Traditional Mardi Gras King Cake with two filling options: A gooey cinnamon-pecan or a kicked-up cherry bourbon cream cheese. Either way, this easy recipe is sure to please! Recipe adapted from Allrecipes
Serves: 2 cakes, approximately 12-16 servings each
1 cup milk
¼ cup unsalted butter
4 and ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
⅔ cup warm water, approximately 110 degrees
½ cup sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
1 and ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
5 and ½ cups all-purpose flour
For Cherry Bourbon Cream Cheese Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese
½ cup sugar
2 Tablespoons Cherry Bourbon (or other flavoring, such as vanilla extract)
For Cinnamon Pecan Filling:
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¾ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup white sugar
3 cups confectioners sugar
¼ cup milk or heavy cream (more or less for desired consistency)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat milk to steaming hot but not boiling. Add ¼ cup of butter to hot milk, and allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture.
Whisk in the eggs.
Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt and nutmeg.
Add the flour one cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes, or mix with dough hook for 10 minutes.
Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil.
Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
When risen, punch down and divide dough in half, using a kitchen scale if available.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
Filling option 1 (Cherry Bourbon Cream Cheese)
In a medium bowl, combine room temperature cream cheese and sugar.
With a hand mixer, beat until smooth and creamy.
Add cherry bourbon (or other flavoring substitute) and beat to combine.
Filling option 2: (Cinnamon Pecan)
In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.
Melt butter, and pour over brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.
Chop pecans into small pieces, and set aside.
Assembly and baking:
Roll dough halves out into large rectangles (approximately 10x16 inches).
For cream cheese filling, carefully spread cream cheese mixture over the dough. Be sure to leave a border without filling for easy closure.
For cinnamon filling, spread brown sugar/cinnamon mixture over dough.
Sprinkle with pecans and white sugar.
Beginning with the long edge (the 16 inch edge) roll the dough into a jellyroll or log shape. Pinch closed, all the way across.
Turn dough so seam is on the bottom.
Shape dough into a ring, and connect the ends, pinch to seal.
Slice ½ inch-deep cuts 2-inches apart across the top of the dough.
Cover with a towel and allow to rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes.
Brush dough with egg wash, and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Allow to cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack before icing.
Stir together confectioners sugar, milk/cream and vanilla until smooth.
Pour over top of cake, and dust with sanding sugars as desired.
Bury the baby, and enjoy!
Recipe by Lemon Sugar at http://lemon-sugar.com/2013/02/king-cake-filled-two-ways.html/