King Cake

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February 24, 2013 by beccawittman

I hate bread.

Okay, no, thats not true. I don’t hate bread. I love bread, actually. Bread = yum.

Okay, what I hate is MAKING bread.

Alright, fine, thats a lie too – making bread is as fun as anything. What I do hate, though, is yeast.

Ugh. Yeast.

I have baaaaad experiences with yeast. I swear, the first rolls I made turned out amazing. The three times afterward they were flat and dense and ugh. I haven’t made anything yeast related since.

But, well, you saw what happened with caramel. I was going to have to do something sometime.

So around then I was seeing all this Mardi Gras stuff on foodgawker(best. site. ever) and found this thing called a King Cake, which looked absolutely gorgeous, and I was immediately tempted. I would have done it before Fat Tuesday, but life calls(as in, I had to bake something for my teacher).

Well, at least I got it done – AND IT WAS SO FREAKING BEAUTIFUL. I swear, it was just amazing – I was- I was in shock.

And- and guys. GUESS. WHAT.

The dough rose.

I swear, it really did. It was ridiculous how excited I got, but come on – it ROSE, guys, it rose.

I just…gah.

On top of that, I got chai extract in the mail today.

Repeat after me: chai. Extract.

Yes, I may or may not have a slight obsession with chai tea – I have obsessions with near everything, but let’s not go into that – and now it’s a bit challenging to go to sleep without it(yeah, sorry). But seriously, I swear – best tea ever. Especially if you steep it in milk, with honey…ohemgee.

Okay, I overreact to food, I admit, but I can’t help it. I can predict that by 2014 I will have overflowing boxes of really weird extracts and spices no one can pronounce. YOLO.

(Speaking of which, did YOLO go out of fashion, or did everyone who was saying YOLO die…?)

Oh, and anyone planning on watching the Oscars tonight? I am SUPER SUPER excited – not only is Les Mis in for Best Film(picture, movie, whatever the heck you want to call it), but “Suddenly” is in for Best Original Song(excuse my un-fanciness), Anne Hathaway is in for Best Supporting Actress, and Hugh Jackman for Best Actor…or something. Plus Jennifer Lawrence being nominated for Best Actress. I haven’t watched Silver Linings Playbook or anything, but c’mon guys, it’s Jennifer Lawrence. Seriously.

King Cake

(adapted very very slightly from Baked Bree)

Dough:

1/2 cup warm water

2 packages yeast

1/2 cup warm milk

5 egg yolks

2 teaspoons sugar

4 cups flour

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup cooled, melted butter

1/2 cup sugar

Cream Cheese Filling:

1 8 oz. package cream cheese

1 cup powdered sugar

2-3 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

DSC_1190

DSC_1184

 

(a hard-earned almost teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg…ugh.)

 

For the dough:

In a medium sized bowl combine yeast, warm water, and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Put in a WARM PLACE for ten minutes. (WARM. PLACE. Put it in the microwave, microwave it for 5 seconds, then leave it alone for the next ten minutes.)

DSC_1193

 

This is what it should look like after ten minutes – a high, foamy, bubbly mass of glory.

In your mixer bowl, fitted with the dough hook, combine flour, remaining sugar, eggs, yeast mixture, nutmeg, milk, and butter(a shake of salt, too).

DSC_1194

 

Oh, and if you want it to look god while you’re taking pictures, don’t put the yeast in last. Just don’t.

Knead until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl around 3-4-5 minutes. Don’t worry if it looks really thick or dense, or is really stretchy or feels like rubber – once it rises, it’ll be fine.

Cover with plastic wrap, tin foil, clean towel, and store in a WARM PLACE for 1 1/2 hours.

After that it should look like this:

DSC_1195

And then you have permission to jump up and down and freak out.

About now is when you’ll want to make your cream cheese mixture – just mix everything together until smooth.

Then flour your work surface and roll it out until a thin, 1/4 inch-ish rectangle shape(or just something that looks approximately like a rectangle). The thing will be a behemoth. Fear not – just spread your cream cheese over it in an even layer:

DSC_1202

 

(Sorry for the crap pictures – by now it was like eight and super-dark outside.)

Roll it up into an even log, twist it into a circle around a mason jar, pinch the ends together, cover it with a towel, and let rise in a WARM PLACE for 45 minutes.

Then pop it into a 350 Fahrenheit oven(does anyone know where the little degrees sign is? grrr) for 25-30 minutes and your all done.

I haven’t decorated it yet(shame, shame, shame) but I’ll give you guys a picture in just a little bit – I swear.

Oh, and P.S: It was delicious.

 

xoxo Becca

 

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