I’ve got a long list of King Cakes to make this carnival season. They vary in degrees of complication and amounts of butter. Most are sweet. One is savory. All are being testing this month and shaping up to be deeply delicious.
Lord knows there’s no shortage of King Cake around here. There’s an Original King Cake which is essentially a giant cinnamon roll rounded into a cake shape. There’s Cinnamon Roll King Cake which slices the rolls into a ring. There’s my favorite Galette des Rois Cookies that turn a traditional French King Cake into small cookies using a homemade quick puff pastry. And there will be more because Mardi Gras is about excess (and glitter and parades and throws and friends and cocktail and jambalaya and the most fun – it’s really just the most fun).
Today’s offering is a very simple king cake. No rolling or braiding and barely any resting for this easy yeasted cake. It comes together on one dish (the pan it’s baked in) and bakes in a cold oven. It’s a slow, quick rise so we’re using RapidRise or Instant yeast. The result is a soft and cakey everyday cake. The kind of cake that you might throw together when you know you have company coming over in an hour. Simple King Cake, really – straight to the point.
Here’s what you’ll need:
• Instant yeast – the quick stuff. Instant yeast dissolves quickly in the batter without proofing in warm water. It also makes this cake come together super quickly so if you can get your hands on Rapid Rise or Instant yeast – do take advantage!
• All-purpose flour, a bit of sugar, and salt – the foundation of most of our baked goods.
• Whole milk, melted butter, oil, and an egg to add richness – making a quick enriched dough
• For the topping that’s also the filling: brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter – the good stuff.
• For the glaze: powdered sugar, vanilla, and bit of melted butter and a splash of milk.
• To top: purple, yellow and green sprinkles – it’s just cake without them. And a plastic baby or any festive feve!
It’s coffee cake, made King Cake and it’s simple and delicious.
This cake comes with the very good news of very few dishes.
You’ll only need one dish and one bowl to mix and bake this little baby King Cake. The dish you mix it in is the dish you bake it in! Save for one small bowl we mix the topping in, this is essentially a keep-the-kitchen-clean cake.
Just to be clear… I have all the ingredients measure out in little bowls for you to see. You won’t fuss with that in your kitchen.
Grease an 8-inch round baking pan along the bottom and up the sides with butter. Add the dry ingredients to the greased pan and whisk to combine. Add the warmed milk, melted butter, oil, and beaten egg.
*If you’re using active dry yeast, bloom the yeast in 2 tablespoons of warm water for 5 minutes and mix it in with the wet ingredients.
Whisk until the wet and dry ingredients are well combined. Use a spatula to get into the corners of the pan where flour might be hiding.
After mixing you’ll find you have a loose but sticky batter.
Allow the cake to rest for 10 – 15 minutes while you stir together the brown sugar topping. Uncovered is just fine. It doesn’t rest for long.
* If you’re using active dry yeast, allow the cake to rest for 30 – 35 minutes.
Ok ok we’re using our one bowl!
Stir together brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and melted butter. The mixture will be grainy – that’s right!
After the rest, swirl the cinnamon mixture into the batter and allow to rest for 5 minutes or so. *15 minutes if you’re using active dry yeast.
Place it in a COLD oven. Wild – I know… but the cake will slowly rise as the oven heats. Set the oven to 350 and allow the oven to preheat and the cake to bake at the same time! What a wonder.
The cake is done when it comes to golden brown, the sugar is bubbling, and the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan just a bit.
Whisk together the easy glaze until smooth. Use the same bowl that you used for the cinnamon mixture if you’re counting dishes.
Drizzle the mostly cooled cake with glaze, sprinkle generously with Mardi Gras colors, and tuck a little feve inside.
That’s the story, friends! Now it’s your turn to King Cake. Get on this one because we’ve only got more cake coming down the pipeline!
My love to you today and for the rest of Mardi Gras!
The quickest way to King Cake.
For the Cake Batter:
- unsalted butter to grease the pan
- 1–1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 teaspoons RapidRise or Instant Yeast
- 2/3 cup very warm milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
For the Cinnamon Mixture:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2/3 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
- 1–1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- pinch of kosher salt
For the Glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- purple, yellow, and green sprinkles and a plastic baby
- Grease an 8-inch round cake pan with butter.
- Add the dry ingredients including the yeast to the cake pan and whisk to combine.
- Add the milk, melted butter, oil, and beaten egg. Whisk to combine and use a spatula to coax any flour from the corners of the pan.
- Allow to batter to rest in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes. While the cake rests, make the cinnamon topping.
- In a small bowl stir together brown sugar, cinnamon, melted butter, and salt until the mixture is moistened and sandy.
- Top batter evenly with cinnamon mixture. Use a butter knife to swirl the cinnamon sugar into the batter. Allow to rest for 5 more minutes.
- To bake the cake, place pan in a COLD oven; set temperature to 350°F; bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned and firm in center. Allow the cake to cool for 20 minutes. Combine icing ingredients in the same bowl used to make the cinnamon mixture and drizzle over the just warm cake.
- Sprinkle generously with Mardi Gras colors and tuck a little baby inside. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Fleischmann’s Bread World.
To adapt this recipe using active dry yeast instead of instant or rapidrise – bloom the yeast in 2 tablespoons of water for 5 minutes before adding to the batter along with the wet ingredients.
Increase the first rest to 30 – 35 minutes. Increase the second rest to 15 minutes. Bake as instructed.
- Serving Size: 8