12 Days of Christmas Baking- Pastry Edition Day 11: King Cake

Photo: K.Henriques

Before I begin talking about the recipe I feel like I should give a disclaimer. Apparently you’re not supposed to eat king cake before Epiphany (Jan 6) because it’ll bring you bad luck. I’m not superstitious so I figured a little earlier wouldn’t hurt….

I’ve made a king cake twice before. The first time I tried a gluten-free version that didn’t turn out great, and then I tried this version a few years ago. I was initially intrigued by this recipe because it’s America’s Test Kitchen and I usually have good experiences with their stuff. Plus, I liked they used a Bundt pan to make the ring because mine always look kind of sad. This recipe is actually pretty easy in that you mix everything together, let it knead in a stand mixer for about ten minutes and then you leave it to rise for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Once that’s done you mix the filling together (pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon) and then roll the dough out to the correct size and put the filling in the middle like you would for cinnamon rolls. Then you roll it up and put it into the Bundt pan and honestly that was the hardest part. Once it’s cooled then you put the glaze on and sprinkle mardi gras colored sanding sugar on top.

This tasted good, but I should have rolled my dough a little tighter because the swirl on the inside wasn’t as pronounced as I would have like. A lot of the filling mixture was just in the middle rather than throughout. It was definitely breadier (I’m just making up words now….) than a standard king cake, but it was good. Maybe not the iconic king cake you think of when you’re craving one, but it was certainly a great backup option. It’s also the prettiest king cake I’ve ever made too!

Baking Ease10
Time Spent8

Recipe Used: The Perfect Cake p. 281

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