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).
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
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed!)
2 tablespoons water
red, blue, yellow and green food coloring
extras (if desired):
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.