The beautiful Mardi Gras king cake holds a surprise inside.
The king cake is a great Mardi Gras tradition. Not only is it beautiful to look at and tastes wonderful, somewhere hidden inside is a small, plastic baby doll waiting to be found. The one who is served the slice with the doll inside is the host of the following year's party! Though, it's a good idea to warn your guests ahead of time of course, so no one inadvertently swallows or bites into the doll.
This cake is more like a rolled pastry, or coffee cake, with a sweet filling that includes crushed pecans and raisins. The colours the cake is decorated with (purple, green, and gold) are the colours of the Mardi Gras carnival. I used sanding sugar in this recipe, but the frosting itself can be tinted these colours if that is easier.
(Makes 12 servings)
1/2 cup 2% milk
1 tablespoon plant-based butter
1/4 cup warm water (~ 110°F / 45°C)
1/4 cup monk fruit sweetener (or granulated sugar)
1 package active dry yeast
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2, 1/2 cups all-purpose flour + extra for dusting
1 teaspoon avocado oil (or light vegetable oil)
1/2 cup golden brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
1/3 cup sultana raisins, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plant-based butter, melted
1 cup monk fruit baking sweetener (or confectioners' sugar)
2 tablespoons 2% milk
1 tablespoon each, purple, green, and gold sanding sugar
1 small plastic baby doll
In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the milk and heat until it is steaming, but not boiling. Remove from heat, add the butter then set aside to cool to room temperature.
In a large mixing bowl, add the warm water, a spoonful of the sweetener, along with the yeast. Stir to dissolve the yeast and sweetener then allow to proof for about 15 minutes. Once the mixture is bubbly add the cooled milk and butter mixture. Using a whisk, beat in the egg, then add the rest of the sweetener, the salt, and nutmeg. Begin sifting in the flour 1/2 cup at a time until a rough, shaggy dough develops. Sprinkle a flat worksurface with flour then turn out the dough. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth. If it still remains sticky, after several minutes, add a little more flour and continue kneading (about 10 to 12 minutes).
Clean the mixing bowl then add the oil. Grease the sides well then place the dough into the bowl, giving it a turn to coat the surface with oil. Cover the bowl with clingwrap, or a warm, damp tea towel, and set the bowl someplace warm to rise where it will remain undisturbed. Let rise until the dough is double in volume (2 hours or so).
While the dough rises, prepare the filling. In a food processor, add the ingredients in the order they are listed, then pulse until the mixture is combined and resembles coarse sand in texture. Set aside.
Prepare a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Set aside.
Sprinkle a flat worksurface lightly with flour. Punch the dough down then turn the dough out onto the floured worksurface. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it forms a rectangle about 9-inches x 16-inches. Spread the filling mixture over the dough in an even layer, then begin rolling up the dough along the longest edge. Roll it tightly until you have one long roll. Join the ends to form a ring, then transfer the ring of dough to the sheet pan. Using a bread lame, or very sharp knife, make shallow cuts about 2-inches apart all the way around the ring. Cover with a sheet of clingwrap and set in a warm place to rise until again doubled in size (about 40 to 50 minutes).
In the last 20 minutes of rising, preheat the oven to 375°F / 180°C.
Once the ring has risen, remove the clingwrap and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top is browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
As the bread cools, prepare the frosting. In a small mixing bowl, add the baking sweetener then mix in the milk. It should form a smooth and somewhat viscus mixture. Set aside.
Once the bread has cooled enough to handle, this is the time the plastic baby can be pushed into the bottom of the cake (optional).
While the cake is still warm, drizzle with the frosting, then sprinkle with the coloured sanding sugar, trying to keep the colours separate and distinguishable. Set aside until it's time to serve.
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
total calories = 220.5 | total fat = 5.65g | saturated fat = 1.36g | cholesterol = 17.5mg | sodium = 149.44mg | net carbohydrates = 55.87g | dietary fibre = 1.31g | sugars = 14.68g | protein = 4.49g