A fitting end to any traditional Mardi Gras celebration, this highly recommended recipe originally appeared in January 1990.
Southern Living MARCH 2000
Cook first 4 ingredients in a saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts. Cool mixture to 100° to 110°.
Dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add butter mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until smooth. Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
Stir together 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon; set aside.
Punch dough down; divide in half. Turn 1 portion out onto a lightly floured surface; roll to a 28- x 10-inch rectangle. Spread half each of cinnamon mixture and softened butter on dough. Roll dough, jellyroll fashion, starting at long side. Place dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bring ends together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal. Repeat with remaining dough, cinnamon mixture, and butter.
Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 20 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until golden. Decorate with bands of Colored Frostings, and sprinkle with Colored Sugars.
Note: Once the cake has cooled, randomly insert a plastic baby doll, if desired, before frosting.
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