I never heard about King Cake until I made a visit to my favorite bakery in Burbank where they were taking orders for Mardi Gras.
What was king cake and what does it have to do with Mardi Gras? According to What’s Cooking America, king cake is a rich Danish dough, baked and covered with a sugar topping in Mardi Gras colors. Purple represents justice, green represents faith and gold represents power. Further research shows that thousands of king cakes are eaten during Mardi Gras each year in New Orleans.
While I don’t plan on visiting New Orleans soon but I was up for doing a little baking. I researched several recipes and I decided on one from AllRecipes.com. All the recipes sounded fine with the recipe except for the addition of raisins in the filling — a certain no-no with all pastries I plan to eat.
The great thing about AllRecipes.com that keeps me coming back is not only the vast number of user submitted recipes but the reviews and a rating system from zero to five stars. The ratings help me narrow down several different variations on a recipe while the reviews are written based on people’s experience with the finished product and what they did to improve on the recipe. For the king cake recipe, many people chose not to include raisins and I followed that lead. I even doubled the amount of brown sugar pecan filling.
I haven’t made dough from scratch in years and I forgotten how messy it was from the sticky hands to the floured clothes — unfortunately I wear a lot of black. After 4 hours of kneading, waiting, rolling and more waiting, I almost forgot to include the special item that made the king cake special to Mardi Gras — a tiny plastic baby.
According to popular legend, the baby hidden inside the cake to signifies good luck to the person who finds it in their piece of cake. Well no plastic babies were found anywhere in my kitchen. Closest thing I had was a plastic monkey.
As for the cake, blue and green sprinkles (I had no purple or yellow) was sparse and the glaze made out of confectioner’s sugar and water too runny. But that didn’t affect the taste. The dough was light and, well, doughy. The chopped pecans inside added some nice texture to the gooey sweetness. As for the monkey, he wasn’t swallowed and found almost immediately.