Hello, Good News! If you love king cakes and Mardi Gras, you might have heard of the famous Randazzo king cakes from New Orleans. These delicious pastries are made with a sweet yeast dough, filled with cinnamon sugar, cream cheese, or other flavors, and topped with colorful icing and sprinkles. They also have a hidden plastic baby inside, which brings good luck to whoever finds it in their slice.
In this article, we will show you how to make a Randazzo king cake at home, using a recipe that is inspired by the original one from Manny Randazzo’s bakery. You will learn about the history and tradition of king cakes, the ingredients and equipment you need, the step-by-step instructions, and some tips and variations to customize your cake. Let’s get started!
What Is a King Cake?
A king cake is a cake that is associated with the celebration of Epiphany or Twelfth Night, which marks the arrival of the three wise men or kings to Bethlehem to visit the baby Jesus. The cake is usually shaped like a ring or a crown, and has a small trinket or figurine hidden inside, often representing the Christ child. The person who gets the piece with the trinket is said to be the “king” or “queen” of the day, and has to host the next party or buy the next cake.
King cakes are popular in many countries around the world, especially in France, Spain, Portugal, Latin America, and New Orleans. The cakes vary in shape, size, flavor, and decoration depending on the region and culture. Some common types of king cakes are:
- The French galette des rois, which is a puff pastry cake filled with frangipane (almond cream) or other fillings. It usually has a paper crown on top and a porcelain or plastic figurine inside.
- The Spanish roscón de reyes, which is a round bread-like cake flavored with orange blossom water and decorated with candied fruits and sugar. It often has a bean or a coin inside.
- The Portuguese bolo rei, which is similar to the Spanish roscón but also has nuts and raisins in the dough. It usually has a dried fava bean and a small metal prize inside.
- The Latin American rosca de reyes, which is also similar to the Spanish roscón but has different fillings and toppings depending on the country. It usually has a plastic baby Jesus inside.
- The New Orleans-style king cake, which is made with a sweet yeast dough filled with cinnamon sugar, cream cheese, or other flavors, and topped with colorful icing and sprinkles. It also has a plastic baby inside.
What Is a Randazzo King Cake?
A Randazzo king cake is a type of New Orleans-style king cake that is famous for its quality and taste. It was created by Manny Randazzo, who learned the art of baking from his grandfather Manuel Randazzo Sr., who owned a bakery in Chalmette since 1965. Manny opened his own bakery in Metairie in 1992, and started making king cakes using his grandfather’s recipe. He soon gained popularity and recognition for his king cakes, which won several awards and were shipped across the country.
A Randazzo king cake is made with a rich and moist dough that is rolled with cinnamon sugar and butter. It is then braided into a ring shape and baked until golden brown. After cooling, it is covered with a creamy white icing that is flavored with vanilla and lemon. The icing is then sprinkled with purple, green, and gold sugar crystals that represent justice, faith, and power respectively. The cake also comes with a plastic baby that is hidden inside one of the slices.
A Randazzo king cake can be ordered online or bought at the bakery during the Carnival season, which runs from January 6 (Epiphany) to Fat Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday). The bakery offers several flavors of fillings for the king cakes, such as cream cheese, apple, lemon, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, pecan praline, Bavarian cream, chocolate cream cheese, peanut butter fudge brownie,
How to Make a Randazzo King Cake at Home
If you want to make your own Randazzo king cake at home, you will need some ingredients and equipment that you can find at most grocery stores or online. Here is what you will need:
- 1/4 cup warm water (about 110°F)
- 1/4 ounce active dry yeast (one packet)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup warm milk (about 110°F)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
- 1 plastic baby figurine (or a dried bean or a coin)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
- Purple, green, and gold sugar crystals for decorating
- A large mixing bowl
- A small mixing bowl
- A wooden spoon or a spatula
- A stand mixer with a dough hook attachment (optional)
- A rolling pin
- A baking sheet
- Parchment paper or a silicone baking mat
- A sharp knife or a pizza cutter
- A wire rack
- A small saucepan or a microwave-safe bowl
- A whisk or a fork
- A pastry brush
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the warm water, yeast, and 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar. Stir well and let it sit for about 10 minutes, or until it becomes foamy.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the warm milk, butter, egg, salt, and the remaining granulated sugar. Stir well until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Add 2 cups of flour to the milk mixture and stir well with a wooden spoon or a spatula until a sticky dough forms. Gradually add the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough is smooth and elastic. You may not need all the flour, depending on the humidity and the brand of flour you use.
- If you have a stand mixer, you can use it to knead the dough with the dough hook attachment for about 10 minutes on low speed, adding more flour as needed. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can knead the dough by hand on a lightly floured surface for about 15 minutes, adding more flour as needed.
- Place the dough in a large greased bowl and cover it with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until it doubles in size.
- In a small saucepan over low heat, or in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave, melt the butter. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pecans if using. Set aside.
- Punch down the dough and transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Roll it into a 12 by 18 inch rectangle. Brush the melted butter evenly over the dough, leaving a 1 inch border around the edges. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly over the buttered area.
- Starting from one of the long sides, roll up the dough tightly like a jelly roll. Pinch the seam and the ends to seal. Gently stretch and shape the dough into a 24 inch long rope. Form it into an oval ring and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Tuck the plastic baby (or the bean or coin) into one of the folds of the dough, making sure it is hidden.
- Cover the ring loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes, or until it is puffy.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake the ring for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it is golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let it cool completely.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla extract, and lemon juice until smooth and thick. Drizzle the icing over the cooled cake. Sprinkle with purple, green, and gold sugar crystals to decorate.
- Cut into slices and serve. Enjoy!
Nutrition Facts of Randazzo King Cake
If you are wondering how many calories are in a slice of Randazzo king cake, here is a table that shows you the nutrition facts per serving (basedon an average recipe that makes 12 servings):
|Nutrient||Amount||% Daily Value|
|Saturated Fat||8.9 g||45%|