Traditional King Cake
- 1 16-ounce container sour cream
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 envelopes (.25 ounces) active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water 100° to 110°
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- 6 to 6 1/2 cups bread flour*
- 1/3 cup butter softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- green-, and gold-tinted sparkling sugar sprinkles
- Cook first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts. Set aside, and cool mixture to 100° to 110°.
- Stir together yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a 1-cup glass measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes.
- Beat sour cream mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until smooth. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add enough remaining flour (4 to 4 1/2 cups) until a soft dough forms.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until dough is doubled in bulk.
- Punch down dough, and divide in half. Roll each portion into a 22- x 12-inch rectangle. Spread 1/3 cup softened butter evenly on each rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border. Stir together 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over butter on each rectangle.
- Roll up each dough rectangle, jelly-roll fashion, starting at 1 long side. Place one dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bring ends of roll together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal. Repeat with second dough roll.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
- Bake at 375° for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden. Slightly cool cakes on pans on wire racks (about 10 minutes). Drizzle glaze evenly over warm cakes; sprinkle with colored sugars, alternating colors and forming bands. Let cool completely.
- Cream Cheese-Filled King Cake: Prepare each 22- x 12-inch dough rectangle as directed. Omit 1/3 cup softened butter and 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Increase 1/2 cup sugar to 3/4 cup sugar. Beat 3/4 cup sugar; 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened; 1 large egg; and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly on each dough rectangle, leaving 1-inch borders. Proceed with recipe as directed.
- *6 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour may be substituted.
- Colored sugars: Mix 1/2 cup sugar with a drop of food coloring.
This recipe uses bread flour, which makes for a light, airy cake. You still get tasty results with all-purpose flour–the cake will just be more dense.