King's Cake with Almonds and Candied Citrus Zest

Serves 12 to 16

This rich bread-like cake is traditionally served in Mexico on January 6th, Three Kings Day. A coin or small figurine is baked into this ring-shaped cake. Traditionally, whoever finds the hidden treasure in their piece of cake must host a party on Candelmas Day, February 2nd. Serve King's Cake with coffee or hot chocolate. Leftover slices are lovely toasted and served for breakfast.

Ingredients: 
  • 1 (0.25-ounce) packet active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 6 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter (12 tablespoons), melted and cooled, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 3/4 cup toasted sliced almonds, divided
  • 5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Coin or small figurine, (optional)
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Method: 

In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast over milk and set aside for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, eggs, 8 tablespoons of the butter, salt and vanilla and almond extracts until frothy. Add yeast mixture and whisk until well combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in 1 1/4 cups of the toasted almonds. Begin to work flour into egg mixture 1 cup at a time, until a wet dough is formed (amount of flour used will depend on size of eggs and humidity of air). Dough should be slightly sticky, yet firm enough to handle. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly for 5 minutes. Brush a large clean bowl with 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter, then place dough in bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise until doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes.

Meanwhile, using a vegetable peeler, peel long strips of zest from lemon and orange. Take care to remove as little of the white pith as possible. Cut zest into thin strips, then transfer to a small saucepan. Add 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Strain out zest and transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon granulated sugar. Set zest and citrus syrup aside.

When dough has risen, uncover bowl, punch down dough and let rest for 5 minutes. Use 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter to grease a large piece of parchment paper and your hands. Turn dough out onto buttered parchment, then use your hands to divide dough into two equal portions and shape into two 18-inch logs. Twist logs over one another to create a rope, then circle ends together to create a ring and pinch together. Tuck coin or figurine into the ring, if using. Brush lightly with 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F and move rack to center of oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from oven and brush with remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Set aside on rack to cool completely, then brush with reserved citrus syrup and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup toasted almonds and reserved citrus zest.

Nutritional Info: 
Per Serving:430 calories (170 from fat), 18g total fat, 8g saturated fat, 120mg cholesterol, 60mg sodium, 56g carbohydrate (3g dietary fiber, 16g sugar), 11g protein
Special Diets: 

Note: We've provided special diet and nutritional information for educational purposes. But remember — we're cooks, not doctors! You should follow the advice of your health-care provider. And since product formulations change, check product labels for the most recent ingredient information. See our Terms of Service.

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