I was introduced to this tradition years ago when I lived in Mobile, Alabama and while I didn't actively partake in the revelry, I did partake in the food. It was there that I first tasted this colorful yeast bread, filled with cinnamon and sugar and topped with colored icings and sugars. After I began working, one of my coworkers brought a cake to the office every year. This year I took the opportunity to make one for The Mister's coworkers. The Mister reported that by noon, not a piece was left. I'd call that a success and deem this recipe a keeper.
King Cakefrom the Southern Living 1990 Annual Recipes, pg 20-21
I followed the recipe for the cake and sugars but winged it on the frosting. Next time I need to make the frosting thinner so that it would be pourable and more easily cover the cake. I also halved the recipe from the book and wound up with a few tasty "scraps". Next time I should probably make the ring more compact so that we will have two cakes and so that it would more easily fit on the platter.
1/8 cup butter
8 oz sour cream
2 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/12 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted
I heated the butter, sugar, & salt over medium heat until the butter melted and then turned off the stove and added the sour cream to the mixture.
While waiting for the butter to melt, I put the yeast, 1/2 Tbsp sugar, and warm water in the mixer. After the butter and sour cream mixture were done, I added it to the mixer along with the egg and flour, then beat the mixture until a soft dough formed, adding extra flour as needed. After the soft dough formed, I transferred the dough into a well greased bowl and put it in a warm place for an hour.
After the dough rested for an hour, I rolled the dough into a large rectangle and spread the melted butter on it with a pastry brush, then I sprinkled the remaining sugar and cinnamon onto the buttered dough. Then I rolled the dough to form a long log and circled it to create a wreath shape, pinching the ends together. After transferring the dough wreath to a greased baking sheet, I cut slits into the dough, then let it rise in a warm place for an hour. Then I baked the cake at 375 degrees for 17 minutes. While the cake was still warm, I transferred it to a platter, then spread icing and sprinkled colored sugar on the cake.