January 5, 2022

Mardi Gras King Cake


 January 6 marks Epiphany (sometimes called Three King's Day) in the Catholic faith.   When I was a student living in Dijon I came to learn that the French celebrate this holiday by enjoying galette des rois throughout the month.   Because I've already made that puff pastry and frangipane treat before I wanted to try my luck at making this Mardi Gras King Cake from Murmurs of Ricotta's blog.  This year Mardi Gras falls on March 1st, but King Cake can be enjoyed starting at Epiphany.


Although I've never visited Louisiana or New Orleans before (it's on my list!) I have actually tasted a traditional NOLA king cake before.  A former co-worker of mine grew up in Louisiana and her mom used to send her a king cake every year.   The "cake" is actually an enriched bread, filled with cinnamon and frosted and decorated with purple, gold and green sprinkles.  I think it tastes similar to a cinnamon roll.   What intrigued me about this recipe in particular was the claim that it was soft and fluffy and inspired by the in-demand cakes sold at Dong Phuong, a popular Vietnamese French bakery in New Orleans East.
The enriched dough couldn't be easier to make, but it does require some patience, as it needs to proof in the fridge at least overnight.  When forming the king cake be sure to roll out the dough evenly, otherwise you'll end up with a plump middle section and skinny ends, like I did.  My King Cake really lived up to the fat moniker of Mardi "Gras".  Still tasted great though!  Just as the blog described, the brioche-bread was soft and fluffy, and quite delicious.   
The hardest part was waiting for the cake to cool completely before frosting it with the brown butter cream cheese frosting.  A final flourish of Mardi Gras colored sprinkles and the King Cake was complete.  NOTE: For some reason my purple non-pareils look more indigo in these pictures, but I can assure you they are purple!


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