- 1 tablespoon plus 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
- 5 cups flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup warm milk (105 to 115 degrees)
- 1/2 cup room temperature unsalted butter
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon orange oil or extract
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon oil or extract
- 1 pecan half, uncooked dried bean or King Cake Baby
Bavarian Cream Cheese Filling:
- 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup milk
- 6 tablespoons pastry cream filling mix
- 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange oil or extract
- 2 tablespoons water
- Purple, green and gold sugar crystals
Combine the yeast, flour, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and lemon rind in mixer bowl and add water, warm milk, butter, egg yolks, and orange and lemon oils. Beat with dough hook on speed 1 for 2 minutes until smooth. Increase speed to 2 and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic (6-8 minutes). Place the dough in a well-greased bowl. Turn once so greased surface is on top.
Cover the dough and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 1/2 hours). Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into three pieces of equal weight, and preshape each piece into a batard. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
Roll each batard into a rope, about 30 inches long. If the dough springs back too much, allow it to rest for 5 minutes and continue rolling. Lay the ropes vertically side-by-side with one end near the edge and the other toward the back of the counter. Numbering the ropes 1-3 from left to right, lift the end of rope 3 closest to you and lay it over the center of rope 2. Do the same with rope 1, lifting it and placing over center of rope 3, which is now in the center. Continue braiding, alternating between the right and left sides, until you reach the end. Press the ends together, then rotate the dough 180 degrees, so the unbraided sides are again facing you. Braid as above, this time moving the outside pieces under the center, until all the dough is braided. Press the ends together.
Place the braided dough on a buttered baking sheet. Shape into an oval, pinching ends together to seal. Press the King Cake Baby, pecan half or dried bean into the dough from the bottom so that it is completely hidden by the dough.
Prepare filling ingredients by beating cream cheese on high speed until smooth. Add remaining ingredients, mix on low until combined, then on high for 2 minutes. Spoon filling into piping bag fitted with large tip. Fill King Cake by piping Bavarian cream into crevices in braid.
Cover with a floured towel or plastic wrap sprayed with pan oil, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the cake to a rack and allow to cool completely.
For the glaze, combine the ingredients and beat until smooth. To assemble, drizzle cake with the glaze. Sprinkle with sugar crystals, alternating colors.
Be sure to check out my classic King Cake recipe, too.