Tuesday, March 8, 2011
To celebrate Mardis Gras of the past, I've made the French style of King Cake that inspired the American version we celebrate with today, as well as a total lazy person's King Cake back when I was afraid of yeast. But this year I decided to go all out for a friend's Mardi Gras-themed dinner party and finally attempt the New Orleans style of cake we all know from this time of year.
When I decided to take the King Cake plunge I knew right away that I wanted to go with a recipe from David Guas--well-known in the DC area for bringing a taste of the Big Easy to Arlington, VA with his new cafe Bayou Bakery, and also for his tome of amazing southern-style New Orleans sweets, DamGoodSweet. At the party I also finally had a chance to sample Bayou's beignets (behn-yay, or French-style doughnuts) and cupcakes along with a delcious feast of gumbo, étouffée, kale chips, crawfish and muffaletta crostini courtesy of Department of Plate. The beignets and king cake were the perfect ending to our Cajun cuisine and helped "let the good times roll" as they say down south...sans flashing and open containers of liquor, of course. :)
A couple of notes: this cake is made with yeast (you're essentially making a sweet loaf of bread) so leave yourself plenty of time to allow for its two rises. Also, the icing dries quickly, so be sure to have your colored sugar prepped before you start frosting as you'll want to be able to sprinkle liberally before it hardens.