Mardi Gras King Cake
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 6 envelopes (3 tablespoons) instant yeast
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 4 1/2 cups bread flour*
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 cup Dixie Crystals Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, soft
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 cup firmly packed Dixie Crystals Light Brown Sugar
- 3 tablespoons cinnamon
- 2 cups pecan pieces
- 1 1/4 cups Dixie Crystals Confectioners Powdered Sugar
- 1 tablespoon water or bourbon
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
*Spoon & Sweep method: Use a spoon to fill measuring cup with flour until required amount is obtained. Scooping measuring cup directly into flour bag will firmly pack flour resulting in too much flour required for recipe.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Bring milk to a boil and remove from heat. Allow milk to cool to room temperature (72°F). If desired set milk in freezer to speed cooling process. Place eggs (still in shell) in a bowl of warm-hot tap water and set aside for 10 minutes.
- Crack eggs into room temperature milk and add vanilla and yeast. Stir to combine. Add honey and pour into a bowl of a stand mixer.
- Add flour, salt and sugar and mix on low to medium speed using dough hook. Scrape bowl often during the mixing process. Mix for 6 minutes on low-medium speed.
- Gradually add butter in 1-2 tablespoon(s) increments waiting for previously added amount to be fully incorporated. The total mixing time will take approximately 10 minutes or until dough cleans away from sides of bowl.
- Cover with plastic food wrap and place bowl in a warm place and allow resting until double in size, approximately 1 hour.
- Meanwhile make filling: Melt butter and remove from heat. Whisk in brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. If needed filling can be heated briefly in a microwave oven to soften.
- When dough has doubled, remove from mixing bowl and press evenly flat. Fold all sides towards center and place dough on a lightly floured surface.
- Divide dough to obtain two equal pieces.
- On a lightly floured surface roll first dough into a rectangle measuring 24 inches in length and 12 inches width.
- Spread half of cinnamon mixture onto dough followed by half of pecans.
- Roll dough into a tube starting from bottom edge towards top edge.
- Form into a ring and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet with seam hidden underneath. Connect ends and overlap dough to hide seam and ensure a good connection.
- Repeat with other piece of dough. Brush each loaf with beaten egg or some melted butter and cover with plastic food wrap. Place in a warm place and allow to rest until they have gained 60-70% in volume.
- Remove plastic food wrap and brush very gently with beaten egg. Place in oven and bake for approximately 37-42 minutes or until well browned. (If loaves get too dark cover with aluminum foil.)
- Meanwhile make glaze: Combine all ingredients and whisk smooth. The glaze can be gently heated in a microwave oven.
- To make colored sugar: For each individual color (green, purple and yellow) use 3-4 tablespoons of granulated sugar. Add a few drops of the specific color to sugar and rub well between your hands (use gloves to prevent your hands from being stained). Set aside.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Combine ingredients for icing and if too stiff place briefly in microwave oven.
- Brush each King Cake with an even layer of icing and sprinkle with colored sugar.