Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mardi Gras

I was a little overwhelmed with Super Bowl, my first "hands on" cake class, February birthdays at work and Mardi Gras and Valentine's Day all falling in the same week. It didn't help that I came down with a killer sinus infection and some kind of stomach virus that sidelined me for about a week. I didn't get to make the chocolate truffles or chocolate stuffed strawberries that I wanted to make for Valentine's Day. But, I am hoping to have a Valentine's Day redo either this weekend or next since Scott and I spent our Valentine's Day eating Ramen noodles since I wasn't feeling well.

King Cake
I did find enough energy on Saturday to make a King Cake for Scott & Tara's Mardi Gras party. I was a little skeptical of how this cake would turn out because I did not have a clue what I was doing, but it tasted SO good! I actually combined two different recipes for this cake. One had a dough that sounded easier and I had everything I needed to make it without going to the store. But, this recipe called for an almond pastry filling in the middle. Since Scott is allergic to nuts I don't think it is fair to make something he can't eat. So, I used the filling from a second recipe which consisted of butter, cinnamon and sugar. It ended up tasting like a giant cinnamon roll.
This recipe is the way I made the cake:
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
1/2 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 stick butter or margarine, melted
2 cups granulated sugar
3 tbsp ground cinnamon

3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 4 tablespoons water
Purple, green and gold colored sugar

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, shortening, sugar, salt, egg and 2 cups flour. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Roll one portion into a 16-in. x 10-in. rectangle. Brush each rectangle with 1/2 stick of butter within 1/4 inch of the edge. Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and sprinkle half of it over each rectangle.

Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal. Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet; pinch ends together to form a ring. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

For glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough water to achieve desired consistency. Spread over cooled cakes. Sprinkle with colored sugars.

Yield: 2 cakes (12 servings each).

*You can substitute the filling ingredients with 2 cans (12 1/2 oz each) almond cake and pastry filling.

Let me warn you to put something underneath the cooling rack as you glaze the cake. This is what my counter looked like when I was done with the cakes. It was not fun to clean up that mess!

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