King Cake sales during the Mardi Gras season are always at a record high. The taste and the skill by some of our local bakeries are something that many wait for all year! ~ABN Acadiana Business Network
If you live in Acadiana you are by no means foreign to the one of the most delicious traditions we have, the “King Cake.” We’ve all eaten them but do you know how they began? The Mardi Gras season begins on January 6, and ends on Fat Tuesday. On the Christian calendar, the 12th day after Christmas is celebrated as the date that the gift-bearing Magi visited baby Jesus in Bethlehem. This day is known as “The Kings Day” and a cake is baked in honor of the three kings called “The King Cake.” Every king cake has a small baby hidden inside representing baby Jesus and is decorated in Green representing faith, Purple representing justice, and gold representing power. The person who finds the baby traditionally, is rewarded with good luck. We all have our favorite place to buy a King Cake but if you’re feeling adventurous or want to try making this delicious confection on your own it’s quite easy! All you need is a few ingredients and a little time.
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 ½ cups warm milk (if you stick your finger into the milk and it feels warm it is a good temperature but if you have a thermometer the temperature should be 105-115 degrees F)
- ½ cup sugar plus 1 Tablespoon
- 5 Tablespoons melted butter
- 1 egg yolk + 1 whole egg
- ½ – 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
-In a large bowl dissolve the yeast in the warm milk. Stir in I Tablespoon of the ½ cup of sugar and the olive oil. Set aside until foamy. (about 10 minutes)
-Whisk the egg yolk and whole egg into the yeast mixture until well blended. Then whisk in 1 cup of flour, the rest of the ½ cup of sugar, and the salt. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in warm place for 1 hour.
-Whisk in the remaining flour ½ cup at a time, switching to a wooden spoon when necessary until it is too stiff to stir. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth (about 5 minutes) adding flour 1 tablespoon at a time as necessary if the dough is sticky.
-Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn the dough to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest in a warm spot to double in size. About 1 hour.
-After the dough has doubled in size divide it into three equal portions. Using your hands roll the dough into ropes about 1 inch in diameter. Next coat the “ropes” in sugar and cinnamon mixture.
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ tablespoon ground cinnamon
-After the ropes are coated connect them at one end and braid the dough and form it into an oval ring. Then place the ring onto a sheet pan and let rise one more time in a warm place for one hour. -Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and bake until golden (about 20-30 minutes)
4 cups confectioners sugar
6 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
-After the cake is baked push the plastic baby into the cake from the bottom.
– mix the confectioners sugar and water together to make the icing. Ice the cake while it is still slightly warm. To ice the cake, pour the icing directly onto the cake. It should spread nicely from the residual heat from the cake.
-If you want to decorate the cake you can make another batch of icing, separate it into three parts and color it with food coloring, then drizzle the colored icing over the white or while the white icing is still wet you can sprinkle with colored sugar.
It does take a little time to make a King Cake but it is definitely worth it in the end! But if you don’t have the time here are our local businesses that provide fresh and delicious King Cakes for your convenience.
Poupart Bakery Inc.
1902 West Pinhook Rd.
Lafayette, LA 70508
Keller’s Bakery Downtown
1012 Jefferson St.
Lafayette, LA 70501
(337) 235-8817 fax
Meche’s Donut King
-205 Rue Louis Xiv
Lafayette, LA 70508
-219 St. Nazaire Rd.
Broussard, LA 70518
-402 Guilbeau Rd.
3802 Johnston St.
*The local businesses below are added because they are traditional King Cake locations for the people of Acadiana. They were added by the writer because the writer is a professional chef, and also recommends them as her opinion.