Mardi Gras is next Tuesday, February 12th. If you don't live in New Orleans and if you're not Catholic, this probably isn't a big deal to you. It never has been to me, and, truthfully, until a couple of years ago, I didn't really know what it was all about. Now I do. I also now know it's sometimes called Shrove Tuesday. And Pancake Tuesday. Which, maybe should be every Tuesday.
It's an interesting thing, making a version of something that you've never seen or tasted. But I wanted to try more holiday/ritual-specific and traditional baked goods this year, so. I used one of Emeril's recipes (there are multiple). The reviews were pretty fair and it seemed to have all of the components that my expert friends suggested an "authentic" King Cake should have (oh, incidentally, here is information about King Cake and what it has to do with Mardi Gras). And it was not difficult at all. Of course, yeast breads always take some time, but over the course of an evening, it's not bad.
I love working with sweet bread dough. It's so beautiful and the smell is so homey.
I don't have large empty coffee cans or shortening cans sitting around my house, so I used a large bowl to mold the center of the ring.
Which was HUGE. Much larger than I expected. And then the bowl was hard to remove. But, that was probably the hardest part of this project.
And look how pretty! Such a gorgeous, golden brown. And the lemon zest and nutmeg made for amazing smells while it was baking.
There were user comments on the recipe about the filling not being sufficient, but for me this was perfect. If I had doubled it, I think it might have been too rich and too sweet. I also decided to make the glaze a little thin, so it was just a glue for the colored sugars, rather than being a thick sweet icing on top of what is already a little sweet. The bread itself has a delicious flavor, I love the lemon zest, but the texture wasn't what I hoped for. It was a little dense, not as tender as I think it should have been. I might have kneaded it just a little too long.
Next year, I think I'll halve the recipe entirely and make a smaller cake. It's bigger than any of my serving dishes, so it's just sitting on parchment paper on my counter. Mmm...not attractive.
P.S. Plastic babies are not super easy to find. Check the baby shower section of your local party store.
TGIP Rating--King Cake--A surprisingly yummy treat. More of a breakfast pastry than a cake, if you ask me. But, there's NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.
Next up: Lacy Panty Cakes. I KNOW. What could be wrong with a recipe with that name?! Nothing. The recipe is from Baked Elements and is next week's project on Baked Sunday Mornings, which I haven't participated in for ages. I'm making them for Pancake Tuesday.