Mardi Gras King Cake

You can’t be making Mardi Gras food and not make a King Cake!  Here’s my attempt, it is delicious!  (It looks like kind of a mess but I googled pictures of King Cakes and this is pretty much how they all look although some are a little nicer mess than mine.)  The recipe came in an email from Tablespoon (General Mills).

cake:

1 cup warm milk (I took it straight from the fridge, microwaved it for 1 minute, checked it with my food thermometer and it was about 115 degrees which is right about where it should be)

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons active dry yeast

1 cup unsalted butter, melted

5 egg yolks, beaten

1 teaspoon lemon juice (I squeezed mine fresh, the stuff in the bottle is nasty)

4 cups flour

3 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

glaze:

2 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed!)

2 tablespoons water

red, blue, yellow and green food coloring

extras (if desired):

poppyseeds

King Cake baby or pecan half

1  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine milk, sugar and yeast.  Whisk until yeast is dissolved and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.

2  Whisk in butter, egg yolks and lemon juice.

3  Add half the flour, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix, using a dough hook attachment.  Once ingredients are mixed, add in the rest of the flour in 2 batches, mixing between additions.  Knead by hand or using the dough hook on medium for about 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic.

4  Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

5  Once dough is risen, punch down and divide into 3 equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a long rope, about 20 – 24″ long.  Braid the ropes together and form a circle, pinching the seam closed.  Carefully transfer the circle to a baking stone or parchment paper lined baking sheet.

6  Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes.

7  Heat oven to 375.  Once cake is risen, bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and transfer carefully to a cooling rack to cool completely.

8  Meanwhile, make glaze:  In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, lemon juice and water.  Divide the glaze into 3 small mixing bowls.  Dye 1 yellow, 1 green and 1 purple (combo of red and blue).

9  Once cake is completely cooled, drizzle glaze onto the cake, alternating colors.  Sprinkle with poppy seeds, if desired.  Take King Cake baby or a pecan half and tuck into the underside of cake.  Whoever gets the baby in his or her slice has to make the Mardi Gras King Cake next year.

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