Here is a fabulous recipe for the king of all cakes, in Louisiana, the Mardi Gras King Cake. This delectable cake originated in Europe and came with French settlers to New Orleans in the 1870's. They have been a part of the Mardi Gras tradition, since then, and King Cake parties are popular throughout Louisiana. The King Cake is made with a rich dough and covered with icing and sprinkles in the Mardi Gras colors, purple, green and gold. They can be filled with many different fillings, such as lemon, strawberry, chocolate, or cream cheese. It takes a little time, but it is well worth the effort. The person who finds the plastic baby in his or her piece is said to blessed with good luck throughout the year. Enjoy!
Cream Cheese Filled King Cake
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. salt
2 envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 tbs. sugar
2 beaten eggs
6 cups bread flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. each of cinnamon and nutmeg
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
1 tsp, vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
Purple, green, and gold sugar sprinkles
1 small plastic baby doll
Cook first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan, on low heat, stiring often, until butter melts. Set aside. Stir together yeast, warm water, and sugar in a small bowl.
Beat sour cream mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, and 2 cups of the flour, and the cinnamon and nutmeg,with an electric mixer, until smooth. On low speed, continue to add the remaining flour until a soft dough forms.
Place dough on a floured surface and knead until smooth. Place in a well greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour. Punch down dough and divide in half. Roll each section into two rectangles.( 22x12 inches, each)
Beat the sugar, cream cheese, egg, vanilla and almond extracts with an electric mixer at medium speed, until smooth. leaving 1 inch border, spread the cream cheese mixture evenly on each rectangle.
Starting with 1 long side, roll up each rectangle. On a lightly greased baking sheet, place one of the dough rolls, seam side down. Bring ends of roll together to seal, to form an oval. Repeat with second dough roll. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes minutes or until golden. Let cakes cool for about for about 10 minutes. Insert the plastic baby doll into the cake. Spoon icing onto cake and spread on top, only. Sprinkle evenly, alternating with colored sugar sprinkles. Cool before serving.
Makes 2 cakes. (15 servings each)