Monday, February 15, 2010

King Cake

Editor's Note: Consider yourselves lucky, since Valentines day is back-to-back with Carnivale season, you get two posts today. If I was a better editor, you would've had one (or both) of today's recipes last week, but c'est la vie!

Let the good times roll!! Today is Mardi Gras, which is French for "Fat Tuesday", referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before ritual fasting of the the Lenten Season, which starts on Ash Wednesday.

The king cake signifies the three kings who brought gifts to the baby Jesus, and is shaped to represent a crown. King cake season begins on Three Kings Day (Jan. 6th)

The colors symbolize: Purple - Justice, Green - Faith, and Gold - Power.

Whoever finds the baby hidden in the cake, becomes King/Queen for the day and makes the cake next year.

12 oz fat free cream cheese, softened
½ C. powdered sugar
¾ tsp. vanilla
3 Tbs granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
Nonstick cooking spray
2 packages of 11 oz refrigerated French bread dough
Plastic baby or dried bean

1 ½ powdered sugar
3. Tbs whole milk (half and half works)
Green, yellow, and purple sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
For filling, beat softened cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla in medium mixing bowl with electric mixer on low speed until smooth.
Blend sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in small bowl.
Lightly coat plastic cutting board or work surface with non stick cooking spray. Unroll 1 package refrigerated dough on to work surface. Unroll second package alongside first, over lapping slightly to make one long piece. Press along seam to seal well. Sprinkle dough evenly with cinnamon mixture. Spread cream cheese mixture length wise on dough, leaving 1 inch along the edge uncovered. Roll up dough, starting with cream cheese side. Pinch along seam to seal in filling. Place dough on prepared baking sheet and gently twist. Attach ends of dough pieces to form large twisted circle (to resemble crown); pinch tightly to seal ends together. Insert plastic baby/dried bean underneath dough.

For icing, combine powdered sugar and milk in a 2 cup measuring cup with spout, and stir until smooth. Drizzle icing evenly onto coffeecake. Sprinkle on colored sugars, alternating colors to make 3 sections of 3 colors each. Let coffee cake stand at least 1 hour to allow icing to firm up. Cut into 2-to 3- inch piece to serve.

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