Yes, I know I'm late for Mardi Gras. And, I also know that I'm not French, or even Catholic. That being said, having had 3 sick kids around here for the last couple of weeks, I decided they needed a very minor Mardi Gras party. Having seen an article in the paper the week previous about Mardi Gras, which mentioned King Cake, I went in search of recipes. This one was superb, so much so that I made a second cake on Wednesday, and sent it via UPS overnight to my son in college for his birthday (well, a regular birthday cake wouldn't have survived the beating, now would it?).
This is, sadly, too big to be made in a bread machine. Thank goodness for my stand mixer!
1 cup milk, warmed to about 110 degrees
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup warm water
9 tsp yeast
1/2 cup sugar
6 cups flour
1-1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Put milk in the mixer bowl, and add yeast. Pour in water and sugar, then add stir in flour, butter, eggs, salt and nutmeg. The flour may have to be added in stages, although my mixer will take it all at once. Knead in the mixer for 8 to 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth. Then, remove it from the mixer, place on the counter, and roll out to about 8"wide by about 20" to 24" long. Let it sit while making the filling:
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup flour
Mix all filling ingredients together, then spread in the middle of the cake dough. fold the sides in carefully to cover the filling, then pick the roll up and put it into a bundt pan. Let the cake rise for 45 mintues to an hour, then bake at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes. Allow to cool 10 minutes in the pan, then invert onto serving plate and let it cool completely. Glaze with a mix of 1 cup confectioner's sugar with 1/2 tsp vanilla and cream to make it smooth. Sprinkle with brightly colored sugar.
Note that a plastic baby is put in the filling of a King Cake; however, I wrapped dollar coins in waxed paper and put 3 in my filling, for the 3 kids at home. All three got a prize, and all three were pleased. My husband was most pleased with cake, however, as evidenced by the fact that he ate about half of it in 2 days! Lucky him, he never gains weight.