Sunday, February 22, 2009

king cake.

king cake

yes. well.

i was really not in the mood to deal with a king cake this weekend, but fat tuesday is in 2 days & you can't do a king cake after fat tuesday, so it was now or never.

the king cake trial run debacle was still fresh in my mind & i seriously considered using a standard cinnamon roll dough (instead of giving Peter Reinhart's brioche dough a try) because it would be easier to handle & i really needed this thing to work out.

on the other hand, i would rather fail spectacularly than chicken out, so i went for the brioche option & i'm really glad i did. it turned out light & tender & the flavor is marvelous paired with the cinnamon swirl.

inside the king cake
i need more practice at every stage of working with brioche dough. it's very soft & i was really sweating over the whole process of rolling & forming it.

Here's a great tutorial on how to shape a king cake. i was dying to do a braid, but opted for a simple twist because i knew i was going to have to work really fast with a very soft dough & a braid requires more confidence & skill than i possess with brioche dough.

this is what it looked like after proofing & just before i popped it into the oven. it's by no means perfect, but i'm pretty proud of the twistyness & the fact that i got the twist onto the baking sheet & formed into an oval ring, although how i did that is a blur.

king cake

as an aside, my king cake is gigantic. i'm still trying to figure out how to transport it to work.

King Cake

dough: Middle-Class Brioche
The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart

cinnamon swirl: 1/2 C sugar + 2 tsp cinnamon

for vanilla fondant glaze: 1/2 C warm milk + 1 tsp vanilla + 4 1/2 C confectioner's sugar. whisk until smooth.

garnishes: sanding sugars & plastic babies

yield: 2 king cakes


1) split dough in half, return one half to refrigerator to keep it chilled.
2) working as quickly as you can- roll the dough out to a 20x12 rectangle.
3) cut the rectangle lengthwise into 2 pieces.
4) leaving a 1/4-1/2" border all around, sprinkle each of the 2 pieces with about 1/8 C of the cinnamon-sugar mixture (i did not brush with melted butter beforehand)
5) roll each piece longwise, pinching the long seams closed
6) to twist: place the 2 rolls parallel to each other &, with seam sides down, connect the ends at one side. make your twist. when you run out of dough, connect the other 2 ends together
7) carefully transfer the twist to a baking sheet lined with a silpat
8) form the twist into an oval ring, folding the end pieces under
9) lightly mist top with cooking spray
10) proof for 1 1/2-2 hours or until doubled in bulk (i did not use an egg wash)
11) bake 20 minutes at 350 deg.
12) leave in pans to cool.
13) use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the tops of the cooled cakes.
14) sprinkle with sanding sugars

king cake