These past days? Just foreplay…

I’ve been posting away today. This last one is for sweet Belle. And all of us.Armchagall_marcmadonnaof_1

The King Cake is a traditional Epiphany treat, baked and covered with a poured sugar topping in Epiphany colors; Purple, representing Justice, Green representing Faith and Gold representing Power. Traditionally, the person who finds the hidden "baby" in his or her slice of cake must provide the cake the next year.

This recipe has a lot of steps but none of them are difficult. And all things truly good require effort and patience.

Ingredients

1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
31/2 41/2 cups unsifted flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup warm milk
5 egg yolks
1 stick butter cut in slices and softened, plus 2 tablespoons more
1 egg slightly beaten with a tablespoon of milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tiny plastic doll (not more than 1")

Directions

Pour the warm water into a small shallow bowl and sprinkle yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar into it. Allow the yeast and sugar to rest for three minutes, then mix thoroughly. Set bowl in a warm place for 10 minutes until yeast bubbles up. Combine 31/2 cups of flour, remaining sugar, nutmeg and salt and sift into a large mixing bowl.

Stir in lemon zest. Separate center of mixture to form a hole and pour in yeast mixture and milk. Add egg yolks and using a wooden spoon, combine dry ingredients into the yeast/milk mixture. When mixture is smooth, beat in 8 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon at a time and continue to beat 2 minutes or until dough can be formed into a medium soft ball.

Place ball of dough on floured surface and knead, gradually adding up to 1 cup more of flour. When dough is no longer sticky, knead 10 minutes more until shiny and elastic.

Using a pastry brush, coat the inside of a large bowl evenly with one tablespoon softened butter. Place dough ball in the bowl and rotate until the entire surface is buttered. Cover bowl with a heavier kitchen towel and allow dough to rise in a warm place for about 11/2 hours or until it doubles in volume. Coat a large baking sheet with one tablespoon of butter and set aside. After the first rising, place the dough on a floured surface and punch it down with a heavy blow. Sprinkle cinnamon, then pat and shape the dough into a long ‘snake’ or ‘cylinder’. Form a twist by folding the long cylinder in half, end to end, and pinching the ends together. Then twist the dough. Form a ring with the completed twist pinch the ends together. Place the completed ring on the buttered baking sheet, cover it with a towel and allow it to rise for 45 minutes or until it doubles in volume.

After the second rising, brush the top and sides of the cake with the egg and milk wash. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and hide the plastic baby in the cake.

Icing (2 parts)

Colored sugar
Green, purple and yellow coloring paste (sold with cake decorating supplies)
12 tablespoons sugar
Divide sugar into three portions (for green, yellow and purple).
Add a tiny amount of the coloring paste to each sugar portion. Try mixing the sugar and colored pasted between your palms for best results. Set aside.

Poured icing
3/4 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
36 tablespoons of water

Combine ingredients until smooth, adding more water if it’s too thick. Spoon icing over top of cake. Immediately sprinkle on colored sugars, alternating between the three colors. Serve in 2"3" pieces.


8 responses to “These past days? Just foreplay…

  1. Foreplay, Chagall’s “Madonna of the Village, and King Cake – These are a few of my favorite things! When the blog barks…

    Thank you for welcoming me back so warmly, Vicki! I tried to stay away. Really, I did!

  2. If I am not badly mistaken, that painting is at our art museum here in Raleigh. I do know I have seen that in person somewhere.

  3. I can usually get a brave student or two to make a King’s Cake for Mardi Gras. (lots of extra credit) I enjoy that almost as much as the masks they make and the parade I have them do. It’s also fun to eat the other Cajun treats.

  4. Vicki – lovely post. between you and Bonnie, I have been exposed to so much beautiful art and music. Thank you both.

    Bonnie — my heart leaps in gladness!

  5. Wow. Yum. But too complex for box cake Mama.

    Beautiful art, V.

  6. Wow. Yum. But too complex for box cake Mama.

    Beautiful art, V.

  7. This is beautiful. If I can find a picture of my favorite painting online I’d love to post it. I love Carivaggio and Lippi, even more than the more well known Rembrant and Botticelli.

  8. You may have lost me at the word yeast but I’ll read it again tomorrow. It’s after midnight and nothing is making much sense. I’d gotten behind on reading blogs, my blog roll is more or less alphabetical, so you know by the time I got this far you could have been writing in Sanskrit.

    Cheers

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