Mardi Gras King Cake Season

Late January is the middle of king cake season, a tradition that comes from New Orleans.

Josh Tortorice, owner of Rao’s Bakery, which is famous for its King Cakes, tells the our diva of dish and radio talk show host, Cleverley Stone, why people eat King Cakes, when they eat them and why three different colors of icing are used. Rao’s head baker, Julio Chavez, shows how to braid and decorate a traditional king cake.

Remember that a store-bought coffee cake ring can be used in place of a king cake and people can decorate it themselves by placing the toy baby in it.

For more information about food, wine and dining in Houston, catch Cleverley’s radio show on Saturdays at Noon on KIKK-CNN 650 AM. (By the way, she gives out free restaurant gift certificates on every radio show!)

King Cake
Makes 3 cakes

Ingredients
5 lbs Danish Flour
1 quart of water
1/3 oz instant yeast

Preparation
1. Mix ingredients thoroughly in a bowl.
2. Scrape bowl, removing dough
3. Divide dough in 3 equal sections.
4. Take one section and roll it flat onto lightly floured cutting board
5. Spread filling on it.
6. Use pizza cutter to cut flat dough into 3 long strips.
7. Braid 3 strips then form into a circle.
Repeat with remaining 2 sections of dough.
8. Let circles rest so that yeast can rise.
9. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.
10. Remove from oven and let cool before icing.

Filling
Ingredients
10 pounds of chopped up coffee cake, Danish or other pastries
3.5 lbs of butter
3.5 lbs sugar
1 gallon water
2 lbs cinnamon

Preparation
1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a bowl.
2. Spread onto prepared dough, as above.

Decoration
Ingredients
3 Five lb boxes of granulated sugar
One each tubes of gel food coloring: yellow, green, purple

Preparation
1. Mix one box of sugar with one gel color.
Add color to intensity of your choice.
You should have 3 separate bowls, each with its own color.
2. On cooled cake, spread each color equally in 3 sections on top of cake.
3. If desired before decorating cake, you may insert a small toy baby.
Gently turn cake over and insert baby from the bottom of cake.
Turn cake right side up, and decorate.
Before eating be sure to notify guests that there is a toy baby in the cake and they should use caution when biting into cake.
Guest who gets the baby is named King or Queen for the day.

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