast, 1 tablespoon of sugar and warm water. Take care that water is not too hot or it will kill the yeast and prevent it from blooming. Allow to set until frothy and fragrant, approximately 10-15 minutes.
- Whisk in scalded milk and egg. When combined add remaining sugar, nutmeg and salt, whisk again.
- Change attachment to the bread hook (or beaters). Combine flour into wet mixture 1/2 cup at a time. Dough should start to pull away from the sides, if not, add small (1-2 teaspoons) of flour until it does.
- Knead dough on low-medium speed (or with your hands on a floured surface) for 10 minutes.
- Lightly grease a large mixing bowl, turning dough over once to evenly oil and prevent from drying. Dampen a tea towel, cover and set in a draft free place. Allow to rise until doubled in size, approximately 2 hours.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine all filling ingredients and toss until uniformly damp from melted butter.
- Turn dough on a lightly floured surface and using a rolling pin, create a rectangle about 18x8 inches. Cut in half length wise with a knife.
- Spread filling mixture evenly over both sections of dough, leaving a 1/2 inch at each edge.
- Roll, lengthwise and jelly roll style, into a rope. Carefully, twist together the two ropes and form into a circle, pinch the two ends together to make a wreath.
- Carefully transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cover with damp tea towel and allow to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. King Cake should be lightly browned.
- Remove and allow to cool fully. Whisk together glaze ingredients and drizzle over King Cake. Sprinkle alternating gold, purple and green sparkling sugar while glaze is still tacky.
- You are ready to serve!
If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!