Happy belated Mardi Gras! Yes, I know, very very belated. I actually made this cake late on Monday night just in time for the celebration, but forgot I even had these pictures until just now. Just as well though - hopefully someone can find this recipe useful and make their own King Cake for the party next year. King Cake is traditionally shaped into a circle after braiding it, but I left mine as more a loaf because I didn't have the room to make the braids any longer. I really need a bigger kitchen. It's also traditionally topped with colored sugar for the three Carnival colors (purple, yellow, and green) and baked with a trinket inside - whoever gets the piece with the trinket has to bake the next King Cake.
1/2 cup warm water
4 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
4 1/2 cups flour (or more, depending on your dough)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh lime zest
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
3 eggs, room temperature
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup butter, softened
In the bottom of a stand mixer attached with a kneading hook, combine the warm water and yeast. Allow to proof for 10 minutes. In the meantime, combine 4 cups of flour with the sugar, nutmeg, salt, and lime zest. Pour into the yeast mixture and add the milk and eggs. Knead until combined, then add the butter and continue kneading until the dough forms a ball that pulls away from the sides of the mixer. Add more flour, a tablespoon a time, if the dough is too wet to form a ball. After the dough is fully incorporated, butter a bowl and place the dough into it, then cover with a towel until doubled in size (about 2 hours). Punch down the dough and divide into three. Roll each portion into a rod, equal in length (your choice - mine were 16 inches long). Braid together on a baking sheet, then cover with a towel and allow to rise for about an hour. In the meantime, preheat oven to 350ºF. After the dough has finished rising, bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons water
Combine confectioner's sugar with lime juice and water, and stir until the sugar has had enough time to dissolve as much as it will. Add more water, one teaspoon at a time, if this mixture is too thick. Pour evenly over the cooled King Cake.
3/4 cup of granulated sugar, divided
In a small food processor, combine 1/4 cup granulated sugar with 3 drops of green food coloring. Pour out and repeat with the green and purple (for purple, I used 2 drops of red and 1 drop of blue). Sprinkle the sugar over the iced cake until you get the finish you want - don't overdo it, though.
Make sure your cake has baked through all the way (I altered the recipe I posted because when I cut into mine, it was a bit raw in the middle), and don't pour too much sugar on top. I ended up brushing off a bit of it because it was overly-sweet.