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KING CAKE

Ingredients -
1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
3 1/2 - 4 1/2 cups unsifted flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup warm milk
5 egg yolks
1 stick butter sliced and softened, plus 2 tablespoons
1 egg slightly beaten with a tablespoon of milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
optional - 1 tiny plastic doll (about 1")

Directions -
Pour the warm water into a small bowl and sprinkle yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar into it. Allow the yeast and sugar to rest for three minutes, then mix thoroughly. Set bowl in a warm place for 10 minutes until yeast bubbles up. Combine 3 1/2 cups of flour, remaining sugar, nutmeg and salt and sift into a large mixing bowl. Stir in lemon zest. Form a well in center of mixture and pour in yeast mixture and milk. Add egg yolks and using a wooden spoon, mix dry ingredients into the yeast/milk mixture. When mixture is smooth, beat in 8 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon at a time and continue to beat 2 minutes or until dough can be formed into a medium soft ball. Place ball of dough on floured surface and knead, gradually adding up to 1 cup more of flour. When dough is no longer sticky, knead 10 minutes more until shiny and elastic. Using a pastry brush, coat the inside of a large bowl evenly with one tablespoon softened butter. Place dough ball in the bowl and rotate until the entire surface is buttered. Cover bowl with a heavy kitchen towel and allow dough to rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours or until it doubles in volume. Coat a large baking sheet with one tablespoon of butter and set aside. After the first rising, place the dough on a floured surface and punch it down with a heavy blow. Sprinkle cinnamon, then pat and shape the dough into a long rope. Form a twist by folding the long cylinder in half, end to end, and pinching the ends together, then twisting. Form the twisted dough into a ring and pinch the ends together. Place the completed ring on the buttered baking sheet, cover it with a towel and allow it to rise for 45 minutes or until it doubles in volume. After the ring rises, brush the top and sides of the cake with the egg and milk wash. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and hide the plastic baby in the cake.

Icing (2 parts)

Colored sugar -
Green, purple and yellow paste food coloring
3/4 cup sugar divided into 3 - 1/4 cup portions (for green, yellow and purple). -
Add a tiny amount of the coloring paste to each sugar portion. Try mixing the sugar and coloring paste between your palms for best results. Set aside.

Poured icing -
3/4 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 to 6 tablespoons water
Combine ingredients until smooth, adding more water if it's too thick. Spoon icing over top of cake. Immediately sprinkle on colored sugars, alternating between the three colors. Serve in 2"3" pieces.