I can't even tell you the last time we had king cake, but it was probably Mardi Gras 2004. So I may be wrong when I say this was every but as good (better, I dare say) than I remember it, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it. I picked this recipe since all the recipes that were well rated were all...this recipe!
This is definitely one of those recipes where I was grateful to my husband for lying. The cream cheese filling partially spilled out (darn my improper seal), and B asserted that every king cake he ever had the cream cheese filling was partially gushing out of the cake. There's a reason we're still married. : )
lundi gras edits: I fixed the cream cheese filling for you guys. I added orange zest and lemon zest to the dough, and vanilla. Yum!!
Adapted from Southern Living
1 (16-ounce) container sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 orange, zested aand zest only used
1 lemon, zested and zest only used
2 (1/4-ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 to 6 1/2 cups bread flour
1/3 cup butter, softened
Purple-, green-, and gold-tinted sparkling sugar sprinkles
Cook first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts. Set aside, and cool mixture to 100° to 110°.
Stir together yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a 1-cup glass measuring cup; let stand about 5-7 minutes.
Beat sour cream mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, orange and lemon zests, vanilla, and 2 cups flour at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until smooth. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add enough remaining flour (4 to 4 1/2 cups) until a soft dough forms.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic with dough hook (about 10 minutes). Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top.
Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until dough is doubled in bulk, roughly.
Punch down dough, and divide in half. Roll each portion into a 22- x 12-inch rectangle.
Add the cream cheese filling, spreading around, but leaving 2 inches of bare dough.
Take each dough rectangle, at long sides, and join the two long sides together. join it into a circle. You will have to pinch the seam to keep the cream cheese filling from spilling it out. Place one dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Put a mason jar, lightly sprayed with cooking spray, in the center to keep the hole open.
Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Bake at 375° for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden. Slightly cool cakes on pans on wire racks (about 10 minutes). Drizzle Creamy Glaze evenly over warm cakes; sprinkle with colored sugars, alternating colors and forming bands. Let cool completely.
3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 4 tablespoons milk
Stir together first 4 ingredients. Stir in 2 tablespoons milk, adding additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until spreading consistency.
Cream Cheese Filling
adapted from Ina Garten
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
beans scraped from one vanilla bean
beans scraped from one vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer (fitted with a paddle attachment) and cream them together on low-medium speed until smooth. With the mixer on low, add the egg yolks, vanilla, vanilla beans seeds, salt, and lemon zest and mix until just combined. Don't whip it.
Sprinkle with colored sugars. To make these, take some coarse sugar, and combine them with a few drops of each color (purple, green, and gold, baby!!!), then put on your king cakes.