Two for Tuesday: King Cake and Paczki

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Happy Mardi Gras!  Growing up, we always called today Fat Tuesday.  We would eat a lot today before Lent started tomorrow.  An Italian tradition is to make very large meatballs with raisins; however, my family didn’t like the raisins so they didn’t use them.  I can get on board with the Irish tradition of pancakes or the Polish tradition of jelly doughnuts, or paczki.  I got these from the grocery store.  They were a tad stale with cheap-flavored jelly in them, but I’m sure real ones are the bomb.

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I wanted to try my hand at making a New Orleans king cake.  I read a lot of recipes beforehand, and every one is a bit different.  So I mixed and matched and came up with the following recipe.

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King Cake

For the cake:

2 packages active dry yeast (1/4 oz. each)

1/2 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)

1/2 cup sugar

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 cup warm milk (110-115 degrees F)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

3 1/2 cups flour (may need more)

For the filling:

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup butter, softened

For the icing:

1 box powdered sugar

5-6 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons light cream

green, purple and gold colored sugars (I bought these ready made at Target.)

For the cake, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add 1/2 cup sugar, butter, milk, eggs, salt, orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour.  Beat on low speed in a KitchenAid mixer with a dough hook until a dough forms.  You may have to add more flour until you see the dough is no longer sticking to the bottom of the bowl.  The dough should not be too sticky.

Knead dough on a floured surface until you have a nice dough ball.  Put dough in a bowl greased with olive oil.  Cover and let rise in a warm place.  (I wrapped it in a blanket and put it near the heat in my bedroom.)  This may take a few hours.  It should double in size.

After it doubles, punch it down and roll it into a rectangle.  I made my rectangle about 18 x 8 but you could make it longer lengthwise so that you have more flexibility to roll it into different shapes (like the Haydel’s long rectangular shape).

Spread the filling on with a spatula and leave about 1 inch around the edges.  Roll it up and then pinch to seal the edges.  Use some water to do this.  It’s a bit tricky but really make sure to do it or the filling will seep out while baking.

Put it on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and let it double in size again.

Bake at 375 degrees F on a baking sheet for 10 minutes and then 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.  Cool completely.  When cool, lift up and put plastic baby somewhere in the bottom of the cake.  (You can’t bake the baby in or it might melt.)  Drizzle with icing and sprinkle with colored sugars on top.

19 responses to “Two for Tuesday: King Cake and Paczki

  1. Look so festive and delicious! Happy Fat Tuesday!😉

  2. Dina, It looks absolutely gorgeous!!! I love the colors on top. A question, (if it’s not too late) could you post a picture when you slice it? I’d love to see the interior. Well done! (lol on not baking the plastic baby in the oven.)

    Happy Fat Tuesday!

    Got my ingredients ready for the pancakes. Trying an enamel pan this year to see if it makes it easier to flip. I’ve put a link in for the UK Parliamentary races between the Commons and the House of Lords. Can you imagine running and flipping at the same time?!
    http://www.independent.ie/world-news/and-finally/mps-get-battered-in-pancake-race-30061535.html

    • huntfortheverybest

      Thanks, Rhona! Happy Fat Tuesday to you too! We haven’t eaten it yet, but yes, I’ll post an inside pic too. The pancakes sound great. Wow, that is quite impressive. I can’t flip them standing at the stove let alone running!

  3. I probably left this link last year, but just in case . . .

    Delia Smith’s pancakes are what everyone in Ireland and Britain will be eating tonight. More crepes than anything else and sooo more-ish with lashings of lemon juice and sugar!
    http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/cuisine/european/english/basic-pancakes.html

  4. The cake looks delish! I bet it’s soft and moist.

  5. So so beautiful and delicious!!!

  6. I love the Mardi Gras colors! I have never had this cake before but I’ve heard about baking the baby inside, I wonder what the “baking proof” baby would be made out of? Your cake looks yummy! : )

  7. So glad I stumbled upon your blog! I’ll definitely read about places to eat in New York–best food city ever🙂 I’ve never had King Cake, so I might try this recipe!

    • huntfortheverybest

      Thanks so much! I’m glad you did too. I never had one either. There’s a little work involved with the dough, but it’s worth it!

  8. You know, I’ve never heard of a king cate until just the other day. I love the spices and citrus going on here and I bet it tastes as wonderful as it looks! 🙂

    • huntfortheverybest

      Thank you! It’s great. If you like sweet breads, you will like it. Kind of tastes like a cinnamon bun!

  9. My co-workers usually have this cake around Christmas. I had the luck one time to have the “baby” in my slice and I had to bring food for everyone.

    Thanks for the recipe, I tried making one before but mine came out very dry and coarse. I’ll give yours a try🙂

  10. I tasted this cake for the first time a few weeks ago! I haven’t heard about it before that🙂 Yours look so good!

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