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
- Warm the milk to about 100 degrees
- Add the butter in small pieces and stir until melted
- Add the egg and whisk to combine.
- Set aside
- 260g flour
- 50g sugar
- 5g yeast
- 2g (1/4 tsp) salt
- Measure dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk to combine.
- Use the paddle attachment, and on low speed, add wet ingredients into dry ingredients until combined.
- Mix on high for 30 seconds, then low for 30 seconds.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Add sugar and mix until well combined. It’s kind of hard at first, but it’ll happen.
- Once it’s all mixed in, use a whisk to soften it up a bit more.
- Measure out the jam.
Step 3: Fill and Shape
- Line a 8″ x 4″ loaf pan with parchment paper
- 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.
- Spread cream cheese mixture onto dough, leaving a 1-inch border on one short end, then add jam on top.
- Starting at the other short side, roll up dough, jelly roll style, pressing the edge to seal.
- Trim ends if they don’t have filling in them.
- Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut roll in half lengthwise.
- Overlap one roll onto the other to form an “x” with cut sides up.
- 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.
- Tuck the two ends underthemselves.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Step 4: Bake
- Bake for 30 – 45 minutes, covering the top if it starts to brown too much. Inside temperature should be 190 degrees.
- 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*
- Mix butter and cream cheese until combined
- Add powdered sugar and mix
- Beat by hand with a whisk to fluff it up a bit
- 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
- 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!