King Cake is traditionally made during the span of two liturgical seasons, Christmastime and Ordinary time. Although some will just make it for the feast of the Epiphany (Christmastime), others will make it for Mardi Gras (Ordinary Time). The Epiphany of the Lord is a special day to serve this because it is the day that we celebrate the three Kings, or Magi, finding the Christ child by following the star. The custom goes that the host who is providing the cake will hide a small baby Jesus inside and whoever gets the piece of cake with the baby will have to host the Epiphany party next year. Some do it where the receiver of the baby will have to host the upcoming Mardi Gras party. I've heard it both ways! Whatever feast day you are hosting on, just let your guests know that if they get the baby, they have to host next year's festivities.
If you are in need of a beautiful fève nativity with a baby Jesus to put in your cake I have this one. It is bake and wash safe, just don't swallow it! Line the rest of the nativity around your cake like this. Note: This is not the King Cake but wanted to show you to help you visualize the arrangement.
“The name “king cake” comes from the Biblical story of the three kings who bring gifts to Baby Jesus. A blend of coffee cake and cinnamon roll, king cake is usually iced in yellow, green and purple – the colors of Mardi Gras — and is frequently packed with fruit fillings and decadent cream cheeses. Hidden within these season sweets also lie a special surprise: a plastic king cake baby to continue the fun.”
Growing up in the South, especially so close to Louisiana, this was a very common thing for us to make or buy during this season. I was initially intimidated to make this myself, but after some practice it has really become something that I look forward to. Get ready to get lots of compliments on this, last year I made two and was barely able to save myself a piece. Not trying to pat myself on the back, but could you help me push my arm back a little further? 😉😂
Joking aside, it's very good and goes well with a nice warm cup of coffee. Put your apron on, let's bake.
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Bake Time: 22-25 minutes
Rise Time: 3 hours
Yields: 16-18 servings per cake
Note: This recipe makes TWO King Cakes, I usually make two so that I can keep one for my family, and give one away. Perfect to put in the lounge at work, drop off at a friend's house, or bring to a party.
5 1/2 cups flour
1 package rapid rise yeast
1/2 cup water (100-110 degrees)
1/4 cup salted butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
2 large eggs
2 tbsps vanilla extract
1 cup milk
Cinnamon Filling Ingredients
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsps cinnamon
4 tbsps butter, melted
1 tsp nutmeg
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tbsps milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp butter, melted
Gold, purple, and green sprinkles
Plastic or porcelain baby Jesus