For my Mardi Gras-themed dinner last night, we had “Tropical Storm” Cocktails, Gumbo Pizza, and a King Cake. I used this recipe by Jeanine at thebakingbeauties.com, because I just really like her recipes and after doing some searching I felt like hers might be the best to try. But, it just didn’t work for me. It was quite dry, and huge, and didn’t really remind me at all of the King Cake’s of my youth. However, this was not Jeanine’s fault. I had two things, well three things, playing against me: I don’t have brown rice flour, I always fail at making recipes that resemble cinnamon rolls, and I used my vegan cream cheese rather than real cream cheese. And I put it in a pie plate because I was worried it would expand too much, so it went up too much instead of out, so that’s four things. So really, I effed it up all by myself.
BUT, I did learn some valuable lessons (you can skip to the recipe if you’re not interested, but I promise I’ll be quick). Such as, I suspect that brown rice flour weighs more than white rice flour, meaning a cup of one doesn’t equal a cup of the other. I’ve tried multiple cinnamon roll recipes, all of which call for brown rice flour, and every time I use white instead, my batter is almost straight liquid. In Jeanine’s recipe I had to add an extra half cup of white rice flour and a fourth of a cup of tapioca flour to get a dough that I could easily handle, which is probably why my result was then too dry. But I also over-baked it a little, because by putting it in a pie plate, it had only the space to go up, needing to be cooked longer to get the insides fully done. This made me think that maybe this recipe resulted in a product that was just a little too big. I don’t remember our King Cakes being quite that large anyways, so in setting out for round two, I decided to cut this recipe in half and go from there. I ended up having to omit the pudding mix since I used the only box I had in the previous attempt, but I think it might be worth using if I do this again (I just won’t include it in my ingredient list here since I haven’t tried it yet, for my version of the recipe).
I also learned that for this particular recipe, fake cream cheese ain’t gonna cut it. I had to suffer a little for this baby, but she was worth it. 🙂 (And, as usual, I don’t use gums, but with bread-y recipes like this one, requiring yeast, I do use psyllium husk.)
Also, I couldn’t find purple sprinkles in Boston. Lame. So I bought 3 different colors of icing instead, and went all Jackson Pollock on it. Also, the King Cake babies freak me out, so I omitted that little guy. Sorry.
1 cup white rice flour
1/3 cup of potato starch
1/2 cup of tapioca flour
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons of instant yeast
1 teaspoon of psyllium husk
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup of water
1/4 cup of milk (I used almond)
1 tablespoon of canola oil
1 egg, at room temperature
2 tablespoons of butter or margarine, softened
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
4 ounces of cream cheese
1/4 cup of brown sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/2 cup of chopped pecans (or walnuts, if you happen to find pecans to be too ridiculously more expensive, but either way they’re optional, or can go in the filling rather than on top)
1 cup of powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons of water or milk
Sprinkles or icing in purple, green, and yellow
For the cake, mix all the dry ingredients together, and then add in the liquids. If you have a standing mixer, use the paddle attachment to “knead” it for a few minutes, but using a spatula works just fine. I did a lot of lifting to try and incorporate as much air as I could. This dough should be a little sticky, it’s going to be a pain to work with, but if you add more flour it’ll just come out drier than the Sahara. You’ll curse and scream at it for sticking, but trust me on this one.
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a large pie plate, then set down a piece of parchment paper cut to the size of the pie plate, and grease that as well (I use shortening). Well flour another piece of parchment paper with tapioca flour, and scoop out your dough. (I would suggest pouring a glass of wine right about now.) Lay down either more parchment paper or plastic wrap on top (I would suggest spraying it with a non-flavored cooking spray for best results), and roll out your dough into a large rectangle as best you can, like 6″ by 10″? I think? Gently peel off the top layer of parchment paper/plastic wrap. GENTLY. Take a sip or two, if you haven’t already.
In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, brown sugar and cinnamon (I didn’t use this much cinnamon in my cake, so you couldn’t see my swirl, so I would recommend a good 2 teaspoons, until your filling is considerably darker than your dough). Using the back of a spoon, gently slather your dough with the filling, leaving a gap next to the edge of one of the long (hotdog) sides. You can sprinkle chopped pecans on here at this point, or don’t use them at all, or sprinkle them on top of your finished cake like I did.
Now we begin the rolling process. Lift up the parchment paper on the long (hotdog) side of the dough that has filling all the way to the edge, and begin to gently roll the dough over onto itself. If you well-floured your surface, this might not be too difficult, but you probably will have some tricky spots. You should eventually get a nice tube, which you should gently roll out to be a little thinner and longer by just gently rolling it back and forth with your palms, like when you make playdough worms.
Roll it to the edge of the parchment paper, adding more flour where necessary, and awkwardly lift it up and roll it into your prepared plate. This took some fenagaling, to get it just right and into a fully-formed circle in the center of my pie plate, but I swear it’s possible.
Cover with a piece of plastic wrap, and either let it sit out in a warm spot for 45 minutes OR do the awesome microwave trick: microwave a damp dish towel until steaming hot (2-3 minutes on high), open the microwave, quickly put your pie plate inside and loosely cover with the steaming towel, and then slam the microwave shut. Let sit for 15 minutes in its own personal sauna, and boom. Doubled in size.
If it doesn’t work the first time, just give it another go. I promise it’ll happen.
I then brushed the top of my cake with almond milk, sprinkled a little vanilla bean sugar, and baked for 24 minutes, until a toothpick came out relatively clean. While that cooled, I prepared my glaze (powdered sugar and a little water/milk), which I then drizzled over the entire cake. I sprinkled on the walnuts (pecans) before it hardened so they would stick, and then I decorated with the different color icings (MUST be purple, green, and yellow, or it doesn’t count). Voila.
Store in the fridge, covered in plastic wrap. It’s best if you microwave it to reheat it, eating it straight out of the refrigerator won’t be quite as enjoyable. Gluten-free baked goods don’t last very long after baked, so go ahead and eat it all. You have to, actually, so there.
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