“King cake is one of New Orleans’ local delicacies, an oval braided confection smothered with white icing and sugar sprinkles that salute the official colors of Mardi Gras: Green for faith, purple for justice, and gold for power. There’s a trinket, usually a plastic baby, hidden inside each one.
King cake typically tastes like a decadent breakfast Danish; a brioche bread swirled with cinnamon, it’s made of ingredients including eggs, flour, butter, sugar, and yeast.” ∼ Oprah Daily
This recipe is not only a decadent brioche bread swirled with delicious brown sugar and cinnamon, but also topped with an incredible brown sugar icing, too!!!!
- 4 1/2 cups (568 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons fine kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (180 grams) warm milk
- 1/4 cup (84 grams) warm honey
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (7 grams) instant yeast
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 10 tablespoons (140 grams) unsalted butter cut into ten pieces
- 1 cup (110 grams) brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon (8 grams) ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon fine kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) salted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) heavy cream
Icing & Sprinkles
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter
- 4 ounces (113 grams) cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups (240 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2 1/2 tablespoons (38 grams) milk
- 1/4 cup (60 grams) heavy cream, for brushing on top after baking
- sanding sugar or sprinkles (purple, green, gold)
Directions for Dough:
- Warm the honey and milk in a large glass measuring cup to 105°-110°.
- Add the yeast and mix it in. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes until foamy.
- When foamy, add the eggs (room temp), and whisk to combine.
- Mix flour and salt in a stand mixer. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour on low speed. Add the room temp butter one piece at a time.
- When the butter is all in, increase the speed to medium, and beat for about 1 minute until the butter is fully incorporated and the dough is stringy and very sticky.
- Use a spatula to spoon the sticky dough into a large, greased bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest and rise for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, apply the first fold by placing your fingers under one edge of the proofed dough, pulling the dough up, and folding it back over itself. Repeat this around the entire perimeter (about 6 times).
- Cover the bowl again and rise for another 30 minutes. Repeat this folding step 3 more times, waiting 30 minutes in between each fold for a total of 2 hours (4 folds).
- Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate overnight (or up to 72 hours).
Browning Butter for Icing:
- Melt unsalted butter over medium heat. It will make crackling sounds as the water evaporates from the butter. Simmer until the crackling sounds reduce and the butter turns golden brown (about 5-8 minutes).
- Remove from heat and pour into a heat-safe bowl. Cover and allow to solidify at room temperature. This can be done the night before.
Rolling and Shaping the Dough:
- On the day of, punch down the cold dough and knead about 10 times to wake up the yeast. Roll out the dough into a 14-inch by 18-inch-wide rectangle. Use a fork to gently poke holes all throughout the dough to help with even baking. Brush the melted butter and then the heavy cream on top of the dough. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly over the top and press with your hands to adhere.
- To roll, start with one of the long edges, and roll into a tight log and stop when you’ve reached the middle of the rectangle. Do the same on the other side to create two logs in a scroll shape. Carefully transfer the dough log to a lined baking sheet, scroll-side down, and shape into a U. If you’d like it to be a full oval, pinch the two ends together. Use a knife to cut 1.5-inch slits about 1.5 inches apart around the entire perimeter of the cake.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the cake rise in a warm spot one last time (90 minutes).
- Preheat oven to 350º F.
Making Brown Butter Icing:
- To make icing, cream the room temperature brown butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl for about two minutes on medium speed. Add sifted confectioners’ sugar and milk. Mix just until combined, you’re not looking to whip it too much. Add more powdered sugar or milk as needed for desired consistency.
- Bake the cake uncovered for 32-38 minutes at 350º F, rotating the pan halfway through, until golden brown on top.
- When cake is done baking and still warm, brush 1/4 cup of heavy cream all over the cake. This is what prevents a hard crust from forming and adds extra moisture to the cake. Yummm!!
- When the cake is completely cooled, spread on the icing and top with sprinkles.
This can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days but is best when eaten the same day. Enjoy!!
This recipe is inspired by Maria Do @murmursofricottta.
I hope you make this fluffy and delicious dessert. If you do, please tag me @goodeatsbymimi. I would love to hear from you and see your photos!!