I was in charge of supplying a king cake for Mardi Gras this year at work, and felt like trying to make one rather than drive across town to get one from the bakery (which I thought was nothing special). Normally the king cake stays around all day at my work, but this one was gone within a couple of hours, and people that normally wouldn't eat king cake ate some because it was homemade. They especially loved the rich flavor of the bread, and that it wasn't overly sugary (I went easy on the icing and did not double the filling). I made this twice. Both times I cut the recipe in half (works great if you don't need to feed an army), and used a bread machine for most of the initial work, and did the shaping and final rise as normal. Since it's cold in the winter where I live and room temperature was not enough to raise the bread, I preheated the oven to its lowest temperature, then turned it off, placed a mug of boiling water on the edge of the cookie sheet the bread dough was on, and let the bread rise inside the warm oven. (For me, rising is normally the most difficult part of making yeast bread, and it worked great!) I also brushed egg wash on top (just beat an egg with a tiny bit of milk or water) before baking to give it a nice golden color. This recipe was a great success, and I would even consider making it when it's not Mardi Gras because it's that tasty. Thank you for the awesome recipe.
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I was in charge of supplying a king cake for Mardi Gras this year at work, and felt like...