King CakeWe lived in New Orleans for over 5 years. Now that I think back it wasn't a long stay. Hurricane Katrina decided that we had stayed long enough and ushered us out the door. Some of my best memories are of the parades, food and family fun during Mardi Gras season! Here are a few of my pictures and recipes! Enjoy!
This recipe is from my guest chef, Amy! This is her Grandma's recipe for sweet yeast coffee cake. This dough is great for king cakes. Thanks Amy and Grandma Stahlke!
Grandma Stahlke's Coffee Cake Dough (click to print)
1/4 c warm water
6 T milk, scalded and cooled
4 c. flour
1 c butter, softened
3/4 c sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbs milk
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 lb cream cheese
1-2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
3 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract (opt)
3 tbs milk
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk and enough flour (about 1/2 c) to make soft dough. In another bowl combine butter, sugar, salt and eggs with mixer. Add the soft ball of yeast dough and mix thoroughly. Gradually add 2 1/2 cups of flour to make a soft dough.
Place dough in greased bowl and brush the top with butter, covering the dough with the butter. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled, about three hours.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and 1 cup of the confectioners sugar. Blend by hand or with an electric mixer on low speed.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently roll it out into a rectangle about 30 inches long and 6 inches wide.
Spread the filling lengthwise over the bottom half of the dough, then flip the top half of the dough over the filling. Seal the edges, pinching the dough together. Shape the dough into a cylinder and place it on the prepared baking sheet seam side down. Shape the dough into a ring and pinch the ends together so there isn't a seam. Insert the king cake baby or pecan half into the ring from the bottom so that it is completely hidden by the dough (the cakes you get in the stores in New Orleans have the baby on top after the cake is cooled, but the tradition is to hide the baby so the person with that piece has to make the next cake and/or host the next party).
Cover the ring with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm, draft-free place. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F.
Brush the top of the risen cake with 2 tablespoons of milk. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the icing. Combine the remaining 3 tablespoons milk, the vanilla and almond, and the remaining 3 cups confectioners sugar in medium-size mixing bowl. Stir to blend well. With a rubber spatula, spread the icing evenly over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with the sugar crystals, alternating colors (purple, green and gold) around the cake. You can also substitute lemon extract for the vanilla and almond or three tbs lemon juice if you want lemon icing instead of vanilla.
An alternate filling I plan on trying this year comes from my friend Susan Buetow (ME!!! whoohoo!), who lived in New Orleans. She says this one is the closest to the traditional "plain king cake" filling. She uses 2 cups pecans that she puts in the food processor until they become a paste,1 stick of soft butter, 1 tbsp of cinnamon, 1 tsp allspice, 2-3 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp of butter flavoring, 1/2 c sugar. Process it all together and then spread it on the dough. Lightly sprinkle cinnamon over the dough before spreading the paste as your filling.
Jambalaya- If you are wanting to make a yummy quick Jambalaya buy a package of Zatarain's New Orleans Jambalaya Mix. You can't go wrong with this kit. Follow directions on the box. I saute up 1 chopped onion, 6 garlic cloves and 6 stalks of celery, 1 green pepper and then follow the next steps. I add in Andouille sausage (Hillshire farms has a brand that works fine if you can't find it local) and skinless smoked sausage. Sometimes I'll add chicken or shrimp. When the rice is just about finished I add in a large can of Ro-Tel tomatoes. This make a great Jambalaya. Now if you want to cut down on the salt and processed box mix you can make your own.
Quick Jambalaya (click to print recipes)
1 can beef bouillon (get the one with out MSG)
1 large can Ro-tel tomatoes
4 green onions, sliced
1 lg onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, chopped/sliced
6 stalks celery, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 T. cumin
1 T. gumbo file (found in some spice aisles)
1 stick butter
1 1/2 lbs shrimp, chicken, ham and or sausages
Saute vegetables. Add in rest of ingredients and cook 30 minutes covered in a 350 degree oven. Stir after 10 min. You can also make this on the stove top.
Red Beans and Rice (click to print both recipes)
You can make the Zatarain's Red Beans and Rice. If you are wanting to make it from scratch and cut down on the sodium in the box mix I have that recipe for you, too!
Quickest Red Beans and Rice
1lb dry red kidney beans (If you can get blue runner beans these are the best to use)
2 qt. water
1 ham bone
1 bay leaf
1/4 c. rendered bacon fat or oil
1 1/2 c. chopped onions
1 c. chopped green pepper
1 c. chopped celery
3 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp creole seasoning (Love Tony Chachere's)
1 can Ro-tel tomatoes
Clean and prepare beans. Place in lg. pot. Cover with water and soak overnight or for 8 hours. Then place beans over medium heat. Add ham bone and bay leaf. Bring to a slow boil and then reduce to a simmer. Meanwhile in a large skillet, heat the rendered bacon fat or oil and add veggies. saute until soft and stir in garlic, thyme and creole seasoning. Cook for 2 minutes and add to simmering beans. Continue cooking until the beans are tender, adding more water as necessary. Remove about 1/4 c. of beans and mash them. Put back into pot. Add in tomatoes. Simmer about 10 min. and serve over steamed rice. Sometimes I add the rice to the beans and mix in. You can add andouille or smoked sausage to this too.