Buttery King Cake
1/2 cup milk
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 to 4 cups bread flour, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon milk
A plastic doll, 1-inch high
Dried bean or pecan half
Frosting (recipe follows)
Heat 1/2 cup milk until warm (105 to 115 degrees F).
In a large mixer bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Stir in sugar and salt and mix well. Let stand a few minutes, or until bubbly. Add 2 cups of the bread flour, the butter, beaten eggs, lemon peel and nutmeg. With an electric mixer, beat on slow speed until all ingredients are moistened. Beat 3 minutes on medium speed. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until smooth and elastic, adding more bread flour if needed, about 5 minutes. Place dough in well-buttered bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place (80 to 85 degrees F) about 1 1/2 hours, or until dough doubles in volume.
Punch down dough several times to remove air bubbles. Shape into a rope 24 inches long and place on a buttered baking sheet. Pinch the ends together to form a ring. Cover dough with a cloth and let is rise in a warm place until it again doubles in volume, about 1 1/4 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Whisk together the remaining egg and 1 tablespoon milk; gently brush over the top of the dough. Bake 22 to 27 minutes or until golden and cake sounds hollow when lightly tapped. Remove from baking sheet and cool completely on a wire rack. Once the cake is cool, press the doll, dried bean or nut gently into the bottom of the cake so that it is hidden.
3 cups confectioners? sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
Yellow, green and purple decorating sugars
Combine confectioners? sugar, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon milk. Stir with a wire whisk until smooth. If icing is too thick, stir in another 1 tablespoon of milk. Spoon icing over top of ring, allowing it to run down the sides. Sprinkle with colored sugar, creating rows of each color about 1 1/2 inches wide. Repeat all around the ring.
Makes 14 servings.