Every good Mardi Gras party ends with a king cake, which traditionally holds a baby figurine inside that represents the Christ child. Whoever finds the baby enjoys good luck the following year--and must prepare the cake for next year's celebration. These miniatures are a twist on the classic dessert.
1/2 cup warm whole milk (110°)
2 (1/4-ounce) packages dry yeast
1/3 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
3 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons hot water
Purple, green, and yellow sugar sprinkles
How to Make It
Combine milk, yeast, and 1/4 cup sugar in a bowl. Stir well, and set in a warm place for about 10 minutes. In another bowl, combine butter and next 3 ingredients; stir in 2 teaspoons lemon juice.
Combine flours, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and kosher salt in a large mixing bowl. Add milk mixture and butter mixture, and beat, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons flour if dough is too sticky, until dough is smooth and forms a shaggy mass. (It should remain soft.)
Place dough in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover with a kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down, and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll dough into a 12- x 8-inch rectangle. Combine remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 4 teaspoons sugar, and sprinkle evenly over dough. Roll dough into a log, and cut into 12 equal pieces. Places pieces into paper baking cups in a muffin pan; let rest 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°. Brush cupcake tops with beaten egg, and bake 20 minutes. Remove from pan, and let cool on wire rack. Combine powdered sugar, water, and remaining 1 teaspoon lemon juice in a small bowl. Drizzle over cooled cupcakes, and top with sprinkles.
Recipe courtesy of Louisiana native David Guas of Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery in Arlington, Virginia
Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery, Arlington, Virginia