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Lilypie Kids birthday Ticker
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Who Dat!
It might be Wednesday, but I'm still loving the idea of the New Orleans Saints being the Superbowl champs.  I grew up rooting for the underdogs known as the Saints.  My mom was raised in New Orleans, and I have lived there many times in my life.  I've really been missing New Orleans for a while now.  The last time we were there was just a few months before Katrina hit.  I'm seriously in need of a New Orleans fix. 

Up here in northern Indiana, they try to imitate one New Orleans tradition.  King Cakes are available in the grocery stores from Twelfth Night until Mardi Gras Day.  I remember going to King Cake parties when I was a child.  If you got the piece of cake with the baby, you were supposed to host the party the following year.  I moved back to New Orleans about a year after I graduated from high school and worked for a couple of hotels before returning to college.  The king cake tradition in the office was to bring one in every Friday.  The person who got the baby had to bring in the following week's cake.  It was fun and gave us something to look forward to during some busy weeks. I have absolutely no idea where the idea of baking a small plastic baby into a cake come from.  I do know that originally it was a nut.  Sometimes a dried bean is used.

The second of the two hotels I worked at during this time was the Hyatt Regency.  The Hyatt is physically connected to the Superdome.  In fact, I parked my car in the Superdome parking lot.  I worked as one of the secretaries in the Catering department when I was first hired.  One of the events we catered was a huge Sunday breakfast for the Saints on any home game day.  That year I was able to get Archie Manning to sign a football that I gave my stepbrother for Christmas.

See, it all ties together.  New Orleans, Saints, and King Cakes.

The other day I started looking up the websites for some of the better bakeries in New Orleans to see about ordering a King Cake.  Uh, no.  The going price is $40 plus overnight shipping.  That's crazy!  Then Jim brought home a slice of King Cake on Monday that a coworker had made.  We were talking about it that evening when Jim asked me how hard it would be to just make one.  I had no idea.  I'd never tried.  I checked my computer recipe files and found two I had saved.  I didn't read the directions, but skimmed through the ingredient list.  We had everything we needed. It was pretty obvious on the way home yesterday that today had a strong chance of being a snow day.  I told Jim & Sera that if it were, we'd make a  King Cake.  It was, and we did.

It was so much easier than I thought it would be.  I ended up combining the two recipes.  There were aspects of both I liked better.  A King Cake is basically a brioche that is filled with a cinnamon-sugar blend or a cream cheese and/or fruit filling and topped with icing and purple, green, and gold sugar. I did the cream cheese filling without the fruit. 

King Cake

2 1/4 t dry yeast (or 1 envelope)
1/4 c warm water
1 t sugar
1 t flour
1/2 c milk
1 c butter
1/2 c sugar
2 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
4 c all-purpose flour, approximaely

8 oz cream cheese
1/4 c sugar
2 T flour
2 egg yolks
1 t vanilla

1 16-oz can fruit pie filling, drained, optional

Egg Wash:
1 egg

Icing & Decorative Sugars:
2/3 c powdered sugar
2 t lemon juice, to taste
6-8 t sugar
yellow, green, red, & blue food coloring

Mix the yeast with the warm water. Stir 1 teaspoon of the sugar and 1 teaspoon of the flour into the yeast, and set aside.

Bring the milk to a boil, and stir in the butter and the sugar. Pour into a large mixing bowl.  Let the mixture cool to lukewarm. Beat in the egg yolks, whole eggs and the yeast.

Beat in approximately 2 cups of flour, until the dough is fairly smooth, then gradually add enough additional flour to make a soft dough that you can form into a ball. Knead it, by hand or machine, until smooth and elastic. I used my Kitchen Aid mixer, switching to the dough hook as soon as it started forming a ball.

Lightly oil a bowl, turn the dough once or twice in it to grease it lightly all over, cover with a cloth and leave to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Since it's so cold here today, I heated my oven to 110 and then turned it off.  I set the dough inside my oven to rise.

This makes enough dough to make two cakes.  I divided my dough by weight, formed half into a disc, and placed it inside a freezer bag.  It's now living in my freezer waiting to be finished.
Preheat oven to 375.
With the other half, I formed a long sausage-type roll before rolling it out into a rectangular shape.  Roll it out as thin as a pie crust. 
Mix egg with water to create an egg wash. Fold the long edge of the dough over the filling, brush top with egg wash, and then overlap the other edge over the filling as well. It should now look like a long roll folded in thirds. Brush with additional egg wash, if desired, to seal dough. Gently maneuver the cake on to a well-greased or parchment-lined baking sheet forming a circle. As you move the cake to your baking sheet, carefully flip it over so that the seam side is down. Pinch the ends together to form a circle. You can squeeze and form your dough ring to manipulate it into a more even circle. Cover, and let it rest for 30 minutes. Brush with remaining egg wash, and bake for 25-35 minutes. The cake should have risen and be a golden brown. Cool.
Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice.  Add enough water to slightly thin out the icing.  Don't make it too thin like I did.
Separate sugar into three containers.  Mix 2 drops of yellow in one dish, 2 drops of green in the second, and 1 drop each of red and blue into the third.  Mix sugars until you have gold, green, and purple sugar.
Pour icing over cooled cake.  Allow your 3-year-old to sprinkle the sugars liberally over the top.  The messier, the better!



Blogger a Tonggu Momma said...

Yum! I'm so excited the Saints won, but my husband can't wrap his brain around it. They've been "the aints" for so long, I think he's stunned.

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