I absolutely love New Orleans! I mean how could you not love a city full of such history, culture, music and amazing food? This is the birthplace of Jazz and the epicenter of melodic cuisine. I was fortunate enough to spend four years here during undergrad and I try to get back there as often as I can.
As I mentioned in my previous posts, New Orleans and Louisiana culture runs deep in my blood and spirit. Both sides of my families have roots in Louisiana so I don't play when it comes to representing the authenticity of its traditions. Every year during Mardi Gras, whether I visit the boot shaped state or not, a King cake is an absolute must. The further I travel outside of Louisiana the harder it becomes to obtain one of these delicacies. I took my frustration and turned it into a recipe. I have been tweaking my King cake recipe over time to keep it fresh and also classic. Check out my King cake recipe below that comes with the options of two fillings: the customary cream cheese filling and also banana foster praline filling.
If you are frustrated in the ability of getting your Mardi Gras King cake or have never had one, definitely give this recipe a try. Nothing beats a fresh King cake! I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Mardi Gras King Cake
2 (¼ oz.) packets dry active yeast
½ cup of warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup butter, melted
½ cup of warm milk (110 to 115 degrees)
2 eggs yolks
1 ¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. lemon zest
½ tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
3 to 3 ¾ cups all purpose flour
½ cup of light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
Bananas Foster Filling:
3 medium ripe bananas
½ cup of bourbon or whiskey
1 tbsp. AP flour
½ cup of prepared caramel (see recipe here)
¼ cup condensed milk
1 cup chopped pecans
2 to 2 ¼ cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. milk
2 tsp. water
dash of salt
*optional traditional cream cheese filling:
8oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups of confectioners sugar
2 egg whites, room temperature
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Using hand and stand mixer, add sugar, butter, milk, egg yolks, salt, lemon peel, nutmeg and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
While dough is resting, make your filling. Cut up bananas into ½ inch cubes. In a large skillet cook bananas on medium heat until they began to soften. Turn heat down to low-medium heat. Remove pan from heat and add your bourbon or whiskey. Flambé bananas by lighting liquor on fire. Continue to cook until flame has extinguished. Whisk in flour. Cook until sauce begins to thicken. Add the prepared caramel and milk. Lightly stir together until caramel is incorporated and smooth. Allow filling to simmer for approximately 5 minutes until it tightens. Turn off heat and fold in pecans. Allow filling to completely cool. Set aside.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 16-in. x 10-in. rectangle. Combine cinnamon and brown sugar; sprinkle over dough over all of dough. Do not leave a border. Fold dough in thirds lengthwise (like a letter). Roll out dough again into a 16 x 10 inch rectangle. Place filling on top of dough, leaving a ½ inch edge. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal. Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet; pinch ends together to form a ring. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Brush with beaten egg.
Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack. For glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract, milk, salt and enough water to achieve desired consistency. (Glaze should be tacky glue consistency). Spread over cake. Sprinkle with Sprinkle Mix while glaze is still wet. Allow glaze to set.
Devour and Enjoy!!
*for optional cream cheese filling: In a medium size bowl whisk together cream cheese, confectioner's sugar and egg whites on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Set aside. Once cinnamon and brown sugar have been applied to dough and dough has been rolled out again into a 16 x10 inch rectangle, place cream cheese filling on top of dough. Smooth out cream cheese on top of dough evenly leaving a ½ inch border. Continue to roll up dough jelly-roll style. Continue remainder of directions above.