To differentiate it from any other King Cake I'm going to call it Justin's Birthday King Cake. The ingredients and instructions are written exactly as they came to me. If I'd have know how well it was going to turn out in advance, I'd've done a tutorial...
For the dough:
1/4 ounce package active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
2 3/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons butter
For the filling:
1 pound cream cheese
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
zest of 1/2 lemon
For the icing:
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk
green, purple, and yellow sanding sugars
Make the dough. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a hook, combine yeast, 1/2 teaspoon of the sugar, and 1/4 cup water heated to 115 (tepid). Stir to combine and let sit until foamy, about ten minutes. Add remaining sugar, milk, light brown sugar, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk. Beat on low speed until thoroughly combined, approximately one minute. Turn mixer off and add flour and salt. Mix on medium speed until the dough just comes together. Turn mixer speed to high and knead dough for four minutes. Add the butter and continue kneading until dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about six minutes. Remove bowl from mixer, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Combine cream cheese, brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon, salt, and zest in a large bowl and beat on medium speed of a hand mixer until combined, set aside.
Punch down dough and turn it out onto a heavily floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a large circle, about 1/4 inch thick. Cut a hole in the center of the circle and pull with your fingers to widen. Place dollops of filling evenly around circle halfway between outer edge and inner hole. Drape outside edge over filling and continue rolling outside inward until filling is covered, widening inner hole as needed until dough covers the seam. Transfer rolled dough circle to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for one hour. Heat oven to 350. Uncover cake and bake until golden brown, about thirty minutes. Let cool completely.
Make the icing: Whisk together the sugar and buttermilk in a small bowl until smooth. Transfer king cake to a cutting board or serving platter; spread icing evenly over top of cake and sprinkle evenly with sanding sugars.
A foodie mentioned on FB the other day that she found sanding sugar on sale and bought it. I was stunned. Amazed. People buy sanding sugar? Seriously? NNNNnnnaw... Put enough granulated sugar for the task in a ziploc bag and drop in a drop of color. Massage/shake/ mix the bag until the coloring is distributed. Voila! Sanding sugar.
The squeeze bottles didn't work well at all for getting the sugar on the cake.
That's just a little FYI so you don't think it might!
The buttermilk icing is very thick and almost wasn't enough to cover the cake. ohhh wow! I'd never made a drizzle with buttermilk before and was very pleasantly surprised to find it was delicious! When you make yours, go ahead and increase the buttermilk a few drops.
There are a few things I'd tweak about the filling recipe:
Maybe, since I live in the Deep South, I don't exactly know what the maple syrup is doing in here. I couldn't taste it at all so next time, I'm leaving it completely out. The Chinese cinnamon came from Penzey's spices and was absolutely the cat's meow! I'm so grateful to my cousin that brought me four different kinds of ground cinnamon from Penzey's -- I love and can discern them all now. Maybe the lemon zest was supposed to be barely tasted? I think I did because I knew it was in there. It didn't do anything. The magic of the filling is the brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans, and cream cheese working together. I'm pretty sure I'm going to leave it at that next time.
Annnnyways. It's almost midnight... I'm going to set all the dry ingredients out tonight so I can put together another one after church tomorrow. Try one in your own kitchen. And don't forget the baby! I forgot the baby. Enjoy!