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Mardi Gras King Cake, by John Besh
Acclaimed Louisiana chef John Besh, of New Orleans Restaurant August and several other fine-dining establishments, offers this king cake recipe for his favorite Carnival treat. Note that a "plastic baby" is tucked into the dough. Tradition dictates that whoever "finds" the baby must provide the next king cake for the group! You'll find this king cake recipe and 200 others in his book, "My New Orleans, the Cookbook."
As you knead the dough for this Mardi Gras cake, watch for it to begin to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl. If that doesn’t happen (because the moisture content in flour fluctuates with the humidity), add a spoonful or two more flour.For the cake:1 cup lukewarm milk, about 110°1/2 cup granulated sugar2 tablespoons dry yeast3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour1 cup melted butter5 egg yolks, beaten1 teaspoon vanilla extract1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon zest3 teaspoons cinnamonSeveral gratings of fresh nutmeg
For the icing:2 cups powdered sugar1/4 cup condensed milk1 teaspoon fresh lemon juicePurple, green, and gold decorative sugars1 fève (fava bean) or plastic baby to hide in the cake after bakingFor the cake:Pour the warm milk into a large bowl. Whisk in the granulated sugar, yeast, and a heaping tablespoon of the flour, mixing until both the sugar and the yeast have dissolved. Once bubbles have developed on the surface of the milk and it begins to foam, whisk in the butter, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest. Add the remaining flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg and fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with a large rubber spatula. After the dough comes together, pulling away from the sides of the bowl, shape it into a large ball. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is smooth and elastic, about 15 minutes. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a draft-free place to let it proof, or rise, for 1½ hours or until the dough has doubled in volume.more here from LouisianaTravel