We had our Cajun-themed gourmet club meeting on Saturday night, and I was on deck for dessert. When we settled on a theme, the hostess asked if I had thought about making a king cake. I had to Google it because I had never even heard of it (sad!), but it looked like fun, so I started hunting for recipes.
Since high-altitude baking is often a challenge, I felt lucky to find a recipe through The Denver Post that was specifically titled “Louisiana-to-Denver King Cake.” Surely, it would be fantastic, right? Wrong. It’s not so much that it didn’t work; it just wasn’t special enough to serve as the finale for what would surely be a spectacular Cajun meal. It didn’t pack enough of a flavor punch and was a bit dry. Having learned that king cake was more like sweet bread, though, I realized that I didn’t really need to make any high-altitude adjustments and could just look for the best-rated recipe out there.
I settled on one with a sour cream base and cream cheese filling from Food.com. The results were amazing! The recipe is a bit long so I’ll just link to it. Here are my notes:
- I used full-fat sour cream and light (neufchatel) cream cheese.
- I made a half recipe each time. The only challenge was using half an egg in the cream cheese filling; I used my kitchen scale to measure half an egg by weight. (Half of a large egg weighed about 26 or 27 grams.)
- Once I had rolled my dough into a rectangle, I found that it was best to distribute the cream cheese filling on the long side of the dough closest to me rather than spreading it over the entire surface of the dough. I was able to keep most of the filling rolled up in the dough that way instead of having it ooze onto the counter.
- I baked my cake for 20 minutes at 375°F instead of the 15 minutes recommended by the recipe.
- I cooled my cake before icing it; otherwise, the icing would have just melted off the cake.
- I already had colored sugars in my pantry, so I didn’t make any from scratch.
- I did put a small plastic baby in my cake (per tradition), but I didn’t bake it in. I just poked it into the underside of the cake after the cake had cooled a bit.
This king cake is heavenly. The bread is so incredibly moist, and the cream cheese filling bakes up into a delicious custard. Wow! I’ll be making this every year (sometime between January 6 and Mardi Gras day, according to tradition) from here on out.
Recipe link: King Cake