Sunday, January 27, 2008

Just in time for Mardi Gras - King Cake!

My dear husband grew up in Slidell, Louisiana, so the question is not whether or not we will have king cake at this time of year. It's more a question of how many, what kind, and where we will get them from. Thanks to my lovely friend Erica, I was armed and ready to ask Bryon what he thought about the idea of trying our own hands at making king cake. His replied very enthusiastically, deciding to take matters into his own hands and tackling the recipe himself.

We made two king cakes (Note: The recipe says you should have enough dough to make three. If Bryon had rolled the dough out thinner, I think we could have gotten three out of it). We did one with a cream cheese filling, which we kept for ourselves - YUMMY! The second one was a regular cinnamon-sugar king cake, which Bryon took to his mom's house. It was met with overwhelming approval, especially by his brother Chris. From what I hear, Chris thinks it may be one of the best things we've ever made.

Louisiana King Cake

Parker House Roll Dough*:

6-6 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 packages yeast
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
2 cups hot water (110-120 degrees F)

In a large bowl, combine melted butter, 2 1/4 cups flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. With mixer at low speed, gradually pour the hot water into the dry ingredients. Add egg and beat well. Gradually add the remaining flour until thickened.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead the dough until most of the flour is gone. Put doough in oiled bown, turning to coat on all side. Cover and allow dough to rise until doubled in size. Punch down and knead again, about 5 more minutes.

Divide dough into 3 portions (to make 3 medium cakes). Roll dough on floured surface. Spread with melted butter.

For a traditional cinnamon-sugar cake: Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture (we used a combination of white and light brown sugars) over the buttered dough.

For a cream cheese cake: Soften 8 ounces of cream cheese and beat until spreadable, sweeting with powdered sugar if desired. Sprinkle surface of dough with powdered sugar and spread with the softened cream cheese.

To assemble: Starting at one edge, roll the dough in jelly-roll fashion. Twist the roll, then place on a greased cookie sheet, forming it into a ring.

Bake at 350 degrees F until lightly bowned. A plastic baby can be inserted into the cake after cooling if desired.

To ice: Combine powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract until desired flavor and consistency are reached. Divide into small bowls to color yellow, green, and purple. Drizzle over cooled cake, and sprinkle with decorating sugar or turbinado sugar to decorate.

*Roll dough can also be used to make dinner rolls or cinnamon rolls.

For cinnamon rolls: Prepare according to directions for cinnamon-sugar king cake and roll dough in jelly-roll fashion. Instead of twisting, slice into rolls. Place in greased pan. Allow to rise, then bake as directed above. Icing is the same as for the King Cake.

For Parker House Rolls: After the first rising, punch doguh down and need for an additional 5 minutes. Form rolls, rolling in melted butter to coat the top. Place on greased pan, about 1/2-1 inch apart. Allow to rise again before baking. Bake at 350 degrees F until lightly browned.

Source: Adapted from Mom Trivette's recipe, courtesy of Erica.

Grandmommy's Rolls

Having shared the beautiful results of Elizabeth's grandmother's secret, sacred roll recipe on here, I decided it was time to give my grandmommy's roll recipe the respect it deserves.

Mother's Rolls*


2 cups lukewarm milk
1/4 cup shortening (Mother - I use 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Sprinkle or crumble 2 packages or cakes of yeast into the mixture (Mother - I dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup warm water)

Stir until dissolved. Add 5-6 cups sifted flour, mixing thoroughly to make a soft dough.

Turn out onto lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic. Place dough in greased bowl, brush with melted shortening, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (about 2 hours). Do not punch down. Turn out onto lightly floured board and shape as desired. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk*. Bake in a hot oven (425 degrees F) for 15-20 minutes, depending on size. Makes approximately 3 dozen rolls.

*"Mother" is what my mom called my grandmommy, thus these are known as "Mother's Rolls." Her recipe notes are in italics.

*I usually brush the rolls with melted shortening before putting them in the oven, just to ensure that they brown nicely. I also usually cover them with foil during the first 10-15 minutes of baking.

And we're back... Strawberry Cupcakes in Two Varieties!

Despite the lenghty sojourn from blogging, this superhero has still been cooking - and taking some pictures - but not doing much writing about it. A slight fever and a screaming headache is keeping me from getting anything else done that I should be doing this afternoon, though, so blog updating it is!

I made these back in early October when I was on a bit of a cupcake streak. I made one batch of the cupcakes, and made half a batch of the two different icings below for variety. I never could decide which one I thought was the better combination. My opinion varied from day to day, or between afternoon and evening. Try them both ways and feel free to offer your opinion!

Strawberry Cupcakes*

3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1/2 cup fresh** strawberries, pureed
1 small package strawberry Jello
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift flour, baking powder, soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Whisk to combine evenly. Stir the sour cream, strawberries, jello, and vanilla together in a large liquid measuring cup and set aside.

Beat the butter on high in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue beating while gradually adding the sugar - it should take a couple of minutes to completely incorporate all the sugar. Continue to beat until very light and fully, about 3-4 minutes more. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

On low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the sour cream in 2 parts, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl as you mix. Blend thoroughly.

Scoop the batter into prepared muffin tins (either lined with cupcake papers or greased and floured). Lightly tap the pans on the counter so that the batter settles evenly.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18-22 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 5-10 minutes, then place cupcakes onto the rack to cool completely.

Yield: 36 cupcakes (if I'm remembering correctly)

*Can be prepared as 2 9-inch round cakes. If doing so, cool in pan on a rack for 20 minutes before turning cakes out onto the rack to finish cooling.

**Substituting frozen strawberries for fresh works just fine.

Source: Modified from Raspberry Cake

Cream Cheese Icing

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 up unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Store any leftover frosting in the refrigerator after using.

Romanov Icing

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
6 cups powdered sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extrat
4 teaspoons Grand Marnier*
2 pinches orange zest
2 dashes cinnamon (you want to be able to taste the slightest hint of cinnamon in the icing)

Mix butter and powdered sugar on low speed until just combined. Add vanilla extract, Grand Marnier, orange zest, and cinnamon. Beat on high until frosting is at the desired consistency. Taste and adjust the vanilla/Grand Marnier if necessary (I added a little extra of both), but be careful not to overdo!

*Substituting Triple Sec works just fine.

Source: Adapted from Foodie Bride