This is my very very favorite King Cake recipe. I've made it for several years and it's always a huge hit. It's a great combination of buttery pastry, creamy fruit filling, and just enough sugar to be a dessert but not so sugary that it's overwhelming.
Bill Hamilton’s King Cake with Cream Cheese and Fruit Filling
Makes 2 cakes
Basic King Cake dough
½ cup milk
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
¼ cup warm water
1 envelope dry yeast
½ cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
4 cups, approximately, unbleached flour
Heat milk and stir in butter and sugar. Pour into a large bowl. Mixture should be lukewarm. Beat in the egg yolks and whole eggs.
Mix yeast with warm water. Stir 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon flour into the yeast. Set aside. By the time you have measured the other ingredients, the yeast should be beginning to bubble and show signs of life. Add it to the milk mixture.
Beat in approximately 2 cups flour until the dough is fairly smooth. Then, gradually add enough additional flour to make a soft dough that you can form into a ball. Knead it, by hand or machine, until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a bowl, put the dough in it and turn it once or twice to grease it lightly all over. Cover with a cloth and leave to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 ½ to 2 hours.Pat the dough down and cover the bowl with a damp towel, plastic film over that and refrigerate until the next day.
(This recipe makes enough dough for two cakes. Extra dough may be frozen, or make two cakes and freeze one, but do not ice the cake before freezing. Thaw the cooked cake and reheat for 10 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Cool, then ice.)
(for one cake)
16-ounce can cherry, apple or apricot pie filling
8 ounces cream cheese
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 plastic baby
Remove dough from refrigerator and with well-floured hands, while it is firm and cold, shape it into a long sausage shape. Using a floured roller on a floured surface, roll out the dough into a 30-by-9 inch rectangle as thin as a pie crust. Let dough rest.
If necessary, drain extra juice from pie filling. Mix the cream cheese with the sugar, flour, egg yolks and vanilla. Spoon a 1-inch wide strip of fruit filling the length of the dough, about 3 inches from one edge. Spoon the cream cheese mixture alongside the fruit, about 3 inches from the other edge. Brush both sides of dough with egg wash.
Fold one edge of dough over the cream cheese and fruit, then fold the other edge over. Gently place one end of the filled roll onto a greased pizza pan or large cookie sheet. Ease the rest of the roll onto the pan, joining the ends to form a circle or oval. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until cake is well-risen and golden. Cool before inserting a plastic baby into the bottom of the cake and before icing.
(enough for one cake)
½ teaspoon almond flavoring
Granulated sugar tinted green, yellow and purple or mardi gras sprinkles
Mix confectioner’s sugar with almond flavoring and enough water to make a spreadable paste. Spread on top of the cooled cake. Sprinkle with tinted sugar.
Glenna's notes: I will say that I'm not sure what happened but I ended up having to use 6 cups of flour instead of 4 to get to a dough that was minimally stiff enough to work with. It was a soft buttery pastry-type dough rather than a bread-type dough.
When I baked it, I didn't divide it into two but probably will next time. I made one huge cake, baking it an extra 20 minutes, and it came out lovely but I like the idea of making two at once and giving one to friends.