Friday, February 19, 2010


I first got introduced to New Orleans when I started reading Anne Rice's novels on the Mayfair Witches. I remember how much I loved the context in which the story was told and how much magnificent NOLA was so poetically depicted...

The scent of the place, it's incomparable atmosphere entwined with a long as well as tragic history of slavery and Fr
ench bourgeoisie, it's fascinating old houses as well as it's musical background and vibrantly exotic exhuberance are all so well described in the writings of Anne Rice. For all those reasons, for me, New Orleans is synonymous with mystery, eery religious practices, good food, romantism as well as cheerfulness. It is a destination that makes me fanticize.

"The doctor had never been inside an antebellum mansion until that spring in New Orleans. And the old house really did have white fluted columns on the front...Greek Revival style they call it -- a long violet-gray town house on a dark shady corner in the Garden District, it's front gate guarded it seemed by two enormous oaks.

The iron lace railings were made in a rose pattern and much festooned with vines; purple wisteria, the yellow Virginia creeper and bougainvillea of a dark, incandescent pink....Always he paused at the largest tree that had lifted the iron fence with its bulbous roots. He could not have gotten his arms around the trunk of it. It reached all the way from the pavement to the house itself, twisted limbs clawing at the shuttered windows beyond the banisters, leaves enmeshed with the flowering vines."

- Excerpt from "The Witching Hour" by Anne Rice (p. 5) -

I also remember that, while reading the Mayfair Witches chronicles, her tales about Mardi Gras transported me entirely . It is no wonder if, when flipping through my Culinaria "The United Staes: a Culinary Discovery" cookbook, my attention was drawn towards that buoyantly colored brioche bread that is only made during the period which follows Three Kings Day or the Epiphany (6th of January) and ends with Mardi Gras Day or Fat Tuesday (around the middle of February).

This treat comes in various styles (simple ring, three-braided ring, four-braided ring, etc...) and with many different fillings (cream cheese, praline, apple, raspberry & cream cheese, chocolate, pecan, etc...). While the common "King Cake" is baked in an oven, the Cajun version is deep-fried just like a doughnut would be. "King Cakes" are always topped with sugar granules in the official Carnival colors of purple (passion of Christ), green (hope) and gold (rewards of leading a Christian life). A small plastic baby is hidden inside and it has become customary in the New Orleans culture that whoever finds the trinket must provide the next "King Cake".

After never really getting round to making a "King Cake", this year, I finally decided to overcome my ungrounded fears and baked that Louisiana-style delicacy with much success. Needless to say that although it took me two days to make, it disappeared in an even shorter lapse of time!

This New Orleans sinfully sweet carnival treat is so marvelous and festive that you can't get your hands off it! There is nothing better than a fresh slice of fragrantly yeasty brioche bread which's ooey gooey heart releases the most delightful flavors of cinnamon, roasted pecans, whiskey and is is covered with a crispy, yet melty layer of icing. Irresistible!

For those who are interested in learning a little more about the history and traditions of Mardi Gras "King Cake", I invite you to check out the following links: King Cake - A Rich Tradition, History Of the King Cake & Mardi Gras King Cakes.

In Switzerland, the Catholic cantons also celebrate the carnival. The following videos and article might give you an insight: Saveur Magazine - Basel Carnival, The Morgenstreich - Basel Carnival, The Lights Go Out - Basel Carnival & The Tschäggättä - In Lötschental, Wallis (see my article on the subject).

This post is also for YeastSpotting.

~ Mardi Gras King Cake ~
Recipe taken from Food Network and slightly adapted by Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums 2010.

Makes 1 King Cake.

Ingredients for the "Cake":
1/3 Cup Milk
1 Package active dry yeast
2 1/2 Cups Bread flour, plus more for dusting
2 Large egg yolks
2 Large eggs
3 Tbs Granulated sugar Finely grated zest of
1 organic lemon
1 Tsp Sea salt
1/2 Tsp Freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 Sticks (180g) Unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the bowl
Ingredients for the "Filling":
1/2 Cup Golden raisins
1/4 Cup Bourbon
3/4 Cup Packed light brown sugar
2/3 Cup Toasted pecans, chopped
1 Tsp Pure vanilla extract
1 Tsp Ground cinnamon
2 Tsp Grated orange zest (organic)
1/4 Tsp Sea salt
1 Dry bean or plastic King Cake baby
Ingredients for the "Glaze":
1 Cup Confectioners' sugar
Purple, green and gold sanding sugar, for decorating

Method for the "Cake":
1. Heat the milk in a saucepan until scalding; transfer to a food processor, add the yeast and pulse to combine.
2. Add 1/2 cup flour and the egg yolks; process to combine. Pour the remaining 2 cups flour evenly over the yeast mixture; do not process. Put the lid on; set aside for 90 minutes.
3. Add the 2 whole eggs, granulated sugar, lemon zest, salt and nutmeg to the food processor; process to make a slightly textured dough, about 1 minute.
4. With the machine running, slowly add the butter to make a smooth, sticky dough. once the butter has been incorporate, stop mixing.
5. Transfer the dough to a lightly buttered bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place for 3 hours.
6. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and knead briefly; form into a ball and return to the bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
Method for the "Filling":
1. Plump the raisins in the bourbon in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and add the brown sugar, pecans, vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest, salt and the bean or plastic baby; mix until combined and set aside.
2. On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 20-by-7-inch rectangle, with the long edge facing you. Spoon the filling in an even layer over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border along the top and bottom. Fold the bottom and then the top edge over the filling to make a tight roll; pinch to seal.
3. Transfer the roll seam-side down to a parchment-lined baking sheet; tuck one end into the other to form a ring
4. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the roll doubles in size, about 2 hours.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cake until firm and golden brown, about 40 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Method for the "Glaze":
1. Mix 6 tablespoons water with the confectioners' sugar; brush 2/3 of the glaze over the cake.
2. Sprinkle with bands of colored sugar; drizzle with more glaze.

Instead of preparing a cake that is made with a single roll, I made three little rolls and braided them before my cake into a crown (see video).

Serving suggestions:
This cake is to be enjoyed without moderation, at any time of the day or night.
It is better to eat your "King Cake" quite rapidly (I guess that'll not be a problem as it might very well not make it to the next day LOL), otherwise it might dry u
p and loose it's moisture.


~ Gâteau Du Roi ~
Recette prise sur le site Food Network et adaptée par Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums 2010.

Pour 1 brioche.

Ingrédients pour la "Brioche":
80ml de Lait
1 Paquet (7g) de levure en poudre
350g de Farine à pain et plus pour saupoudrer le plan de travail
2 Gros jaunes d'oeufs
2 Gros oeufs entiers

3 CS de Sucre cristallisé
Le zeste d'un citron bio
1 CC de Sel de mer
1/2 CC de Noix de muscade fraîchement râpée
180g de Beurre non-salé, battu en pommade et plus pour beurrer le bol
Ingrédients pour la "Garniture":
80g de Raisins blonds
60ml de Whisky
180g de Sucre brun (bien tassée)
80g de Noix de pécan torréfiées et hachées grossièrement
1 CC d'Extrait de vanille pure
1 CC de Cannelle en poudre
2 CC de Zeste d'orange bio
1/4 de CC de Sel de mer
1 Fève (en forme de bébé si possible)
Ingrédients pour le "Glaçage":
120g de Sucre en poudre
Des paillettes en sucre de couleur violette, verte et jaune

Méthode pour la "Brioche":
1. Chauffer le lait dans une casserole afin qu'il soit à température du corps (pas plus). Le mettre dans le bol du mixer et ajouter la levure, puis bien mélanger.
2. Ajouter 70g de farine et les jaunes d'oeufs. Mélanger à l'aide de la spatule mélangeuse du mixer. Bien répartir sur le dessus le reste de la farine. Ne pas mélanger. Couvrir et laisser reposer pendant 90 minutes.

3. Ajouter les 2 oeufs entiers, le sucre cristallisé, le zeste de citron, le sel et la muscade. Mixer avec le crochet à pain pendant 1 minute.
4. Tout en continuant de pétrir la pâte, ajouter le beurre afin d'obtenir une pâte collante et lisse. Pétrir juste assez afin que le beurre soit incorporé.
5. Mettre la pâte dans un grand bol beurré et recouvrir avec du film plastique. Laisser lever dans un endroit chaud pendant 3 heures.
6. Sortir la pâte du bol, la pétrir légèrement . Former une boule et la remettre dans le bol. Couvrir avec un film plastique et entreposer au frigo pendant 8 heures ou tout une nuit. Méthod pour la "Garniture":
1. Mettre les raisins et le whisky dans une petite casserole, à feu moyen, afin de les réhydrater. Enlever la casserole du feu et ajouter le sucre brun, les noix, la vanille, la cannelle, le zeste d'orange, le sel et la fève. Bien mélanger et mettre de côté.
2. Sur une surface enfarinée, rouler la pâte afin d'obtenir un rectangle de 50 x 18cm (la pâte doit être face à vous en longueur). Disposer la garniture en laissant un bord de 2cm de chaque côté. Plier le partie inférieur en la rabattant vers le milieu et replier la partie supérieure dessus afin d'obtenir un beau boudin serré. Pincer afin de sceller.
3. Mettre le boudin (avec la commissure dessous) sur une plaque recouverte de papier sulfurisé et superposer les deux bouts afin d'obtenir une couronne.
4. Couvrir avec une feuille de plastique alimentaire et mettre de côté, pendant 2 heures ou jusqu'à ce que la couronne ait doublé de volume.
5. Préchauffer le four à 180° C. Cuire la brioche jusqu'à ce qu'elle sonne creux et soit dorée, environ 40 minutes. Laisser refroidir sur une grille.

Méthode pour le "Glaçage":
1. Mélanger 6 cuillères à soupe d'eau avec le sucre en poudre. Glacer la brioche à l'aide d'un pinceau et garder une petite quantité pour la finition.
2. Saupoudrer avec le sucre coloré (faire des bandes distinctes). Faire couler le reste du glaçage sur le dessus du gâteau.

J'ai formé trois boudins que j'ai tressé avant de former la couronne (voir vidéo).

Idées de présentation:
A manger sans modération, à n'importe quelle heure de la nuit et du jour.
Il est préférable de consommer ce gâteau assez rapidemment (je ne pens
e pas que ça sera un problème) afin qu'il ne déssèche pas.


  1. Superbe ton gâteau Rosa , je ne me ferait pas prier pour le manger ..
    Bon week-end

  2. What an interesting post full of mystery and intrigue Rosa...some day I will have some KIng Cake.

  3. It is so good to see such intense colours when outside is so grey!

  4. ..c'est ben donc bo!! tu partages avec moi dis?? vendredi ma belle Rosa;)

    ~nancy xx

  5. It looks so delicious! I'm so jealous and wish I had a king cake in my house right now!

  6. Gorgeous cake Rosa. It tastes wonderful as well.
    Happy weekend,

  7. Vibrantly festive! A wonderful cake for parties. Bet it tastes great, too.

  8. That looks perfect for breakfast, wish I had a big plate right now. I love Anne Rice too and must make an effort to get over there to sample the famous foods! Lovely story and gorgeous photos as always...

  9. Your king cake looks spectacular! So colorful and festive, just perfect!

  10. Great post! I also enjoying reading Anne Rice, with the witch books being my favorites. New Orleans is a wonderful city; I hope you'll be able to visit one day.

  11. Wow, I love this. This colourful king cake looks gorgeous.

  12. Not only fantastic cake but suc fantastic sweet pics Rosa's....

    Cheers and yeah i did have a great valentines and hope u did too...


  13. rosaaaaaaaaaaaaa king cake looks colorful and delicious :) your sprinkle are funny:)

  14. wow this looks wonderful! i love the colors!

  15. I haven't read any Anne Rice for ages but you reminded me how wonderful her prose is! I'd never heard of this amazing cake before; the colours look so amazing and it's so festive and cheering in this cold season. Amazing photos, have a great weekend!

  16. Wow, this is a wonderful looking cake!

  17. I love how it looks. Its very colorful!

  18. Quelle belle brioche, je salive!!!

  19. Only a cake from 'Nawlins could be this colouful and this festive...a party on the plate!

  20. Looks so colorful! I should try making this one day.

  21. Absolutely intriguing Rosa. Thank you for all the informative links but most of all, your King Cake is glorious!!! Magnificent!!!

    I'm going to "grab" this link to include in a post I did a while back for Epiphany. Thank you so much for sharing...

  22. Love the new layout! Gorgeous blackberry!!

  23. what a great post! this is a delicious and colorful cake, perfect for the occasion!

  24. Rosa, I luuuve those montage-photos!!! and I always want to try the king cake... we have something very similar in here, look very delicious!

  25. what a lovely colorful cake! It certainly looks festive, and I'm sure it tastes like that as well :)

  26. despite my diet and my breast-feeding baby I must have this :)
    thanking to you I'm considering to translate all my post and keeping in touch again with my foreign friends.
    have the best ever week-end

  27. Living in the US it would have never occurred to me to make this bread, since it can be found at every store and bakery in town. I am sure it tastes 100 times better homemade of course! Nice story about New orleans, it is one of my favorite cities in the US

  28. The cake is gorgeous! Love the splashes of colours..

  29. oh, very nicely done, rosa! this is a classic, and yours is beautiful.

  30. Gorgeous king cake! I have seen so make photos of them but never tried it.

  31. So pretty! Now I want to read those books.. :)

  32. Make me feel like dancing seeing this colourful cake :D

  33. Impressed to see such intense colors, love it!

  34. Great post, Rosa! Your king cake looks absolutely vibrant and colorful!

  35. salut rosa en core une beauté culinaire chez toi lag arniture me plait bcp Pierre

  36. I've actually never tried Mardi Gras cake, but I love looking at it! It's always so colorful and fun!

  37. très sympathique ce gâteau du roi, j'aime bien les couleurs

  38. what a nice cake...
    I never tried baking one... I have to give it a try ... Love the story
    and your photos

  39. I love the colours of your King Cake! Interesting article :)

  40. I was very lucky to be able to try this cake and it was delicious! :D

  41. Wow! Tout un gâteau de célébration bien en couleurs.

    Bon dimanche


  42. Beautiful Stuff !! I Would love to try this cake sometime !!

  43. très colorée et j'imagine que c'est tellement délicieuse, j'adore
    bonne soirée

  44. Très interessant ce gâteau de Carnaval, je l'avais déjà vu mais je n'ai pas encore tenté..Tu me donnes bien envie!Bisous.

  45. Bakes are always extra special when they have true meaning, so I loved reading about your cake! It looks so pretty and totally irresistible :)

  46. I love King Cake, but I love The Mayfair Witches SO much -- just discovered them last year, can you believe it?

  47. Rosa this look georgeous and yummy!

  48. I just love those lovely striking colours! amazing for the eyes! :) lovely

  49. Thats such a lovely colorful.Looks great.I've never heard abt it...looks great Rosa!

  50. This looks wonderful Rosa - so bright and cheerful.

  51. It has the right name and deserves a big crown.
    Awesome cake, loved all the work.
    Fabulous and delicious for sure.
    Have a great week x

  52. Rosa, I love your energy!! Yes, I could only imagine how hard it is to keep your hands off that King Cake. I love the story behind this cake.
    Went to New Orleans once, thrilling, intriguing & inspiring for all of the reasons you mentioned! So rich with culture and history.
    Great music selection on your blog. I need to poke around more, first timer. Gonna add you to my RSS now :)

  53. So beautiful cake Rosa, I adore the lovely colors and the history behind this King cake!

    Have a great week!

  54. GREAT job!!!!! I made several king cakes again this year, they go fast!!

  55. i love them, in spain we have this tradition as well, they are moist and sweet and delicious, yours looks amazing, i wish i had a piece right now, cheers!

  56. Superbe avec ses belles couleurs de Carnaval ! j'aime !

  57. very beautiful, with very unique filling. Wish I could have some of it now.

  58. C'est superbe !!!!
    Quelle belle réalisation !
    Je te souhaite une très bonne soirée,
    Bisous, Doria

  59. Hope you had a good one!

    You must have, qhich such a delectable cake! Very nice, very colourful!

  60. Beautiful post, Rosa and exquisite cake! I am used to the French gateau des rois made with puff pastry but I think I may like yours better! It's really a beautiful cake! And your filling is indeed intriguing and so unusual. I must make your recipe next year (or sooner!).

  61. je suis sous le charme de ce gâteau très original!

  62. une brioche toutes en couleur que tu me fais découvrir !!!
    merci à toi et bonne après midi


  63. Fabulous! And I adore the colored glaze so much.

  64. This is such a festive cake :D

  65. Pour sûr il n'aurait pas le temps de se perdre chez moi, il est sublime!
    Bises, bonne soirée

  66. Il faut que j'essaye ça ! La garniture m'interpelle ! ;o)

  67. That cake looks really good with all of those colours! It certainly would be nice to visit New Orleans to enjoy the food.

  68. Your cake looks scrumptious and worthy of its name.

  69. 2 jours pour le preparer, 5 minutes pour le devorer :) C'est toujours comme ca n'est-ce pas?
    Les couleurs sont vraiment impressionnantes.

  70. Rosa I have to tell you you have really outdone yourself with this cake!
    I'm sure you would be welcomed down (NAWLINS.. New Orleans) with open arms! I will tell you that this cake in New Orleans is serious business.
    especially during Mardi Gras! and they can be really expensive! so Congrats on a truly wonderful and historical post!

  71. Aren't books/food the best! Especially the ones that inspire you! This cake is gorgeous!

  72. Bien originale cette brioche et certainement pleine de saveurs

  73. I made a King Cake last year for our foster children. They had so much fun with it! We selected some small toys to put in the cake so that everyone got a prize (instead of just one getting the baby). The girls loved it!

    Beautiful pictures!


  74. Magnifiques, les couleurs, la douceur, la brioche moelleuse, et les photos... Mille bises de Hte Savoie !!

  75. Oh wow - I love this! Gorgeous colours. Fab!

  76. Haha, we still have some king cake leftover from last week. Haven't found the baby yet. Maybe I need to take it out of the fridge and serve it up and find that baby!

  77. What a colourful cake! I love the flavours in it - sounds wonderful for a morning or afternoon tea.

  78. I am yet to try Anna rice's book. It sounds like my kind of book with descriptive prose.
    THe King's cake certainly looks regal. Loved the colours. Cant beleive its your first attempt!

  79. Your cake looks so festive, the colors are fabulous!

  80. King cake usually doesn't appeal to me but yours looks really good.

    Happy Friday, Rosa!

  81. Two days to make a cake?! Wow! But the end result is spectacular, especially with those Technicolor hues.

  82. The cake looks so colorful and delicious. Would love to try it some day.

  83. Que de couleurs!! Elle est drôlement appétissante ta brioche!!

  84. Oh how delicious! Yeasted sweets are some of my favorites.

  85. je n'ai jamais fait de gâteau des rois, chaque année au moment de l'Épiphanie je me promets d'essayer, et le temps passe, et je n'en fais jamais; aujourd'hui Mardi Gras en France, je suis dans les beignets. C'est quand même une belle periode pour les gourmandes!