The First Reader has declared this his new favorite cake. I fell in love with it, too. It’s sweet but not tooth-achingly so. The lemon and nutmeg scented ‘cake’ is to die for and the sweet creamy filling is like the best danishes. It takes some work but it’s so worth it.

King Cake-1

Only it’s not really like a cake, at least not the one that most of us are accustomed to. You’ll find the recipe at the bottom… King Cake-3

Instead it’s a really rich, flavorful, sweet… bread. With five egg yolks, milk, and butter, this comes out with a texture closer to good pastry.

King Cake-4

And it’s a yeast dough so it needs to rise, and then rise again before final baking. King Cake-5

There was some confusion at this point. The recipe I was using didn’t say anything about the filling, and I knew I’d been told this was a filled cake. King Cake-6

I didn’t have a plastic baby, and wasn’t going to try to find one. I did have pecans, which I was told make an acceptable stand in (more edible, too). King Cake-7

You could put it in a Bundt pan to keep it round, but this worked, it just wasn’t even all the way around. King Cake-8

Boy, did it get big on second rising. King Cake-9

Baked up beautifully and I opted to have us try it without the glaze, because the First Reader likes less sweet when it comes to desserts. King Cake-10

Flaky, creamy filling, the flavor of nutmeg and lemon and oh, this is good. We decided the glaze would be overkill and this is delicious as it is. I’ll be making it again, for sure!

I used the Emeril Lagasse recipe for the dough.

  • 1/2 cup warm water
    4 1/2 tsp
    2 teaspoons sugar
  • Dough:
    4 to 5 cups flour
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 teaspoons salt
    1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1 grated lemon rind
    1/2 cup warm milk (I put mine in the microwave for 30 seconds)
    1/2 cup melted unsalted butter, cooled (reduce your salt if you use salted)
    5 egg yolks
    1 pecan half or King Cake Baby
  • Filling:
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 c powdered sugar

Combine the warm water, yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside to a warm place for about 10 minutes.

Combine the 4 cups of flour, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, nutmeg, lemon rind and add warm milk, melted butter, egg yolks and yeast mixture. Beat until smooth. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place the dough in a well-greased bowl. Turn once so greased surface is on top.
Cover the dough and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 1/2 hours). Punch the dough down and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out into a rectangle. Cream together the cream cheese and sugar until it is light and fluffy (I used the stand mixer for this). Spread it evenly over the dough, leaving about one inch on the long side uncovered. Place your pecan piece, then roll from the covered long side toward the open long side, resulting in a cylinder. Leave the top seam on the bottom and fit together the ends to make a ring , pinching to make them stay in place if necessary.

Cover the ring with a towel, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow the cake to cool. Slice and serve!


3 responses to “King Cake”

  1. John in Philly Avatar
    John in Philly

    Looks tasty, I looked at the first few photos and the voice in my head kept saying, “It’s alive! it’s alive!”

    Might have to break out the Nutella stash and give this one a try. (if I had a 3D printer, this would be a great reason to print a baby Cthulhu.)

    1. Reality Observer Avatar
      Reality Observer

      Going to try it with an almond paste recipe that I don’t use often enough. (Acquaintance who’s an almond grower – for some reason, he has binders full of almond recipes…)

  2. Reality Observer Avatar
    Reality Observer

    Going to try it both ways (glazed / unglazed). Thank you!