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!