How to Make a Mardi Gras King Cake

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The Mardi Gras king cake is a tradition many people use to celebrate the time between Christmas and Mardi Gras. Some families will make one cake a week and others may make only one cake for the Mardi Gras party. Whoever gets the trinket in the cake becomes the king (or queen) of the party and must make the cake for the next party.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring spoons
  • Knife to spread icing
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • Egg wash:
  • 1 tbsp. milk
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • Cake:
  • 6 mixing bowls (2 large, 1 medium, 3 small)
  • Wire cooling rack
  • 3 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 5 tbsp. water
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • Oven
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • Measuring cup
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Icing:
  • Food coloring in green (represents faith), purple (represents justice) and gold (represents power)
  • Electric mixer
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • Cookie sheet
  • 2 tbsp. yeast

Choose the Trinket for Your Mardi Gras King Cake

  • Choose the traditional bean used in various king cakes before more recent times made other trinkets available.

  • Purchase the ever-popular small plastic baby doll to use as the trinket hidden away in your king cake for the lucky person to find.

  • Buy the latest trend for the Mardi Gras king cake trinket: a small plastic king doll.

Make a Mardi Gras King Cake

  • Get out a small, shallow mixing bowl and add the warm water to the bowl. Add the yeast and 2 tsp. sugar to the water by sprinkling the ingredients and let it rest for 4 minutes.

  • Mix the yeast, water and sugar and place in a warm area in your kitchen free from any air movement and allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes.

  • Butter a bowl by rubbing butter (use a non-stick butter spray to make it easy) on the bottom and sides of the bowl. The bowl needs to be large enough to hold your dough and must have a cover.

  • Set out a large mixing bowl and mix together 3 1/2 cups flour, nutmeg, salt, zest of lemon and 1/2 cup sugar.

  • Use a mixer bowl with your electric mixer to combine the milk, egg yolks and yeast. Add other dry ingredients slowly in this bowl. Add softened butter and flour as needed to create a medium-soft ball.

  • Knead the dough by forming a ball with the dough, pressing it with your palms, stretching, pulling, twisting and otherwise working the dough with your hands for 10 minutes.

  • Set the dough aside in a warm draft free place in the covered bowl you buttered. Let the dough rise for 1 1/2 hours.

  • Butter a cookie sheet or other baking sheet.

  • Form the dough into the shape of a big cylinder after the rising time pases. Twist the cylinder over several times and form the dough into a ring. Cover the dough and set it aside for 45 minutes.

  • Make the egg wash by combining 1 beaten egg with 1 tbsp. of milk.

  • Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F.

  • Brush all of the dough (top and sides) with the egg wash.

  • Bake the bread dough until golden brown, approximately 25 to 35 minutes.

  • Cool the Mardi Gras king cake on a wire rack.

  • Make a small cut in the cake and insert the trinket of your choice.

Make the Icing for the Mardi Gras King Cake

  • Mix together the lemon juice, water and sugar until a smooth icing texture is created.

  • Divide the icing into three even amounts in small mixing bowls. Stir in food coloring drops to create gold, green and purple icing.

  • Make your own colorful pattern by alternating the colored icing as you spread the icing on the cake.

  • Sprinkle additional sugar onto the cake. You can use colored sugar to add even more color to the cake.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure you let the bread rise fully before going on to the next steps in preparation or your cake will not rise to the occasion.

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