I'm not going to lie, I've never been to a mardi gras party. Ever. However, last April I went to New Orleans for a neurology meeting, and I fell in love. I've learned that New Orleans is a place you either love or hate. Either you will think it's dirty and smelly and gross or you will be captivated with the people and liveliness of the city. I am in the latter category. I love the random live music throughout the city, the art, the food, the architecture. I love it all, and I can't wait to go back as soon as possible.

So did you know that Fat Tuesday is next week on the 12th? I'm going to have myself a little King Cake and celebrate at home by playing some fun jazz music and having a drink or two. Maybe I'll get some beads from my husband!

If you've never had a King Cake, watch out. Did you know it's basically a giant cinnamon roll? With frosting and sprinkles and gooey cinnamon filling? It's so good! And it's really easy to make, which is another bonus. Be careful when you roll the dough out because if it's too thin, it could blow out one of the sides. If that happens, just cut the "blown out" part off after baking (it makes a great snack!). The glaze and sugar will hide it. I highly recommend to the full filling recipe (I only did half as you can see in the picture below and wished I did more) but know that it may leak out because it's a lot (but so good!). If you're worried about that happening, you can halve the filling recipe. Be sure to hide a plastic baby (after baking) or a bean (before baking) in the cake; whoever gets that piece will have good luck in the upcoming year. Just make sure to warn people that it's in there so someone doesn't choke! Choking=bad luck. For reelz.

King Cake Recipe
Makes one cake (about 18 servings)
Print this recipe

Note: If you like a lot of gooey cinnamon filling, leave the filling recipe as is. If you want less of the goo, it works great to halve the filling recipe, too.

For the dough:
8 ounces sour cream
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 egg
3-3 1/4 cups bread flour 

For the filling:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons cream
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon

For the glaze:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 teaspoon butter
2-4 tablespoons milk

Gold (or yellow), purple, and green sugars

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the first four ingredients (sour cream, sugar, butter, and salt) and stir until the butter has melted. Set aside and cool the mixture to 100-110 degrees.

In the bowl of your mixer, stir together the yeast, warm water, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar. Let sit for about 5 minutes until foamy. When the sour cream mixture has cooled, add it into the mixing bowl with the egg and mix using the paddle attachment until incorporated. Slowly start adding in the flour while mixing on low until a soft dough forms. Switch to the dough hook and mix on low until smooth and tacky.

Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in it. Cover and let rise for about one hour or until doubled.

While the dough is rising, make the filling by melting the butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add in the brown sugar and whisk, bringing it up to a boil. Let it boil for about one minute, remove from heat, and whisk in the cream. Add the baking soda and cinnamon and whisk until combined. Set aside.

When the dough has risen, place it on a well-floured counter. Roll it out into a 22x12 inch rectangle and spread the filling on it, leaving about a one-inch border. Roll it up from the long side, jelly-roll style, and pinch the seam together. Place it seam side down on a greased cookie sheet and bring the ends of the roll together to form a ring. Secure the ends together by pinching them and moistening them with water. Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes.

While it's rising again, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until browned on top and baked through. While the cake is baking, make the glaze by stirring together the powdered sugar, melted butter and vanilla. Add the milk one tablespoon at a time until it's just thin enough to spread.

When the cake is finished baking, let it cool for 10 minutes and then brush the glaze on top. Sprinkle with the colored sugars, alternating the colors, in bands. Let cool completely. Cut out a small piece of the bottom and hide a plastic baby in it.

Adapted from myrecipes.com.  
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02/06/2013 5:34am

oh i love king cake and surprisingly I've never tried to make it! Yours looks so good!

02/06/2013 7:33am

Ahhhh I need a king cake in my life! I also wanna visit New Orleans so bad!


Ooo, such a fun and lovely looking cake! Super festive for Mardi Gras and I bet so delicious!

02/06/2013 4:22pm

I've always wanted to try making one of these! Mainly as an excuse to buy fun stuff like colorful sugar and plastic babies :) It looks gorgeous!

02/07/2013 8:41pm

I've only been to a Mardi gras in middle school French class :) And I never got the baby in the king cake! I was always bummed. Time to stock up on sprinkles and make me a giant cinnamon bun!!!


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