For those of you who don’t know, I grew up in Louisiana. One special thing about Louisiana is that we have this wonderful thing called Mardi Gras that happens around this time of year. Now, I was never into all of the parties and parades. If fact, we usually used the holiday to get out of town and take some awesome vacations. But, Mardi Gras does have its perks. One of those wonderful perks growing up was a week off of school. I know right. That’s awesome. But, I’m going to give you another thing that’s great about this time of year – King Cakes.
If you aren’t familiar with the term King Cake, I’ll give you a basic yet completely accurate description real quick. Make cinnamon rolls; instead of slicing them, shape the the dough into a ring; bake; slather with icing and sugar. That’s all there is to it. Of course, you have the option to make all sorts of tasty fillings for your cake, but it’s basically a cinnamon roll that you can eat any time of the day. 😀 Sounds pretty great to me. I knew that I had to make a King Cake to share with you all, so I looked through my baking book at several different cinnamon roll recipes. Finally, I decided on using this simple Cinnamon Pecan Bread recipe. There were a few things that I would do a little differently next time, but overall it was great! Something so simple as adding a few pecans to the filling really made this King Cake special. To get started, I poured a cup of the flour and the yeast into my mixing bowl and then headed over to the stove. On the stove I heated the milk, butter, sugar, and salt until it the mixture was warm and the butter was almost melted. I had to pay pretty close attention for this part. Yeast is activated by heat, but your dough won’t rise if the yeast was too hot or too cold. The perfect temperature is somewhere around 120 degrees. If you want to take the guesswork out of things, a thermometer would be very useful. Or you can be like me and wing it. 🙂
Once the butter stared melting and the liquid was pretty warm to the touch (but not hot), I poured it into my mixing bowl with the flour and yeast. I cracked the egg into the bowl and then beat everything for about 3 minutes. I slowly mixed in the majority of the remaining flour with the mixer. To finish up, I kneaded in a little more flour until the dough was soft and no longer sticky. At this point, I put the dough into a greased bowl, covered it, and let it sit in the laundry room to rise. That’s the warmest/best place I’ve been able to find so far for letting dough rise.
Once the dough had doubled in size, I punched it down and rolled it out on the counter top. My square was a little bigger than 12″x12″. Ok, it was also a little more of a rectangle than a square.
Here are the super easy steps for the filling –
- Brush dough with melted butter
- Sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar (I think I will add even more next time)
- Scatter pecans on top
Next I slowly rolled the dough up and used a tiny bit of water to help seal together the edges. After shaping it into a circle, I covered the King Cake and let it rise for about 30-45 more minutes before putting it in the oven.
When the King Cake came out of the oven, it was this beautiful golden color. I was a little hesitant to put the icing on because it was so pretty! A traditional King Cake would have purple, green, and yellow sugar sprinkled all over the top. That was my plan for this cake, but it just looked so simple and pretty in white that I decided to leave it. We’re keeping it classy over here at The Little Blue Mixer. 😉
Thanks you all so much for coming by the blog today! I hope all have a fantastic weekend. I’ll be over here hoping for warmer weather. I don’t think summer can get here fast enough!
PS – I’ll also be sharing this King Cake over at Fiesta Friday! You can go check out lots of other sweet and savory treats over there as well!