With apologies to John Lee Hooker, The Doors, and others, this is the line that runs through my mind when I think of King Cakes:
Well, I’m the Crawlin’ King Snake / And I rule my den / I’m the Crawlin’ King Snake / And I rule my den…
I was humming it to myself Sunday night while baked my first-ever homemade King Cake. I knew Mardi Gras wasn’t until Tuesday, but I’m far more likely to bake on a weekend than a work night. Here’s my experience:
The project started with a trip to the grocery store to buy ingredients. There’s nothing fancy in the King Cake recipe I used, but I didn’t have everything I needed, like flour. (I used up the last of my flour in my attempts to get a decent loaf of Salt-Rising Bread. Success has remained elusive!)
I combined butter, sour cream, sugar, and salt and stirred over medium heat until butter melted, then set it aside (in the top rack of my dishwasher, which acts as an auxilliary countertop at times) to cool sightly.
Yeast was next: very warm water + yeast + sugar makes the yeast get bubbly, like these pictures:
Then I combined happy yeast, eggs, and butter mixture in large bowl (I used my stand mixer) and continued following directions* until dough was smooth and elastic. I put it in a warm oven and allowed it to rise until doubled.
More apologies–in all the dough-rising excitement, I forgot to take pictures of the rolling-into-a-rectangle-and-brushing-with-butter-and-cinnamon-and-sugar stage of the process. After rolling & brushing, you coil the dough up from the long side (like a jelly roll) and shape it into a circle. It rises again, you bake it, and then drench it with a confectioner sugar icing.
Last, but not least, I was inspired by Short Street Cakes to decorate my King Cake with Mardi Gras beads (purple, green, and gold) rather than the usual colored icing/colored sugar, which is not that attractive (to me) and causes one to develop a dark and sinister “candy-tongue” if you eat much of it (purple, green, and gold = muckledun).
And then I took it to work…