Bonjour tout le monde!
For those that don’t know any french, that means “Good Day everyone!”. One of the many things I remember from the five years I spent taking french classes in middle school/high school was learning about french traditions and their food. I remember making a “gateau du roi” or king cake back in the day and wanted to celebrate the Mardi Gras festivities by cooking up another one. I tried making one a couple years ago but it looked prettier than it tasted, so I went to the internet in search of a king cake recipe that would be both moist and delicious.
I found a simple and traditional recipe over at browneyedbaker.com, but in my research I really liked the construction that Sucre in New Orleans uses (see video below). When rolling out the dough and filling it, they split the dough down the middle to make two rolls, which they then seal and twist together to form the ring. I employed this technique using the king cake recipe from browneyedbaker.
Now, the recipe takes about 3 hours to make due to the time spent letting the yeast in the dough rise, not once but twice. They can be a lot of work but if done right, worth the work put into it. If you ever want to try a king cake without having to break out all your baking goods, they can easily be purchased online and shipped from one of many bakeries in New Orleans and its surrounding area. They are only available during Carnival though, so don’t miss out next year.
One lesson I learned after completing this recipe is not to trust “best by” labels in my pantry and purchase everything fresh from the grocery when making baked goods. I had a 3 pack of rapid yeast that was in my pantry for some time. The best by date said Oct 2013 so I trusted that it would be fresh. Well, the yeast never bubbled like it said it’s supposed to in the instructions. I should have known then that the dough would never really rise or “double in size” after kneading. I still went through all the steps but the cake turned out more dense than fluffy. Thank goodness this wasn’t a show stopper. Tasting the cake this morning was a relief as I believe it turned out good and moist. Here is the finished product and a compilation of process photos taken.
I enjoyed being able to use my Kitchen Aid mixer which I don’t get to use nearly enough. Also a wise purchase for anyone that makes baked goods is a pastry mat. I bought one at Kitchen and Company and have to praise it for not having any dough stick to it as I was kneading and rolling. It makes a great work surface, plus it has a ruler and circle markings for different sized pie crusts and pizza sizes. Lastly, I didn’t have a plastic baby or a whole pecan to add to the cake for the good luck trinket, so instead I used a marble. It has yet to be found though so maybe it will be my lucky day! 🙂 Anyways, hope everyone enjoys the day and “laissez le bon temps roulez!”