|Before posting my newest King Cake recipes (and risk scaring anyone away), |
I thought it'd be good to offer a little King Cake 101 for any new initiates.
|This is what a vegan Apple Cheezecake King Cake looks like all raring to go.|
During Carnival in NOLA, you can find this special cake at all bakeries and stacked tall at the supermarkets, but when I was living there, a vegan version was only available at the Whole Foods up on Magazine Street (made by my awesome vegan pals). These days I've read about more vegan (and even xgfx) versions popping up around the city. The more customary flavors of King Cake are lemon, apple, cream cheese, cinnamon, or a simple fruit filling. Nowadays, you can even find cupcake versions, personal sized minis, and wackier flavors by the slice like "The Elvis" (bacon, marshmallow, banana and peanut butter). Absolut makes King Cake flavored vodka, too. So, hopefully a King Cake iced King Cake paired with a King Cake Mojito and/or King Cake agar shots will appear in my near future.
King Cake is made from a rich yeasted dough, similar to a brioche or cinnamon roll dough. It's rolled out into a large rectangle, filled, formed into a coiled log then shaped into a ring and baked. Once baked, it's thickly glazed, bedazzled with purple, green and gold sprinkles (the colors of Carnival symbolizing justice, faith and power) and outfitted with a magickal baby (symbolizing Jesus), who resides inside.
Making King Cakes at home is really fun and satisfying. My favorite part is making them as crazy and over the top as possible, sharing them with friends, showing them off at parties, or peddling them at benefit bakesales. While they're not too difficult to pull off, they do require a bit of finesse and a whole lot of different parts and steps (sorta like model airplane kits). I wouldn't ever make one if I were rushed for time, and the xgfx version is even a hair trickier (gluten-free doughs can be bitchy if you're not used to them, as they're more delicate and stickier than traditional wheat doughs).
To give you an ol' project overview, a standard King Cake involves the following:
- Prepare dough, filling/s, glaze/icing, sprinkles and procure wee baby and tinfoil covered cardboard tray.
- Roll dough, fill, form, bake, insert baby, ice, decorate and transfer to tray.
- Wheat version also requires extra time set aside for dough rising.
- XGFX version requires some steps applied without breathing, so you might need to train beforehand. However, any negative effects from oxygen deprivation will surely be repaid tenfold as the gluten-free version is much faster to make than its traditional cousin. Faster to make = faster to eat.
|This is a xgfx Cinnamon Apple Creme King Cake. You must train for its completion. |
Practice tip: try changing your underwear without breathing and as you get good at this, adding socks and then other under-pinnings.
|A slice of strawberry cheezecake. NOT pastrami.|
Here's what a slice of King Cake looks like. I tried hard to find an appropriate inside shot to show off, but apparently, they're hard to come by. For some reason, the ones I have on my computer are all filled with strawberry cream cheeze, and for some other reason, strawberry cream cheeze King Cake innards look like pastrami. And, Pastrami, if you don't know, is gross.
|This perfectly balanced bean is wearing a diaper. |
All proper King Cakes contain a baby, whether made from bean, plastic or ceramics.
OK, here's the thing with babies in King Cake. The tradition goes that whomever gets the slice with the baby in it, has to bring a cake to the next party. It's just fun to see who gets it, even though no one usually follows through like they should. For friendship's sake, if you stick a baby in your cake, tell the good people. No one should chip a tooth on a wee cannelloni baby, or choke on Jesus. That's just wrong.
|Bald and newly born. Picture by Amey!|
|Be like Dazee and use leftover colored sugar on your oatmeal.|
Woo! I think that's everything you need to know to prepare yourself! Recipes forthcoming!
❤ Peanut Butter Cup King Cake (gluten edition)
❤ XGFX Peanut Butter Cup King Cake
❤ 2008 Update (contains gluten)
❤ Apple-Praline King Cake