Week 91: Mardi Gras Babka

Last year, during Week 43, we made a traditional King Cake, which is more like a yeasted cake than a bread. This year we’re doing a take on the most popular version that is sold in bakeries today, with a rich, sweet, brioche-type dough, a cream cheese filling, and covered with a butter and cream cheese frosting on the top.

Step 1: Make dough

  • 115g (1/2 cup) milk
  • 70g (5 Tbsp) butter, softened/room temperature
  • 1 egg
  1. Warm the milk to about 100 degrees
  2. Add the butter in small pieces and stir until melted
  3. Add the egg and whisk to combine.
  4. Set aside
  • 260g flour
  • 50g sugar
  • 5g yeast
  • 2g (1/4 tsp) salt
  1. Measure dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk to combine.
  2. Use the paddle attachment, and on low speed, add wet ingredients into dry ingredients until combined.
  3. Mix on high for 30 seconds, then low for 30 seconds.
  4. Dough should be soft, but not sticky, when you press your fingers on it. If it’s really sticky, add flour, one tablespoon at a time. Shouldn’t need to add more than 1 or 2.
  5. Scrape dough out and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 2 hours. It won’t double in size like other bread doughs, but it does need to have risen a bit.

Step 2: Make fillings

  • 8 oz cream cheese (1/2 packet) You need the solid block type.
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup blueberry jam
  1. Put cream cheese in a bowl and warm it just a bit so that it softens and is easier to spread, but don’t melt it.
  2. Add sugar and mix until well combined. It’s kind of hard at first, but it’ll happen.
  3. Once it’s all mixed in, use a whisk to soften it up a bit more.
  4. Measure out the jam.

Step 3: Fill and Shape

  1. Line a 8″ x 4″ loaf pan with parchment paper
  2. On a heavily floured surface, roll dough into a 16×12-inch rectangle. If your household is warm, do this on a piece of parchment on an upside-down cookie sheet, so that you can put it in the fridge to stiffen a bit.
  3. Spread cream cheese mixture onto dough, leaving a 1-inch border on one short end, then add jam on top.
  4. Starting at the other short side, roll up dough, jelly roll style, pressing the edge to seal.
  1. Trim ends if they don’t have filling in them.
  2. Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut roll in half lengthwise.
  3. Overlap one roll onto the other to form an “x” with cut sides up.
  4. Carefully twist dough pieces around each other, then lift and place in an 8 x 4″ loaf pan, cut side up. It’ll seem like you can’t lift it, but just do it. It’s okay if it’s messy – once it lands in the pan it’ll be just fine.
  5. Tuck the two ends underthemselves.
  1. Cover and let rise in a warm place about 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Step 4: Bake

  1. Bake for 30 – 45 minutes, covering the top if it starts to brown too much. Inside temperature should be 190 degrees.
  2. Let cool on a wire rack completely before icing

Step 5: Decorate

  • 4 oz butter, softened
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • purple, green ane yellow sugars*
  1. Mix butter and cream cheese until combined
  2. Add powdered sugar and mix
  3. Beat by hand with a whisk to fluff it up a bit
  4. Spreead on top of babka, and decorate with coloured sugars

Homemade coloured sugars

  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • purple, green, yellow liquid food coloring
  1. Use 3 zip-lock bags to make coloured sugar, placing 1/2 cup sugar and 8 drops food colouring in each one. Shake to combine.

I adopted my recipe from Charlie Andrew’s New Orleans Cream Cheese filled King Cake. I highly recommend it, if you want to give it a try!

Comments/Questions

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s