King Cake Recipes for Louisiana Home Chefs This Mardi Gras
Now that King Cake season has officially begun, we know that Louisiana residents are all out on the prowl, looking for the best king cakes around.
But, you don't have to go and shell out a lot of money if you can find a recipe to make your own. The problem is the baking - it's time-consuming, very involved, and some folks don't want to bother with it.
If cooking at home is totally your jam, however, you can do so with some easy-to-follow recipes that will blow your family's minds. And, since I'm someone who likes to cook at home, here are some of the best recipes I've come across.
1. Murmurs of Ricotta's "Soft & Moist Mardi Gras King Cake"
This is my go-to recipe whenever I want to make a king cake. It's a pretty easy one to follow, but it does some things you don't see elsewhere - it's a brioche-style bread for the cake itself, and it uses brown butter for its icing.
Here's the author's description.
When developing this DP-style recipe, I prioritized two things: (1) texture and (2) flavor. Because of that, this Mardi Gras king cake is not made like your average one, but it will be the softest and most flavorful king cake you’ll ever make at home. Here’s what’s different about this king cake:
No ring in the middle: less surface area in the center means more soft and fluffy dough on the inside!
king cake with sprinkles and icing on a counter
No braiding: instead of braiding, I cut slits around the outer edge to encourage even baking while preserving the soft center.
No kneading, just folding: Instead of kneading dough on a work surface, this recipe uses the strength folding method in a bowl for a simpler and cleaner way to build up gluten.
strength building folds
Heavy cream brushed on final cake: to keep the cake moist and from drying out, this recipe includes a healthy brushing of heavy cream on all crevices of the baked cake.
freshly baked king cake brushed with heavy cream
Brown Butter Cream Cheese icing: this is the icing that’s on my Overnight Cinnamon Rolls, and it’s simply the best icing I’ve ever had. There’s a deep nutty flavor from the browned butter and the sugary sweetness is balanced with tangy cream cheese. It goes beautifully with this king cake! If you make anything from this recipe, MAKE THIS ICING!
You can find that full recipe here.
2. Taste of Home's "Traditional New Orleans King Cake"
Taste of Home calls itself "America’s No.1 food lifestyle brand," and they have a lot of recipes for a lot of foods popular all over the country. I don't know if they're really number one, but this recipe for king cake is probably up there.
You can watch the whole process in the video above, or you can read through the recipe here.
3. King Arthur Baking Company's "Mardi Gras King Cake"
King Arthur Baking Company has one of the most popular baking flours on the market, and there's a fifty-fifty chance that if a recipe calls for a specific brand of flour, this is the one they recommend. Most argue it's the closest to commercial baking quality, but whether or not that's true, the fact is that it's one of the best you can get.
They offer all sorts of recipes to use their flour for, and there is naturally a king cake recipe. The one on their site is pretty straightforward, but one of the handiest features of this recipe is the handful of tips you can use to elevate your cooking on the site.
One tip from the site:
To give your King Cake more of a defined shape, bake it in a Bundt pan. Assemble the cake as written through shaping (step 6). Lightly grease a 10- or 12-cup Bundt pan. Gently pick up the shaped log of dough and place it in the Bundt pan seam side-up so you can see it (the bottom becomes the top of the cake in the pan). Pinch the ends together where they meet in the pan to seal. You may need to adjust the placement of the dough slightly so that it fits evenly in the pan. Once the dough is in place, cover and let it rise for about an hour before baking at 350°F for 50 to 55 minutes. (Skip the egg wash.) Tent with aluminum foil as needed to prevent it from getting too dark. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before turning upside down onto a rack to cool completely. Top with the icing and decorate as desired.
4. House of Nash Eats "Mardi Gras King Cake"
This one goes on my list as one to try. A few people have recommended it to me, and I really do want to give it a go. It's highly-rated, but also gives you a choice between a cinnamon filling and cream cheese filling.
You can check out the link in the Facebook post above or go here to skip right to the recipe.