Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Apple King's Cake (Whole Wheat Braided Apple Ring)

Next Tuesday is Mardi Gras, so if you're looking for a fun treat to help celebrate with your friends and/or family, I've got the bread for you: Apple King's Cake.
The tradition of King's Cake is an old one, and basically involves a ring shaped cake that has some kind of token hidden in one piece. The person who gets that token is crowned "King" of that Mardi Gras party (often with a tissue paper crown). In the French village I lived in for a year as a kid, they used actual tiny ceramic tiles, and some people use plastic baby dolls (to represent the baby Jesus), but I gravitate more towards using a walnut or raisin so it's not quite such a shock to the person who finds it(and their teeth!)
To make this treat, I used this recipe from Rachael of La Fuji Mama on the blog Eat, Live, Run. She made it a straight braid, but it was pretty easy to adapt to a ring shape



What you need:
  • the ingredients listed by Rachael, in the amounts she specified
What you do:
  • Peel, slice, and chop the apples as desired (or grate them if you plan on sharing with a baby and are concerned about choking. They should get soft from baking even if just sliced or cubed, but better safe than sorry!)
  • Mix apples with cinnamon, sugar, and lemon juice in a glass baking dish and pop them in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes (about how long the rest of the process should take you)
  • Mix all the dry ingredients, then add the oil and water.
  • Knead for 6ish minutes or until the dough is smooth.
  • Divide the dough into two portions. Roll each out on a smooth surface into two rectangles.
  • Gently press the ends of the two rectangles together and form a circle. If the dough doesn't seem to be smoothing together well enough, just put a few drops of water on each gap and smooth is with your fingers.
  • Using a pizza cutter or knife (pizza cutter is easiest in my opinion), cut slits that go 1/3 of the way in on both the outside and inside of the dough and are about 1/2 inch wide to 1 inch wide each.
  • Get the apples out of the oven and spoon the apple mix onto the center of the dough.
  • Add a nut or raisin now if you are using one.
  • "Braid" the bread by pulling the strips across the apple mix, alternating beween strips on the inside and the outside of the dough circle. (See the original recipe for some great pics)
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Glaze if desired-add purple, green, and yellow to the glaze and/or sprinkles if desired for extra Mardi Gras flair.
My notes:
  • I used half whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour and liked it, but I'm sure it'd be lighter and more pastry-like if you used regular flour. As with all recipes, if you use whole wheat flour instead of regular flour, use slightly less flour than the recipe calls for.
  • I didn't actually try to be that meticulous about it-I wasn't originally planning on posting it, I was just making a fun treat for my toddler and me on Epiphany (the celebration of the 3 Kings' visit to Jesus). So umm you can probably make the braid look a lot neater if you try harder.
PS How fun would it be to make a crown for the King and this jester hat for all the non-kings???



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