King Cake

 

Growing up, I believed everyone in the world celebrated Mardi Gras. I thought everyone had off for Mardi Gras holidays or as we religiously called it in our private school, “Hallelujah Holidays.” And I was shocked to know that the rest of the world was deprived of king cake, sha. King cakes are traditionally baked in a circular shape that represents a king’s crown. Hidden inside of each cake is a tiny, plastic baby that represents Jesus (don’t choke on baby Jesus, that’s bad luck). Whoever finds the baby is supposed to buy the next king cake and will have good fortune in the future. The colors purple, gold and green that are used to decorate the cake represent justice, power and faith. These cakes were the best part of Mardi Gras to me whenever I was little. We grew up Christian, not Catholic, so the only tradition that we were able to engage in was eating king cake. I loved finding the little baby inside these cherished cakes. When left alone, my sister, Hope, and I would try our hardest to dig in the cake with seamless efforts. Without much astonishment, we failed every time. Baby Jesus would not tolerate cheating apparently…

 Recipe: Serves 6

* This recipe calls for puff pastry instead of the traditional brioche bread recipe. Also, most king cakes use purple, gold and green colored sugars, but I use colored royal icing. The grocery store that practically all of my king cakes came from in southwest Louisiana, Market Basket, used icing instead of sugars to decorate their cakes.

Cake:

1 package of puff pastry, thawed

1 Tbs. of butter, melted

2 Tbs. of sugar

2 Tbs. of brown sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup of blueberry filling (if you use canned, I won’t tell a soul)

1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 4000

Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface. Lay two sheets of pastry side by side and crimp the two pastries together. Makes sure that there are no seams. Leaving a 3-inch border, brush the melted butter onto the pastry, and then sprinkle on both brown and white sugar. Layer the cinnamon on top of the sugars. Press down lightly with your fingers. Add the filling on top of the sugars and cinnamon. Starting with the end closest to you, gently roll the pastry up jellyroll style. Connect both ends together to form a circle with the pastry. Transfer to a cookie sheet layered with parchment paper. Brush egg wash onto the pastry and bake for 25 minutes or until brown. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before icing the cake.

To make the icing:

3 cups of powdered sugar

2 egg whites

1 tsp. of lemon juice

Purple, gold and green food gels

Combine the sugar and egg white in a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment. Whisk together until shiny and can hold its shape. Add the lemon juice (add more if the icing is too thick). Take 3 mugs and line them with Ziploc bags. Spoon 2 tablespoons of white icing in each mug. Add the 3 different color gels in the 3 individual mugs. Close the bags and mix the color into the icing until you have the desired hue.

Once the cake has cooled, put a thin layer of white icing. Push the icing to a corner of the bag and snip a tiny piece of the corner off. Gently squeeze the icing onto the cake, one color at a time until you have all 3 colors displayed onto the cake. Let the icing harden slightly before serving.