In preparation for Mardi Gras in New Orleans in February, math and theology teacher, Megan Dubee decided to bake a king cake. Dubee originally thought the cake would take a short amount of time to bake so she began making it late at night. She later realized the cake would take much longer than expected.
King Cakes traditionally have a small plastic baby inside them. Whomever receives the baby in their slice of cake is said to have good luck and prosperity.
Ms. Dubee’s King Cake
Scald milk, remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of butter, allow mixture to cool to room temp. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar, let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt and nutmeg. Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap (I prefer plastic wrap) and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours. When risen, punch down and divide the dough in half.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 2 cookie sheets or line them with parchment paper.
TO MAKE THE FILLING: Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, chopped pecans, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup raisins. Pour 1/2 cup melted butter over the cinnamon mixture and mix until crumbly.
Roll dough halves out into large rectangles (approx. 10×16 inches or so). Sprinkle the filling evenly over the two halves of dough leaving about 1/2 inch boarder all around. Roll up each half tightly like a jelly roll starting at the wide side. Bring the ends of each roll together to form two oval shaped rings.
Place each ring on a prepared cookie sheet. With a clean pair of scissors make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings and 1 inch intervals. Let the rings rest and allow to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Push the doll into the bottom of the cake. Allow to cool a bit and FROST the cake while still warm with the confectioners’ sugar blended with 1 or 2 tablespoons of water. Sprinkle the colored sugars on the cake in sections of Green, Gold and purple around the rings.