It’s that time of year again! I love a good King Cake! The mystery of finding a baby in the cake is such fun! I’m also a sucker for a good cinnamon Brioche! Yum! So you know I just had to make one for myself! 😃
This King Cake is almost the same base recipe as my Cinnamon Rolls, just with some minor changes. Also, instead of cutting rolls, you slice the roll in half and braid it like a Babka. It looks difficult, but it’s actually pretty easy. Just don’t have any fear! 🙌
The goal of the King Cake is to find the baby in the cake. The person that finds the baby is the King for the day and has to bring the King Cake the next year. The colored sugars have meanings as well. Green is for faith, purple is for justice, and yellow is for power.
Serving: 1 cake; 8 slices
Time: 3 hours
1 cup warm (100-110°F) whole milk
2 ½ tsp instant yeast
½ cup white sugar
3 whole eggs, separated (into 2 eggs and 1 egg)
6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened, separated (into 2 tbsp and 4 tbsp)
1 tsp table salt (not kosher salt)
21 ounces all purpose flour, plus more for dusting the board
½ tbsp vegetable or canola oil
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3 tbsp ground cinnamon, separated (into 1 tbsp and 2 tbsp)
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1.5 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
Purple, green, and yellow sugars
1 plastic baby (or large nut half)
Heat the 1 cup milk to 100-110°F. Using a kitchen thermometer to check. If you do not have a thermometer, use your finger, the water should feel warm, not hot.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast, warm milk, and ½ cup of sugar. Whisk lightly to combine. Allow the yeast to bloom for 10 minutes. The yeast will form a pad on the top.
To the yeast mixture, add add the 21.5 ounces of flour (4 ½ cups if no kitchen scale is available), 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 tbsp butter, and 2 eggs.
Turn on the mixer on the lowest speed and allow the dough to knead for 3 minutes.
Stop the mixer. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is combined.
Add the 1 tbsp of cinnamon to the dough.
Turn the mixer back on at the lowest speed. Allow the mixture to turn for 5-8 more minutes. The dough will be slightly sticky.
Use the ½ tbsp vegetable or canola oil of grease the bowl you will use to allow the dough to rise.
Once the dough has come together, pour the dough into the greased bowl. Use a spatula to get out any lingering dough. Cover the dough bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Allow to rise for 1 hour in a draft free location. It will double in size.
After an hour, move the risen to the floured work surface.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Roll the dough out into a large, horizontal rectangle. It should be at least 12 by 18 inches. A little larger is okay, but no smaller.
Spread the softened 4 tbsp of butter all over the dough rectangle. Make sure the butter is spread evenly.
Sprinkle the remaining 2 tbsp cinnamon and the 1 tsp of nutmeg on the buttered dough.
Starting at the bottom (long edge nearest you), roll up the dough into a tight roll.
Using a spark knife, cut the rolled down in half long ways to expose the rolled up middles.
Turn the two halves so that the cut part is facing upwards.
Pinch the two ends together as the start of the braid.
Then take the bottom strip and cross it over the top strip. Then take the bottom and cross it over the top. You will create a tight spiral all the way down. Make sure to get your spirals as tight as you can without squishing the dough together.
When you get to the bottom of the Braid pinch the ends together so you have one, solid braid.
Now take the two pinched ends and move them to meet, to form a circle of braided dough.
Transfer the braided ring to a cookie sheet and move this to the oven. Close the oven door and turn off the oven.
Leave the ring in the off oven for 20 minutes. Don’t open the oven during this time.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
After 20 minutes, remove the King Cake from the oven. Use the remaining 1 egg and scrablenit up. Brush the scrambled egg all over the exposed dough.
Return the cake to the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until it is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.
Allow the cake to cool. While it cools, make the frosting.
In a bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, 2 tbsp milk, vanilla extract. This sound make a frosting that is spreadable, but not too thick. If you need it thicker, add more super, and if you need it thinner, add more milk.
Once the cake is cooled, frost the ring. Then add the colored sugar in stripes.
When you are ready to eat, stick the baby in the bottom of the cake. You can also use a nut if you want a more natural baby. I used a pecan half as the baby so that I didn’t use unnecessary plastic.