Tiny New York Kitchen: Mardi Gras King Cake

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By Victoria Hart Glavin of Tiny New York Kitchen

Feb. 17th is Fat Tuesday and it’s time to make Mardi Gras King Cake. Don’t forget to insert the tiny plastic baby inside.



1 Tablespoon Active Dry Yeast

1 Cup Warm Water (NOT Hot)

1/2 Cup Sugar

1/2 Cup Milk (Warmed)

4 3/4 Cup Unbleached Flour

2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Grated Nutmeg

1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest

1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter (Softened)

5 Egg Yolks

Cream Cheese Filling

8 Ounces Cream Cheese (Softened)

1/4 Cup Sugar

3 Tablespoons Unbleached Flour

1 Egg Yolk

1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1/2 Teaspoon Almond Extract

Makes 1 1/2 Cups

1 Tiny Plastic Baby

1 Egg White

1 Tablespoons Milk


4 Cups Powdered Sugar

1/2 Cup Butter (Softened)

1/2 Cup Lemon Juice

Colored Sugar (Yellow, Green & Purple)

In small-size bowl dissolve yeast in warm water. Make sure that water is NOT hot or it will kill the yeast. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 cup warm milk. Set aside for 10 minutes.

To make dough: In large-size bowl blend flour, kosher salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and lemon zest. In separate medium-size bowl, cream butter and remaining sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg yolks. Gradually add butter mixture to flour mixture. Combine until coarse. Add yeast mixture. Combine until dough forms into ball. If dough is too sticky then add a bit more flour. If dough is too dry add a bit more water. Place dough into large-size oiled ceramic bowl and cover with dishtowel. Let sit, in warm & dry place, at least 2 hours until dough had doubled in size.

To assemble dough: Butter large-size baking sheet. When dough is ready, punch down a couple times to flatten a bit. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces.

Roll out one piece on floured work surface to about 12 inches by 4 inches. You will want thickness to be about 3/8 inch. Spread 1/3 of cream cheese filling over dough, leaving 1 inch on all sides. Roll up long side of dough, forming a long cylinder. Pinch edges to seal. Repeat with other two pieces of dough.

Braid all three cylinders together. Wrap braid into a circle (will look like a king’s crown). Where ends come together, insert plastic baby and pinch ends
together to give a good seal. Smooth dough to hide that seam. Transfer ring to prepared baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 45 minutes until dough had doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat egg white with milk. When dough has risen, brush with egg white mixture.  Place in oven and bake 35 minutes until golden. Remember that each oven heats differently. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Spread lemon icing over top of cake. Immediately sprinkle with colored sugars. Let topping set before serving.

Cream Cheese Filling: In medium-size bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, flour, egg yolk, lemon juice, vanilla, and almond extract. Mix until smooth.

Icing: In medium-size bowl cream sugar and butter until smooth. Mix in lemon juice.

Makes 1 Mardi Gras King Cake

Victoria Hart Glavin has been cooking and writing recipes since she was a teenager. Originally from Nebraska, her appreciation for culinary technique took off when she moved to Lyon, France.

While living in France, Victoria studied French cooking from an expert Lyonnais chef. Victoria learned to love the local culture of preparing and enjoying fresh, seasonal foods. While in France, Victoria experienced the joys of shopping for local produce at the market and preparing fresh foods simply and beautifully in order to enhance the experience of the table. During her time in France, she says she “learned how to squeeze tomatoes at the local market” and “took everything in by osmosis.”

Currently, Victoria creates tasty treats in her tiny kitchen, in New York City, for all to enjoy and on weekends she explores Fairfield County where has a second home. Victoria has shared her recipes with others and now you can enjoy the Tiny New York Kitchen recipe collection, too!  Victoria is a member of Culinary Historians of New York and a member of the Association for the Study of Food and Society.