Every year, Susan and I make a King Cake for Mardi Gras. This year, Susan suggested that we make a Christmas King Cake, decorated in red and green. I thought – what a good idea, especially since we’re breaking with tradition this year and having a New Orleans themed Christmas dinner.
I have a recipe for King Cake that I’ve used in the past, but thought that I’d try a different one, at least as a starting point. The recipe that I settled on was King Cake in a Bread Machine from the Allrecipes site. The primary reason was because of the number of reviewers commenting on how easy the dough was to work with.
I used the following ingredients for the dough: Water, salt, unsalted butter, egg, sour cream (I used reduced fat sour cream), granulated sugar, all-purpose flour and bread machine yeast.
Making the Christmas King Cake
I placed the dough ingredients into the bread machine in the order listed, and started the machine on the dough cycle. After a bit, I checked the dough to see if it was at the proper consistency. It was perfect!
Once the dough cycle ended, I rolled the dough into a 28 x 10-inch rectangle on a piece of floured parchment paper. Because the dough was somewhat elastic, I let it rest every now and then.
Meanwhile, I worked on the two fillings which included cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon and unsalted butter.
We actually made a “practice” Christmas King Cake, where we used only 4 ounces of cream cheese in the filling. For the “real” thing, we used 8 ounces.
To make the cream cheese filling, I beat the cream cheese with the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl. Next, I combined the granulated sugar, cinnamon and unsalted butter in a small bowl for the other filling.
Once the dough was roughly 28 x 10-inches, I trimmed the sides to form the rectangle. I spread the cream cheese filling on the dough to about 1-inch from the sides. Then I spread the sugar-cinnamon mixture on the cream cheese filling, again taking it to about 1-inch from the sides.
Starting at one of the long sides, Susan and I carefully began rolling the dough into a log.
We pinched the dough to seal the log, and formed a circle after placing it onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Using a little bit of water, Susan pinched the ends together to seal the circle and was very careful to ensure an even thickness. Then, we placed a small buttered Pyrex dish in the center to ensure that the center didn’t close up during the rise.
After about 45 minutes, the dough had risen nicely and was ready to be popped into a 350° F oven for 25 minutes. During that time, I made the icing which consisted of confectioners’ sugar, butter and milk. I used it on the “practice” King Cake. For the “real” thing, I made a cream cheese icing, which is included in the recipe below.
I let the cake cool for about 10 minutes, and then Susan applied her magic to icing and decorating it. She used red and green sprinkles, and red and green colored icing. We decided against putting the plastic baby in the actual cake, and instead plopped it on top for Santa to watch! Yum!
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Christmas King Cake (Adapted from King Cake in a Bread Machine)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 egg slightly beaten
- 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
- 3 1/2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 1/2 cups (17.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 4 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Red and green sprinkles
- Red and green food coloring
- Add the dough ingredients to the bread machine in the order listed. Select the dough cycle, and start the machine. Check the dough after five minutes of mixing, and add 1 to 2 more Tablespoons of water or flour if the dough is too dry or wet.
- Beat 8 ounces of cream cheese with 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar until smooth. Set aside.
- Mix 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and 5 Tablespoons melted butter until combined. Set aside.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- When the dough cycle is finished, remove the dough and roll out to a 10 x 28-inch rectangle on a floured surface. Trim the edges as needed. Spread the cream cheese mixture on the dough to within 1-inch of the edges. Spread sugar-cinnamon mixture on the cream cheese to within 1-inch of the edges of the dough.
- Starting at one of the long edges, roll the dough tightly into a 28-inch log. Pinch the edges to seal the log. Place the rolled dough onto the prepared baking sheet, seam side down, and form the dough into a ring. Moisten the ends of the dough with a little water; pinch the two ends together to seal.
- Place a small greased Pyrex dish in the center to maintain a nice circle. Cover with a cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake the cake in preheated oven until the top is golden brown, about 25 minutes.
- Mix the ingredients for the icing to make a smooth, but not thin glaze.
- Remove the cake from the oven, and cool for about 10 minutes on a wire rack.
- While the cake is still warm, spoon the glaze onto the cake, allowing drips of glaze to dribble down the sides of the cake. Immediately, sprinkle red and green sprinkles on the cake.
- Yield: One Christmas King Cake.