January 6th (aka Twelfth Night) is the last night of Christmas and the official first day of Carnival/ Mardi Gras season. I think it’s supposed to be the day that the 3 wise men found baby Jesus or something. Not so sure about that. At any rate, the date certainly kicks off King Cake Season and Mardi Gras Ball Season. (My family is going to the Krewe of Rio‘s Ball tomorrow, actually).
My friends and I celebrated by making our very own King Cake and doing some light costuming. This year, we used a recipe from Southern Living:
traditional king cake
- 1 (16-ounce) container sour cream $
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup butter $
- 1 teaspoon salt $
- 2 (1/4-ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten $
- 6 to 6 1/2 cups bread flour*
- 1/3 cup butter, softened $
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Creamy Glaze
- Purple-, green-, and gold-tinted sparkling sugar sprinkles
- Cook first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts. Set aside, and cool mixture to 100° to 110°.
- Stir together yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a 1-cup glass measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes.
- Beat sour cream mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until smooth. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add enough remaining flour (4 to 4 1/2 cups) until a soft dough forms.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until dough is doubled in bulk.
- Punch down dough, and divide in half. Roll each portion into a 22- x 12-inch rectangle. Spread 1/3 cup softened butter evenly on each rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border. Stir together 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over butter on each rectangle.
- Roll up each dough rectangle, jelly-roll fashion, starting at 1 long side. Place one dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bring ends of roll together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal. Repeat with second dough roll.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
- Bake at 375° for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden. Slightly cool cakes on pans on wire racks (about 10 minutes). Drizzle Creamy Glaze evenly over warm cakes; sprinkle with colored sugars, alternating colors and forming bands. Let cool completely.
- Cream Cheese-Filled King Cake: Prepare each 22- x 12-inch dough rectangle as directed. Omit 1/3 cup softened butter and 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Increase 1/2 cup sugar to 3/4 cup sugar. Beat 3/4 cup sugar; 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened; 1 large egg; and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly on each dough rectangle, leaving 1-inch borders. Proceed with recipe as directed.
- *6 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour may be substituted.
From the Daily Advertiser (totally stole my idea):
Want to throw a Twelfth Night party?
Bake or purchase a king cake, serve lamb’s wool and dress up in costumes of your choice.
Serve king cake with hot apple cider as the traditional Twelfth Night drink was lamb’s wool, a drink made of cider or ale, sugar, spices and roasted apples.
Options for costumes include ones representative of Roman peasants or kings, characters from Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” or sequined gowns and masks in purple, green and gold, the traditional Mardi Gras colors. Let the person who gets the trinket inside of the king cake become the king or queen of the party, allowed to make orders if he or she chooses.
- Goodbye, Christmas, Hello, Carnival! (Daily Advertiser)
- Twelfth Night Events in New Orleans (Nola Defender)
- King Cake Returns (Nola Defender)
- Phunny Phorty Phellows (Nola Defender)
- Phunny Phorty Phellows Herald Carnival Season (Uptown Messenger – great pics!)
- Friday Reads (skydancingblog.com)
- Orpheus names Mardi Gras-season celebrity monarchs (pbpulse.com)
- Patricia Clarkson to lead famed Mardi Gras parade (digitalspy.co.uk)
- Best King Cake poll (nola.com)
- Mayor Mitch Landrieu kicks off Mardi Gras countdown with king cake feast (nola.com)
- Will Ferrell tapped by Mardi Gras parade krewe (pbpulse.com)
- Will Ferrell To Reign As ‘God of Wine’ For Mardi Gras 2012 (laist.com)
- Orpheus names Mardi Gras-season celebrity monarchs (seattletimes.nwsource.com)