Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I am King of the Cakes!!!

Not sure why, but King cake has intrigued me forever, probably because it is purple. All things purple are cool.    It is French in origin, and served every year on the Twelfth Night, January 6th, or also known as the Twelfth night revelers bal masque. Oddly enough the cake is Pagan in origin and somewhat ritual in nature.  It was a way to pick the sacred king, by having several men eat the cake and the man that received the bean in his slice was the chosen one.  He was treated like a king for the year, and then sadly sacrificed to the gods of Harvest.  When Christianity moved into these pagan neighborhoods, sacrifice was considered barbaric so the Kings cake became a symbol of the Magi, the three kings that came to visit the Christ child. The cake is baked on the eve of January 6th, and a small token is baked right into the bread. It was brought to Louisiana in the 1800's and was associated with the Epiphany until it became synonymous with Mardi Gras..Again, one of my favorite times of the year, because the polish doughnuts come out around the same time Paczkis(pronounced punch-kis). A traditional pre-lenten treat served on the Tuesday before Ash-Wednesday.. Love then!!!!
Anyway, I digress, Nowadays bakeries bake a small plastic baby in the bread and whomever ends up with the non-edible potential choking hazard is King for the day and has to host the party next year, provided he has not choked on the baby, it is Mardi Gras, dontcha know..
The classic cake is oval shaped, and coffee cake dough, sometimes with added cinnamon and sometimes not. I think it depends on the bakery.  They ice them, they sugar them and they even fill them, that's what I am talking about.   The best way to eat them is warm with Chicory coffee or Coffee' au lat'.  Who makes the best King cake? well that is up to you the reader to discover, but just be sure to send me a piece.  Here is a quick "I am way too busy" version.

1 can cinnamon roll dough (grands work nice) with icing
cinnamon sugar(dusting)
melted butter about 2 or 3 ozs
1 8oz pkg cream cheese(softened)
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp sour cream
sanding sugar, purple, yellow, and green
1 beaten egg
1 plastic baby small

In a bowl combine the cream cheese,sugar,lemon juice, vanilla extract and sour cream and mix until smooth, and if able put in a pastry bag, or set aside.
Roll out each cinnamon roll until it is a wide oval, make sure you use some flour to prevent it from sticking, now we are going to fasten all the rolls together like a wreath.  Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, pipe in the center the danish filling or spoon evenly in the center , leaving a small space where we will place the baby and crimp it. Pull the sides up over the cream cheese and crimp all the way around, so now we have a stuffed wreath, kind of like a stuffed pretzel.  With floured hands transfer to a greased sheet pan, seam side down, and brush with the beaten egg. Cook as directed, but I recommend 25 degrees cooler to compensate for the filling.  Ice it when cooled slightly and decorate with the sugars and enjoy.

Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you, and be silent.~ Epictetus (55 AD-135 AD)

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