I do love a good King Cake but the traditional way of making them can be pretty time consuming. I've had so many things going on the past few weeks that I just couldn't commit to several hours of baking so I decided to go the nontraditional route.
I was able to find a great recipe on the food blog Baking Bites; I made a few changes & viola:
The Deliciously Easy King Cake
(adapted from Baking Bites)
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk (I used skim), warm (100-110F)
1/4 cup canola oil
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
12-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp flour
1 egg yolk
1 jar strawberry preserves (optional)
Combine in a small bowl...whisking until smooth. Apply liberally to cake. While icing is still wet top with colored sprinkles.
Grease a 10-inch bundt pan well with butter or cooking spray.
In a large bowl of an electric stand mixer, combine 3/4 cup flour, sugar, yeast, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir to combine.
Add in warm milk and oil, then beat mixture for 2 minutes at medium speed. The paddle attachment works the best for this recipe. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, waiting until each has been fully incorporated to add the next. Add in the vanilla extract and an additional 1/2 cup of flour and beat for 2 more minutes at medium-high speed.
Stir in all remaining flour (creating a thick batter, rather than a standard dough), then cover the bowl and let rest for 10 minutes while you make the filling.
For the filling, mix together all ingredients in a medium bowl at high speed until smooth and fluffy. (not the preserves if using)
Pour half of the dough into the prepared bundt pan. Using a spoon, add dollops of cream cheese filling to the pan to create a ring in the middle of the bread dough. Top cream cheese with preserves if using. Pour remaining batter into pan, trying to cover most or all of the cream cheese filling. The batter will not be very high in the pan at this point. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F.
Bake king cake for 30 minutes. Bread will be golden and should spring back when lightly touched.
Turn cake out of pan onto a wire cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting.
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp water
various colored sprinkles
Combine first three ingredients in a small bowl...whisking until smooth. Apply liberally to cake. While icing is still wet top with colored sprinkles.