Recipe Courtesy of Emeril Lagasse.
- 2 envelopes active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup warm milk (about 110°F)
- 5 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 4 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
- 4 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1 plastic king cake baby or a pecan half
- 5 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Purple-, green-, and gold-tinted sugar sprinkles
Directions for Bread:
- Combine the yeast and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the melted butter and warm milk. Beat at low speed for 1 minute.
- With the mixer running, add the egg yolks, then beat for 1 minute at medium-low speed. Add the flour, salt, nutmeg, and lemon zest and beat until everything is incorporated.
- Increase the speed to high and beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, forms a ball, and starts to climb up the dough hook.
- Remove the dough from the bowl. Using your hands, form the dough into a smooth ball. Lightly oil a bowl with the vegetable oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it to oil all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and 1 cup of the confectioner's sugar. Blend by hand or with an electric mixer on low speed. Set aside.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using your fingers, pat it out into a rectangle about 30 inches long and 6 inches wide.
- Spread the filling lengthwise over the bottom half of the dough, then flip the top half of the dough over the filling. Seal the edges, pinching the dough together.
- Shape the dough into a cylinder and place it on the prepared baking sheet seam side down.
- Shape the dough into a ring and pinch the ends together so there isn't a seam. Insert the king cake baby or pecan half into the ring from the bottom so that it is completely hidden by the dough.
- Cover the ring with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm, draft-free place. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Brush the top of the risen cake with 2 tablespoons of the milk. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Directions for Icing:
- Combine the remaining 3 tablespoons milk, the lemon juice, and the remaining 3 cups confectioner's sugar in medium-size mixing bowl. Stir to blend well.
- With a rubber spatula, spread the icing evenly over the top of the cake.
- Sprinkle with the sugar crystals, alternating colors around the cake.
The cake is traditionally cut into 2-inch-thick slices with all the guests in attendance.
YIELD: 20 to 22 servings