Today is the Day of the Kings and what is the most traditional way to celebrate with Kings cake! There are many different ways to make and they look different based on who is celebrating around the world! I am not big on all the sugar and fruits but I do like some spice. I find this recipe is sweet enough and I use whole almonds instead of plastic babies. Here is more of the history behind the King cake:
The king cake commemorated on January 6—celebrates the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child. The Eve of Epiphany (the night of January 5) is popularly known as Twelfth Night (the Twelve Days of Christmas are counted from Christmas Eve until this night). The season for king cake extends from the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas (Twelfth Night and Epiphany Day), up until the end of Shrovetide: Mardi Gras, “Fat Tuesday,” or Shrove Tuesday; the day before the start of Lent.
In Portugal and France, whoever gets the King cake trinket is expected to buy the next cake for these get-togethers. In Mexico the tradition of placing a bean, candy or figurine of the baby Jesus inside the cake is followed. The figurine of the baby Jesus hidden in the bread represents the flight of the Holy Family, fleeing from King Herod‘s Massacre of the Innocents. Whoever finds the baby Jesus figurine is blessed and must take the figurine to the nearest church on February 2 (Candlemas Day, Día de la Candelaria), which celebrates the presentation of Jesus in the Temple.
In the United States, Carnival is traditionally observed in the Southeastern region of the country, particularly in New Orleans, Lake Charles, Bay Saint Louis, Mobile, Pensacola, Galveston, and other towns and cities of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. In these regions, the king cake is closely associated with Mardi Gras traditions and is served throughout the Carnival season, which lasts from Epiphany Eve to Fat Tuesday. The King Cake tradition is thought to have been brought to New Orleans from France in 1870. Now, as part of the celebration, it is traditional to bake a cake (King Cake) in honor of the three kings. The official colors of Mardi Gras—created in 1872 by the Krewe of Rex—are purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power.
1/3 cup of coconut milk
2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
½ cup canned Pumpkin
¼ cup Brown Sugar
½ tsp salt
1 egg or (sub flax seed 1 tbsp and 3 tbsp water)
2 ¼ teaspoons Instant Yeast
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup chopped Pecans or additional topping
6 tbsp coconut oil
½ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground ginger
1 cup chopped pecans
***Handful of whole almonds to use as the trinket inside
- Make a Proof Box for the dough. Preheat oven to 175 F Once the oven has reached temperature turn it
off and keep the door closed.
- Warm the milk and butter together over stove until butter is just melted let cool.
- Using your mixer beat the pumpkin, brown sugar, and salt together on medium speed. Add the warmed
milk/butter and mix until combined. Then mix in the egg and the yeast.
- With mixer running on slow speed mix in 1 cup of flour, mixing for 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl to combine. Then add 1¼” more flour and beat 1 more minute. The dough will be very soft.
- Place dough into bowl greased with nonstick kitchen spray. Turn the dough around in bowl to coat evenly.
Cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise inside oven making sure the oven is off and the
door is slightly ajar. Your dough should rise and double in size. Takes approximately 20-30 minutes.
- Prep a cookie sheet or sheet tray with parchment and use kitchen spray to spray paper.
- Once the dough has doubled in size remove from oven. Gently punch the dough down to deflate then roll
onto floured surface. Knead the dough a few times until smooth. Knead in more flour if dough is still sticky.
- Using a rolling pin roll dough out to be about 18” x 10”. Cut the dough in half lengthwise.
- Make filing for inside and to use as a topping, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans and spices in a small bowl.
- Spread softened coconut oil on dough evenly, then sprinkle combined spice ingredients. Roll each sheet of dough tightly and pinch to seal.
- Preheat Oven 350 F
- On prepped sheet tray braid the two assembled doughs and make what would look like a circular wreath.
Pinch again to seal. Sprinkle remaining of filing on top for additional flavor and place from the underside whole almonds randomly as the trinket for someone to find.
- Cover with plastic wrap tightly and allow dough to rise to double it’s size. Approximately 10-15 minutes.
A good tip is to leave it somewhat near your oven that is preheating to help speed up the rise process.
- Once the dough has doubled in size place in oven and bake for about 20-30 minutes. Check halfway
through the cooking process, rotate your tray so both sides brown evenly.
- Let cool and you can add additional topping or plastic babies if you didn’t use whole almond.