Mardi Gras King Cake

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The King Cake is a tradition of New Orleans Mardi Gras - and this dough is more like a sweet yeast bread than cake! A miniature plastic baby (or sometimes an almond) is hidden in the cake; whoever gets the piece of cake with the baby gets to host the next party.



Scald milk; remove from heat and stir in butter. Set aside to cool to room temperature.  In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water with 1/2 Tbsp. sugar; let stand approximately 10 minutes until foamy, then add cooled milk and butter.  Whisk in egg. Stir in remaining sugar, salt and nutmeg.

Beat in 2-3/4 cups flour 1 cup at a time.  When dough pulls together, turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes.

Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in bowl and turn to coat. Cover with saran wrap sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.  When raised, punch down  dough.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.

Assemble filling by combining dry ingredients then pour melted butter over the mixture and blend until crumbly.

Roll dough out into a large rectangle, 10x16-inches or so.  Sprinkle filling evenly on dough and roll up tightly like a jelly roll, beginning at the wide side.  Bring ends of the roll together to form an oval and place on prepared cookie sheet.  With scissors, make cuts 1/3 of the way through the ring at 1-inch intervals.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Bake in preheated oven 20-25 minutes.  Upon removing from oven push miniature plastic baby doll into the bottom of the cake. 

To frost, whisk powdered sugar with water until smooth and spread over top of cooled cake.  If desired, sprinkle with colored sugar for a festive look.


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