It’s almost Mardi Gras!!! Do you have your mask and beads ready?
With Fat Tuesday just a few days away, this weekend, to commemorate “Carnaval” (as it is called throughout most of the world), I am posting some Mardi Gras inspired recipes, in honor of 1 of the most famous carnival parties in the world (next year, maybe I’ll focus on Rio de Janeiro’s carnival)…
In Southern Europe, Carnival season means the kids get to dress up for school and enjoy a few days off at home (in Spain, the tradition is to go skiing during those holidays).
At my kid’s school, a theme is set and the whole school gathers to celebrate with a parade, themed costumes and a party (it is great!!).
The theme, this year, was “Celebrating literacy through fairytales”. So, each grade was assigned a book (from 6mth-old daycare kids to the grade 6) and the high school provided the decor, the music, the dancing…. (yes, the school goes from 6mths old to 18year old students).
Madison’s grade was Snow White, Shawna’s was Beauty and the Beast… Evelyn is not yet in school nor daycare, but in our family, the first costume you get has to be an embarrassing one – so, she was an Octopus (i know… I’m a cruel mom) hehehe!
While doing Mardi Gras research for my cooking class, I found some great resources for those of you interested in re-creating Mardi Gras in your home.
Learn to speak N’awrlins : http://www.experienceneworleans.com/glossary.html This site also features lots of great info on New Orleans.
Or how about chefing it up like the local greats: http://www.foodandwine.com (my own recipes not yet featured in that list 😛 )
Seriously, though, below, find my recipe for King’s cake. It is the combination of various recipes I found online with my own little twist added to it. If you like it, let me know… I love to get feedback.
But before the recipe… one more photo: Me! at my course… dressed up and ready to show off Mardi Gras to my spanish students.
Mardi Gras King’s Cake – chefcarla.com
a delicious cake with loads of flavour and aromas, this version cuts down on the time so that you can have it ready to eat in under 2 hours. This recipe yields 2 King’s Cakes (32 servings).
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
2 packages active dry yeast ( .25 ounce)
2/3 cup warm water ( 45 C or 110F)
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
5 1/2 cups all–purpose flour
1 1/2 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup bourbon
3– 5 tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice
2 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 2/3 cup ground or finely chopped pecans,
3 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 teaspoons grated orange zest
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cup icing sugar
2– 3 tablespoon warm water
Sugar Sprinkles (Purple, Green Yellow)
- Pre-heat oven to 100C
- In a saucepan,
- Scald milk, remove from heat and stir in butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature (about 15 mins). In the meantime, In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 2 tablespoons of the white sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl whisk eggs, remaining white sugar, salt, and nutmeg.
- Once ready, add in the milk mixture and the yeast mixture. Whisk all together until well blended.
- Change from the whisk attachment to the dough hook and add in the flour, one cup at a time and blending well between each addition.
- Once all the flour has been added, you will have to keep blending for 5-10 mins or until the dough makes a flapping sound and no longer sticks to the walls of the bowls (Or your finger)
- At this point, lightly flour your counter, and knead the dough with the palm of your hand until the dough feels dryer to the touch and looks smooth. (If you’ve been using a KitchenAid-like machine, you will only need to knead approximately 2-3 mins. If using a handheld mixer, you’ll need 10 mins of kneading).
- Lightly grease (using PAM or Wilton’s Bake Easy) a pyrex or stainless steel bowl and place the dough (shaped into a ball) covered with plastic film (Make sure you’ve greased the top of the dough as well and that the film is loosely set a flush with the dough, allowing it room to expand).
- Place the bowl in the oven and turn off the oven. Let rise for 45 mins or until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, in a pot, heat bourbon, orange juice and sultanas until plump (5 mins). Turn off heat and add in all the other ingredients from the FIlling list. Mix well and set aside until ready to use.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, take it out of the oven, reheat the oven to 100C and separate the dough in 2 parts (each part should weigh 760gr).
- Roll out on lightly floured surface or wax paper in a rectangular shape. Should be just a bit wider and longer than an A4 sheet of paper (21x30cms, so roll it out to 30x40cms)
- Spoon and spread the filling all over over the rolled out dough ensuring to leave a 3cm-border all around, free of filling
- Start roll the dough at the wide side, tightly, all the way until the end. Brush the far border with a little water to dampen and finish rolling the dough. Seal well and tightly. Roll over to ensure seam is on bottom. Shape the roll into a ring shape and seal ends together.
- With scissors or a knife, make incisions on the top side of the ring (should make deep grooves). Each incision should be 5-7 cms apart. This will give the cake a crown-like shape once baked.
- Place the ring on a wax paper or silicone mat and slide it onto a cookie sheet (baking sheet).
- Place in the warm oven and leave to rise for 20mins again.
- Remove from oven, re-heat oven to 180C and bake ring for 30mins on a lower rack of the oven.
- Once done, and while still hot, mix 2 cups of icing sugar with 2-3 tablespoons of warm water and whisk the two together until you get a nice sweet white syrup (you may need a little extra water). Pour over the still warmed cake and quickly sprinkle with Purple, Green and Gold sugar sprinkles. (the sugar syrup will dry and harden quickly so you’ll need to work fast! Very Fast!!)
- Drizzle one last thin string of sugar syrup over the sprinkles to decorate.
- REMEMBER: a plastic baby should be placed in the cake… I don’t like the idea of plastic heating up in my cake…, i put in a slice of orange peel. Whoever gets it must make (or buy) next year’s cake!
- Nutritional value has been calculated on 16 servings (one cake). Therefore, the Nutritional value is incorrect (it shows twice as high as reality).
- Depending on where you live, the flour you use may be more or less strong. In Spain, the regular flour is very week so I replace 1 cup of regular flour with 1 cup of extra strength flour.
- If your seem is not properly sealed, the caramel filling will seep out… it won’t smell very nice, but it doesn’t affect the cake much.