Mardi Gras King Cake Recipe
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 (.25 ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees F.)
6-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup white sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
Colored Frostings (see below)
Colored Sugars (see below)
Dried pea, bean, or 1-inch tall plastic or ceramic baby (optional, see Note)
3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 drops green food color
2 drops yellow food coloring
2 drops blue food coloring
2 drops red food color
1-1/2 cups white sugar
Cook butter or margarine, sour cream, sugar, and salt in a saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts. Cool mixture to 100 degrees to 110 degrees F.
Dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add butter mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until smooth. Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
Stir together 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon; set aside.
Punch dough down; divide in half. Turn 1 portion out onto a lightly floured surface; roll to a 28- x 10-inch rectangle. Spread half each of cinnamon mixture and softened butter on dough. Roll dough, jellyroll fashion, starting at long side. Place dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bring ends together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal. Repeat with remaining dough, cinnamon mixture, and butter.
Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 20 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Bake at 375 degrees F. for 15 minutes or until golden. Decorate with bands of Colored Frostings, and sprinkle with Colored Sugars.
Stir together powdered sugar and melted butter. Add milk to reach desired consistency for drizzling; stir in vanilla. Divide frosting into 3 batches, tinting 1 green, 1 yellow, and combining red and blue food coloring for purple frosting.
Place 1/2 cup sugar and drop of green food coloring in a jar or zip-top plastic bag; seal. Shake vigorously to evenly mix color with sugar. Repeat procedure with 1/2 cup sugar and yellow food coloring. For purple, combine 1 drop red and 1 drop blue food coloring before adding to remaining 1/2 cup sugar.
Note: Traditionally, a dried pea or bean or a plastic or ceramic baby figure less than 1 inch tall is inserted in the cake for the Mardi Gras celebration. When the cake is cut, the person finding the token is said to be blessed with good luck throughout the following year. In some families, the lucky person is also designated to make the king cake for the next Mardi Gras or host the next Mardi Gras party. If using a heat-proof baby token, it can be inserted into the cake before baking. If using plastic, insert the token into the cake after it has cooled and before frosting. This cake is also known as Twelfth Night Cake