Frugal Recipes 

Michelle's Meals on a Budget
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Mardi Gras King Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Filling
Copyright 2004 © by Michelle Jones, editor of BetterBudgeting.com

Having lived in Mobile, Alabama for two years, our family had a chance to experience many Mardi Gras parades with moon pies and purple green and gold colored beads (called throws), and the delicious King Cakes offered in all the local bakeries.  It was a season of annual family fun we'll never forget.  

Although I would not consider this recipe particularly frugal, it is certainly more frugal to make it at home than to order one online! ;o)  

(For those of us living outside of Mardi Gras towns, that is.  If purchasing a King Cake locally they usually only cost about $5-$6.)

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Please note: King Cake is not like a birthday cake, it's more like a sweet breakfast bread.

Ingredients:

1/2 c. warm water 
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 c. plus 1 tsp. sugar
About 4 cups of flour, more or less as needed
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 c. warm milk
5 large egg yolks
1 stick plus 2 T. butter, cut in slices and softened
1 egg slightly beaten with 1 T. of milk
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tiny plastic doll (about 1 inch in size)


Optional Cream Cheese Filling:

1 8-ounce pkg. cream cheese
1 c. confectioner's sugar
2 T. flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
a few drops of milk

(If filling the cake, cream all the above ingredients together with a mixer and spread onto the rolled-out dough before rolling it into a ring... yum!!)


Cake Directions:

Pour the warm water into a small shallow bowl and sprinkle yeast and 2 teaspoons of sugar into it. Allow the yeast and sugar to rest for several minutes, then mix thoroughly. Set yeast mixture in a warm place for 10 minutes. Combine 3 and 1/2 cups of flour, remaining sugar, nutmeg and salt, and sift into a large mixing bowl.

Stir in lemon zest. Separate center of mixture to form a hole and pour in yeast mixture and milk. Add egg yolks and using a wooden spoon, combine dry ingredients into the yeast and milk mixture. When mixture is smooth, beat in 8 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon at a time and continue to beat 2 minutes or until dough can be formed into a medium soft ball.

Place ball of dough on floured surface and knead, gradually adding 1/2 to 1 cup more of flour. When dough is no longer sticky, knead 10 minutes more until shiny and elastic.

Using a pastry brush, coat the inside of a large bowl evenly with one tablespoon softened butter. Place dough ball in the bowl and rotate until the entire surface is buttered. Cover bowl with a heavier kitchen towel and allow dough to rise in a warm place for about 1 and 1/2 hours or until it doubles in volume.

Coat a large baking sheet with one tablespoon of butter and set aside. After the first rising, place the dough on a floured surface and punch it down with a heavy blow. Sprinkle cinnamon, then pat and shape the dough into a long 'snake' or 'cylinder'. Form a twist by folding the long cylinder in half, end to end, and pinching the ends together. Then twist the dough. Form a ring with the completed twist and pinch the ends together.

Place the completed ring on the buttered baking sheet, cover it with a towel and allow it to rise for 45 minutes or until it doubles in volume. After the second rising, brush the top and sides of the cake with the egg and milk wash. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and hide the plastic baby inside the cake (or just place on the top of cake to avoid someone biting into it).

Icing: (2 parts - you can use one or both if desired)

Colored sugar
Green, purple and yellow coloring paste (sold with cake decorating supplies)
12 T. sugar
Divide sugar into three portions (for green, yellow and purple)
Add a tiny amount of the coloring paste to each sugar portion. Try mixing the sugar and colored pasted between your palms for best results. Set aside.

Poured icing:

3/4 c. confectioners sugar
1/4 c. lemon juice
3 - 6 T. of water

Combine ingredients until smooth, adding more water if it's too thick. Spoon icing over top of cake. Immediately sprinkle on colored sugars, alternating between the three colors. Serve in 2"3" pieces.

 

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