Bake a King Cake for Carnival and take a trip to the delicious deep South. Filled with a lively Ambrosia Apple Cinnamon filling, you’ll be shaking your beads in no time!
The Big Easy
Traveling to New Orleans is like traveling to another world. We took the kids on a family trip to see the sights and hear the sounds of the city known as ‘The Big Easy’. Why is NOLA called The Big Easy? One story is that the nick name arose during the prohibition when liquor flowed easily through speakeasies. Another has to do with the city being a unique musical hot spot since the early 2o th century and how easy it was for musicians to find work. However you slice it, sit back, relax and enjoy.
What is a New Orleans Style King Cake?
NOLA style King Cake is a colourful cake eaten throughout the pre-Lenten celebrations of Mardi Gras. Cakes are consumed beginning on the Epiphany (when the three kings arrived to visit the baby Jesus) until Mardi Gras. The three bright colours (Purple, Green, and Gold) represent the 3 kings who visited the Christ child. Purple symbolizes Justice while Green and Gold symbolize faith and power.
Why is There a Baby Hidden in King Cakes?
The small plastic baby (fève) hidden within the cake represents the baby Jesus. Originally a bean was hidden but small baby trinkets have been used since the 1950’s. During Mardi Gras gatherings, families and communities come together to celebrate and eat King Cake. The party goer who finds the fève hidden within the cake is the next party host or cake provider.
How to Bake a King Cake
The dough for a King Cake is really similar to that used to make cinnamon buns. They have a light, airy texture, almost in between a dough and a pastry…maybe more like brioche. This recipe uses quick rise yeast, but you are welcome to try traditional yeast if you prefer. Traditionally, the cakes did not have a filling, but cakes with fillings are becoming quite popular.
My NOLA Inspiration
During winter, day after day of grey skies has me craving a bit of colour and baking a King Cake is a great way to brighten any day. This sweet cake is made from pantry basics like flour, sugar, yeast, and butter mixed with a little New Orleans magic. Fill it with B.C. Ambrosia apples as they are one of the few ‘local’ fruits that keep all winter.
How To Decorate A King Cake
King cakes are bright a flashy. They can be topped off with glittery sprinkles or just coverend with purple, green, and gold glaze. Google ‘King Cake’ to see the many variations out on the interwebs. For this cake, I used pearl dust. The colours aren’t very striking until you mix the dust with a few drops of lemon juice. This makes the dust more like a paint. Apply it, then add some dry glitter dust for that glittery effect.
Pin it HERE.
Apples to Apples with Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen
King Cake with Ambrosia Apple Filling
Mardi Gras King Cake with Ambrosia Apple Filling
- I cup milk
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2/3 cup warm water
- 4 1/2 tsp quick rise yeast
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- FOR THE FILLING
- 3 Ambrosia Apples; peeled, cored, and diced
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- FOR THE GLAZE
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1 tbsp of water, or more as needed to make the icing a touch runny.
MethodFOR THE DOUGH
- In a small pot scald the milk, then add the butter. Let cool to a temperature between 120 and 130 F.
- Add 2/3 cup of warm water directly to the dry ingredients and mix.
- Gradually added the dairy to the dry ingredients.
- Knead the dough for about 8 minutes and then let it sit for about 15 minutes.
- Place all ingredients in a pot and cook with lid on until apples are soft (about 10 minutes).
- Let cool.
- Roll it the dough out into a large rectangle like you would with cinnamon bun dough. Make it a bit longer and narrower since you'll need to connect the ends together to make a circle.
- Add the filling in one long line along the bottom of the dough then roll the dough up over to cover.
- Carefully bring the two ends together and seal. Watch that the filling does not escape!
- Cover a baking sheet with parchment and place the dough ring on top.
- Let the dough ring rise for another 15 minutes, then make a few slashes on the top.
- Bake it at 375 F for 30 minutes.
- While the cake cools, make up a simple glaze with icing sugar and water and pour it over the slightly warm cake.