King Cake is a pre-Lenten cake served around Mardi Gras. Your kids will love to eat it and make it, there’s a small plastic baby hidden inside the cake. Who doesn’t want to find a small plastic baby in what they’re eating?
This is also a fun rainy day (or snow day) activity because the cake is made with yeast and needs to be rolled out. This always keeps the kids busy around here.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Meanwhile, place 2 (1/4 ounce) packages of dry active yeast in a bowl with one tablespoon of sugar and 1/2 cup of warm water. The rule is that the water should be about 110 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, test it so it’s warm to your touch, your body is 98 degrees so the water should be slightly warmer, but not hot to your touch.
Meanwhile, heat 2 cups of Greek yogurt with one stick (1/4 cup) of butter, 1/3 cup of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Heat this until the butter melts, it shouldn’t be too hot. Add the yogurt mixture to the yeast after the yeast has risen (it’s going to look really frothy). Add 2 eggs that have been beaten, slowly add up to 7 cups of flour. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Knead the dough until it looks smooth and pretty. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow it to rise for an hour or until it doubles in size.
Cut the dough in half and roll the dough out into a rectangular shape, about 22 inches by 12 inches. Smear half a stick of softened butter onto the rectangle and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Don’t forget to tuck your plastic baby in before you start rolling!! I used about a cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of cinnamon. Fold the dough over and start to roll it up as if it was cigarette. The tiny plastic baby will be hidden and some lucky person will hopefully not choke on it. Repeat this with the second piece of dough. Braid the two pieces and form into a circle. Let both pieces of dough rise until they double in size.
Once the dough has risen, about an hour, place it in the oven and bake until the dough is golden brown. This should take about half an hour.
Next, you’ll prepare the icing. Mix three cups of powdered sugar with three tablespoons of milk (I had extra heavy cream, so I used that) and two tablespoons of melted butter. Add one tablespoon of vanilla. Mix until it’s thick and smooth. I like a thicker icing, so I added some extra powdered sugar. The kids sprinkled yellow, blue, and pink sprinkles on top of the icing immediately. I wanted to add purple, but couldn’t find purple sprinkles.
Please make sure you tell people there is a small plastic baby tucked somewhere into the cake. I told my kids that whoever found the baby had to give me $50. It was worth a shot.
Check back later for the other recipes we made in our mock Mardi Gras. We had a party of ten for $68, including a fancy blood orange, bourbon drink!!