Subtly spiced sweet bread dough baked around a rich almond cream filling is what sets this king cake recipe apart from the rest. This is a truly gourmet way to celebrate Mardi Gras!
Yield: 12 slices cake
- King cake:
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk, warmed to 100F
- 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 egg yolk (reserve the white for egg wash)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup instant dry milk powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- Almond cream filling:
- 1/2 cup ground almond meal
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour1 plastic baby figurine or dried bean (optional)
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons milk
- Yellow, green, and purple dusting sugar
How to make king cake with almond filling:
To make the dough, sprinkle the yeast over 3 tablespoons of the warm milk and allow it to dissolve for 5 minutes. Add the remaining milk, along with the butter, whole eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla extract to the yeast mixture. Gently beat the wet ingredients until they are smooth; add the flour, sugar, dry milk, salt, cinnamon, and allspice and stir until the dough becomes stiff. Knead the dough for 3 minutes, place it in an oiled bowl, and allow it to rise, covered in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour.
Make the almond cream filling while the dough is rising. Using a food processor, combine 1/2 cup ground almond meal, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 egg, 3 tablespoons softened butter, 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour until a smooth, creamy paste is formed.
Shape the dough into a large rectangle, about 2 feet long, by 6 inches wide. Spoon the almond filling down the center of the dough, place a bean or plastic baby in the filling, if desired, and working methodically from one end to the other, pinch the dough shut to form a log. Pinch the ends together to form a large circle. Gently place the circle on a parchment-lined baking sheet and allow it to rise, covered, in a warm, draft-free place for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until it is noticeably puffed up.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Make an egg wash by mixing the reserved egg white with 1 tablespoon of water. Gently brush the king cake with the egg wash and bake it for 30 minutes. Lightly cover the cake with foil to prevent overbrowning and continue baking it for an additional 20 minutes. Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.
Prepare the frosting by mixing together the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and milk until the frosting is completely smooth and silky. Drizzle it evenly over the cooled cake. While the frosting is still moist on top, sprinkle the colored sugars in an alternating pattern directly onto the frosting so it sticks.
This king cake recipe makes 12 servings.