New Orleans king cake boasts colorful crown

Recipe Finder

August 26, 1998|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,Sun Staff

Ann Schwarez of Woodstock requested "a McKenzie king cake like that from New Orleans." The cake, she wrote, "is iced with confectioners' sugar and has a cinnamon yeast bread texture. It is also decorated with gold, green and purple."

Connie Burrill of Forestburg, S.D., responded with what she believed to be the recipe requested. She wrote: "It is called Mardi Gras King Cake. ... I obtained [it] from a calendar from New Orleans which carried this information: 'The French settlers introduced this cake which is baked in Louisiana bakeries from the Twelfth Night, Jan. 6, up to Ash Wednesday. A bean or tiny baby doll is inserted into the cake and whoever gets that slice is king or queen for a week and also provides a king cake for the next week. The cake resembles a crown of jewels.' The recipe is not flavored with cinnamon but could be, and it uses colored sugar instead of icing. I think it is authentic."

Mardi Gras King Cake

Serves 10 to 12

4 packages active dry yeast

4 1/2 cups flour

1 cup milk, scalded then cooled to room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

5 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

TOPPING:

1 cup sugar and blue, yellow and red food coloring

Mix first 8 ingredients in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until the mass pulls away from the bowl's edge. Knead until shiny, smooth and pliable, about 10 minutes. Let rise 1 hour in a warm place, covered loosely with a cloth.

Punch down and shape into a large, oval ring and insert bean or baby doll. Allow to rise until double in size. Meanwhile, divide sugar into three bowls and add a different food color to each. Sprinkle sugars onto ring in alternating color stripes. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees, until a toothpick comes out dry, about 20 minutes.

Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "This is like a soft, sweet challah bread. It might be even better brushed with butter, egg or milk before sprinkling sugars and baking, because it would have a glossier exterior. The dough is very sticky and slick to work with, but don't add too much flour. The dough should be very soft."

Recipe requests

* Hazel E. Pumphrey of Linthicum Heights wants a recipe for an old-fashioned molasses cookie that she believes is traditional in New England. "They are drop cookies and my grandmother made them big," she says.

* Josephine Richardson of Bel Air wants the recipe for a cake she watched being prepared and baked on television. "It was called the Lindbergh or Lindy Cake and was from the early 1930s. Meringue was baked right on the dough layers. It had pineapple and whipped cream, and pecans were placed in the meringue before baking."

* Bertha M. Harris of Southern Pines, N.C., would like to have a recipe for tomato jelly that is "not made with strawberry Jell-O." She says she has tomato preserves and marmalade but not jelly.

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Letters may be edited for clarity.

Pub Date: 8/26/98

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