Sunday, February 16, 2014

King Cake

I almost forgot! For anyone who wanted the winning king cake recipe, here it is. I only did a basic cinnamon filling, but a lot of recipes add a pecan praline to the filling or even fruits. This is really an amalgamation of many recipes and just a good starting point. I didn't have any leftovers to check, but this is a brioche type bread, so I'm not sure that it will stay fresh long (ie, don't make it several days ahead, bc the bread will be quite dry...which is a problem with many store bought king cakes.) If you do have leftovers, I'm sure they'd make a lovely bread pudding or french toast! This recipe makes enough dough for two small (9 inch) king cakes or one large one. If you’re not up for two of them, the other half would make great cinnamon rolls. Again, based on the similarity to brioche, I would think that this would freeze really well. Okay, here's the recipe:
For the dough:
2 tsps yeast
¼ c. luke warm water
½ c. Sour cream
1 c.unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (or 1tsp table salt)
½ c. sugar
2 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
3.5 c. flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder

For the filling:
8 oz cream cheese
1 egg
2 T. white sugar
2 T. flour
1 T cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla

For Icing
Powdered Sugar
Almond Extract
Heavy cream

Make the Dough:
Mix the yeast with the warm water in your stand mixer. Add 1 tsp. sugar and 1 tsp. flour and stir. Set aside to proof.
Heat the butter and sugar together in the microwave. When the butter has melted, add the sour cream and mix until combined and Luke warm. Add to the stand mixture and mix well with beater attachment adding eggs & egg yolks and mix until combined.
Add 2 cups flour, cinnamon and baking powder and continue to mix, then switch to the dough hook attachment, and add two more cups of flour. Let the dough hook knead the mixture until all the flour is incorporated and the mixture looks smooth and elastic. It should be incredibly sticky but still form a mass (ie., the dough can be mostly formed into a sticky ball — it’s not a batter). Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with a towel, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about two hours.
When the dough has risen, dump it out onto seran wrap and double wrap it. Put it in the fridge and let it rest 7-8 hours, or overnight.

For the filling:
Combine cream cheese, egg, white sugar, flour, cinnamon and vanilla and beat until thoroughly combined.

To assemble the cake:
While the dough is still cold, divide it in half, and set 1 half aside. With the other half, roll it into a long rectangle. The dough should be fairly thin, like pie crust.
Spread the cream cheese filling down the center of the dough. Using a sharp knife, make cuts down each side of the filling at a downward 45 degree angle. Fold the stops over the center alternating sides to make a braid and arrange on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper into the shape of a ring. Seal the edge of the ring, brush with egg wash, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake at 375 for 35 minutes, and let cool completely before icing.
Ice the Cake
For the icing, mix powdered sugar with a pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp of almond extract and then add heavy cream until it’s the consistency of a thick and spreadable paste. Top with sprinkles and enjoy!

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