Thursday, February 26, 2009

Baby Torso

On Tuesday, a friend of mine and I showed up at a party in Brooklyn with a plastic baby, some dough rising in a bowl, some sprinkles, and a walnut-cinnamony-brown sugar sauce.

Have you ever heard of King Cake?

I hadn't until this Tuesday, which was Fat Tuesday, and the party was in honor of Mardi Gras.

King Cake is an old tradition for Mardi Gras, apparently brought over from Europe to the States a LONG time ago. And we, in turn, brought it to the party.

So, while people were mingling, drinking beer, trading mardi gras beads, my friend and I were rolling out the dough, spreading out the walnut-cinnamony-sugar sauce, and breaking the legs off of our plastic baby.

This is the awesome part about this cake (besides the fact that it tastes great). You're supposed to bake a little plastic baby into the cake. I think originally, this was supposed to symbolize the baby Jesus, but now I guess it's just a thing you do when you make King Cake. The only problem was that our plastic baby wasn't so much a baby as it was a toddler, with hair and all, pretty disproportionate to the size of our cake. We were afraid the baby was going to melt, ruining the cake, so we wanted it to be as small as possible so the ruined part would also be as small as possible.
Our solution was to yank the head and break the legs off of this poor doll, leaving us with a torso in a diaper. It rolled up nicely into the cake, though. Once it was out of the oven, icing and sprinkles (traditionally yellow, green, and purple for Mardi Gras) were poured on. The cake was then cut into pieces and lots of slightly intoxicated party people gobbled the cake right up. One girl found the torso in her cake, and was rewarded with being allowed to wear a crown for the rest of the night. Cause it was King Cake. And kings wear crowns.

Vegan King Cake

The guy hosting the party is vegan, so we made it vegan in his honor, the recipe taken from this website. It was scrumptous!

1 package dry active yeast
¼ cup warm water
1 Ts maple syrup
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
1 ts salt
¼ ts nutmeg
3 Ts granulated sugar
6 Ts soy margarine, cut into pieces
3 Ts Egg Replacer Powder mixed with ¼ Ts hot water
¼ cup coconut milk (not “lite” variety), plus more for brushing

¾ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup dairy-free soy margarine, softened
½ cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
½ ts cinnamon
1 plastic baby

1 ½ cup confectioners sugar
½ ts salt
3 Ts warm water

Yellow, Green and Purple Sprinkles
Combine yeast, warm water and maple syrup, mixing gently until the yeast dissolves. Set aside until frothy, about 5 minutes. Combine flour, salt, nutmeg and sugar. Add the soy margarine and mix with a mixer until it resembles fine crumbs. Add this mixture to the yeast, along with the Egg Replacer mixture and coconut milk. Knead, adding flour as necessary, until a soft dough forms. Place in an oiled bowl, covered, for 1 hour, or until the dough has risen to twice its size. To make the filling, combine the brown sugar, soy margarine, chopped pecans and cinnamon in a small bowl.
Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly oil a large baking sheet or round pizza pan.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a large rectangle about 1/8” thick. Spread the cinnamony mixture over the dough, then place the baby on one side of it. Roll the dough into a log, then form into a round shape with a whole in the middle, attaching the two ends to eachother.
7. Brush the cake lightly with coconut milk or soy milk. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow cake to cool slightly.
8. Whisk together the confectioners sugar and salt. Add the warm water and stir vigorously until the mixture is a very thick glaze. Ladle the mixture over the cake in several additions, letting the icing run down the sides. While the icing is still slightly warm, sprinkle the prepared sprinkles over the cake, alternating sections of purple, green and yellow.
Serve and devour. Watch out for little plastic arms.

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