King Cake is a brioche dough with a ribbon of brown sugar cinnamon (or praline sugar) running through it, baked in an oval shape, glazed with royal icing, and sprinkled with Mardi Gras colors.
The Pastry Chef's Baking
Happy Mardi Gras! During my recent culinary trip to New Orleans, my friend Jen who lives locally brought me, among other things, a slice of King Cake from Gambino's Bakery. There's nothing like tasting authentic king cake from a fabulous bakery during Mardi Gras season.
And then I did something unusual. I bought a cake mix. Yes. Even though I usually bake all my desserts from scratch, a mix seemed like the easiest way to try and make a King Cake mix on my own at home.
There are plenty of recipes out there for making King Cake from scratch. And someday I want to try this one from Emeril Lagasse. Even though I eschew cake mixes, I broke down and bought one for two reasons: (1) it was locally made and certified to have been made in Louisiana, (2) I didn't want to go out and buy purple, green, and yellow sugars separately. It's much easier to get them all in one package.
King Cake is essentially a brioche dough, with a ribbon of brown sugar cinnamon (or praline sugar) running through it, baked in an oval shape, glazed with royal icing, and sprinkled with Mardi Gras colors. Tradition decrees that a plastic baby (or sometimes a pecan) is hidden among the slices and whoever finds that plastic baby in their piece is responsible for hosting the next round of Mardi Gras parties.
Note to any novice bakers: Do not bake the plastic baby inside with the cake, it will melt and make your cake unsafe to eat! The baby is usually tucked underneath the slice of cake after baking and serving. I'm a personal fan of the Mardi Gras colors and I like a good brioche as much as the next person so it's hard not to like King Cake.