[Food Series] Mom’s King Cake – A Treasured New Orleans Tradition

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m from New Orleans and as most Crescent City natives are, I am extremely proud of my hometown! Tradition runs deep in my family and I strive to pass it down to our daughter along with my husband’s family traditions. And so, it is with pleasure that I introduce her (and you) to the King Cake!

Traditional New Orleans King Cake

Ingredients
16 oz of Sour Cream
1/3 cup S
ugar
1/4 cup Butter
1 teaspoon Salt
2 envelopes (1/4 oz/each) Active Dry Yeast
1/2 cup warm Water (100° to 110°)
1 tablespoon Sugar
2 large Eggs, lightly beaten
6 to 6 1/2 cups bread flour*
1/3 cup Butter, softened
1/2 cup Sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon

Start by cooking the first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts. Set that aside, and allow the mixture to cool to between 100° and 110°. Next, stir together the yeast, 1/2 cup warm water and 1 tablespoon sugar in a measuring cup; let it stand 5 minutes. Beat the sour cream mixture, yeast mixture, eggs and 2 cups flour at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until smooth. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add enough remaining flour (4 to 4 1/2 cups) until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until dough is doubled in bulk. Punch down dough, and divide in half. Roll each portion into a 22- x 12-inch rectangle. Spread 1/3 cup softened butter evenly on each rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border. Stir together 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over butter on each rectangle. Roll up each dough rectangle, jelly-roll fashion, starting at 1 long side. Place one dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bring ends of roll together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal. Repeat with second dough roll. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Bake at 375° for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden. Slightly cool cakes on pans on wire racks (about 10 minutes). Drizzle Creamy Glaze evenly over warm cakes; sprinkle with colored sugars, alternating colors and forming bands. Let cool completely. 


Optional Cream Cheese-Filled King Cake: Prepare each 22- x 12-inch dough rectangle as directed. Omit 1/3 cup softened butter and 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Increase 1/2 cup sugar to 3/4 cup sugar. Beat 3/4 cup sugar; 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened; 1 large egg; and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly on each dough rectangle, leaving 1-inch borders. Proceed with recipe as directed. Enjoy with a little Dixieland Jazz or When the Saints Go Marching In!

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