A Homemade King Cake

I live life in the future.  As in, my body might be in the present, but my mind is one week, two weeks, three weeks, A MONTH in the future.  Lots of times, this is not ideal.  Like when I’m turning onto the highway, thinking about what kind of Oscars snacks I wanna eat and completely miss the fact that the highway is at A DEAD STOP and I should have noticed BEFORE I got in the turn lane because now it’s too late.

But other times, like when I stumble across a King Cake recipe two months before Mardi Gras, and have ample time to buy plastic babies online, locate purple glitter and carve myself out an entire day to make said cake, then my tendency to live in the future really comes in handy.  It just means I’ve got my shit together  I’m mentally and physically prepared for stuff.  Or that’s what I’m telling myself, at least 🙂

Anyway, I found this King Cake recipe on Joy the Baker’s website and though she’s not a New Orleans native, she lived in the French Quarter for a bit, which I think accelerates your NOLA cred, AND I felt good about getting a cake recipe from someone with “the Baker” in their title.  Also, she adapted her recipe from John Besh’s and I feel like he probably knows his way around a King Cake.  This is all to say, I felt like this was a recipe I trusted.  And after using it with success, I 100% recommend it.

Yeast scares the heck out of me but this dough rose just as it was supposed to and OH MY GOD, it smelled HEAVENLY.  Better than the $1 cinnamon buns smelled at IKEA the day before.

I tried mixing the filling (with perfectly softened butter!) with a spoon and then said “forget it!” and used my hands.  It was oddly satisfying and also felt like the best sugar scrub when I washed it off afterwards.  

The dough didn’t give me ANY trouble when I rolled it out, spread it with cinnamon-sugar butter and re-rolled it.  HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF.

Would you believe this was my first braided bread attempt?  Okay, my end connecting could use some work, but otherwise I was pretty proud of myself.  I let this rise for half an hour and took myself on a run, because: balance!

Baked it for about 5 minutes longer than the recipe said and it was nice and toasty looking on the outside but so tender and soft on the inside.  Bakers always be saying “don’t be afraid to let your dough get some color” and I was afraid but it all turned out just fine.

Once it was fully cooled (and my house smelled fully intoxicating), I mixed up the glaze, which honestly seemed just a tad too thin, and poured it over.  Cut to Joey and I spooning it from the sides back over the top for several minutes.  There was a glaze jacuzzi in the middle that I wanted to swim in.  Then sprinkles, sprinkles, sprinkles.  They were all different coarsenesses (is that a word?), but whatever!

Joey directed me where to cut the first piece and I hit that baby, even though I was the one who put it in and should have known exactly where it was.  Doh!

Honestly, I was so excited for this little King Cake project and it couldn’t have gone better.  It was surprisingly easy and totally paid off because this tasted so good!  I’m trying to think back on all the King Cakes I’ve eaten in this life — no joke, when my sister and I went to Mardi Gras in 2012, we ate something like five different King Cakes — and I feel like most have been of the soft bread-y texture.  This one definitely had more of a crispy exterior, but I kinda LOVED that about it!  Mostly, I’m excited to know I don’t have to debate shelling out a bunch of money to ship myself one from NOLA every year, because I can just make one myself.

Also, I had lunch with my mom yesterday and gave her a big old piece and it made my heart so happy to share a piece of New Orleans with the person who passed her love for that city down to me ♥

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Weekend Things

Truth is, I got lots and lots of thoughts, moments and images floating around in this brain of mine today.  And I’m trying to find a way to share them all without writing a post that goes on and on and on.  Sometimes, when I recap all the bigger things that happen over the weekend, I completely miss/forget the little ones.  The song that played in the car on our way to the grocery store or a movie we had on in the background while I made a King Cake.

So I’m gonna do my best to share those little moments (as well as the bigger ones) from this weekend.  If you really think about it, they’re equally important.

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Friday

We skipped out early and, because the sun was shining, the weather was perfect and a hint of spring was in the air, decided to head to happy hour.  We tried to go to The Way Back but they were closed for a private event so Root Down it was!  Not complaining though 🙂  Afterwards, we settled in to watch Arrival and while it was thought-provoking, neither of us were blown away by the movie.

Little Moments:

Pulling into the liquor store parking lot to make a serious pro/con list for going out vs. mixing up cocktails and cooking dinner at home

Eating the BEST EVER lamb slider with stars in our eyes and trying to figure out what old movie was playing on the projector screen in the bar

Mid-movie popcorn snack

Trying to figure out what exactly that movie was about

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Saturday

We woke up and made blueberry-buttermilk waffles with cinnamon sugar and don’t get me wrong, they were perfectly blueberried and crispy but I’ll take all future waffles with maple syrup, please.  Spent the afternoon shopping for groceries, a rug (we mustered the strength to make a trip to IKEA and I think it majorly paid off!), purple sprinkles and white wine then spent the night at home, making dinner, drinking that white wine and watching the very last of the Oscar Best Picture nominees: Hacksaw Ridge.  I tweeted my movie rankings but I think I might dedicate a full post to that before this coming Sunday so stay tuned 🙂

Little Moments

Joey telling me he’s a professional “waffle maker heater up-er”

Watching batter ooze out of the side of the waffle maker… noooooo!

Watching the cast of The Kitchen make a brownie bombe

Looking across the produce section to see Joey just standing there staring at our grocery list

An older couple calling out “WHERE ARE YOU?!” to each other in the IKEA parking lot

Joey begging me to buy him a $1 hot dog

Carrying a 4-pack of Melvin Citradamus back to the car while Joey carried a bottle of wine — to hell with gender stereotypes 

Semi-watching pieces of Finding Nemo, Cars, Knocked Up (“… with emotion??) and 21 Jump Street (“you do have the right to be an attorney, if you want”)

Caramelizing onions in white wine (THAT SMELL) while Joey set up our new bedroom rug and installed our over-the-sink light

Laughing SO HARD at that scene in Hacksaw Ridge where Andrew Garfield slo-mo slaps a grenade 

A bite of Joey’s ice cream ♥

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Sunday

We woke up Sunday and decided to venture out East (jk, it’s just Stapleton :P) to have breakfast at Four Friends Kitchen.  Backstory: our company did some work on this restaurant when it was built and we attempted to have Mother’s Day brunch here last year but we’d never successfully eaten there.  FINALLY FINALLY!  And it was KILLER.  Everything was so so good and we couldn’t stop talking about it.  We already can’t wait to go back.

I could detail all the things I did in (and a few things out of) the kitchen post-breakfast, but it’s probably better if I just list them.  So:

  • MADE A KING CAKE (first and foremost!)
  • Prepped the crock pot for Slow Cooker Beef Carnitas Tacos
  • Made a new batch of kombucha — pineapple coconut is either gonna be very weird or very good
  • Went for a run in perfect weather
  • Made salad jars for lunch this week
  • Cooked dinner
  • Collapsed on the couch

I’m dying to tell you all about that King Cake but as I’ve been blabbing on long enough as it is, I’m going to do that later this week 🙂  Just know that Joey and I both posted pictures of it and I’ve already been asked twice if I’m pregnant.  I’M NOT.  But I am loving my first try at homemade King Cake ♥♥♥

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Little Moments

Joey Etch A Sketch-ing me a picture of bacon while we waited for a table at breakfast

Rocking out to “The Bird and the Worm” on the way home and realizing I may have had too much coffee at breakfast

The smell of cinnamon and nutmeg in the world’s softest dough — you can’t even imagine!

Sticking my nose over the little steam hole on the crock pot to sniff the deliciousness going on inside

Joey magically popping in from whatever outdoor project he was working on every time the sink got too full of dishes 

Imagining what the Mexican restaurant that recently closed in our neighborhood will become instead — our vote’s for pizza or, ya know, if Root Down could just relocate  

Watching bits and pieces of Superbad (“Miss each other? No thank you, I don’t miss each other) but also, just listening to Joey laugh while watching it

Cutting into that King Cake and hitting that damn baby on the first slice!

This weekend was a good one 🙂