A king cake is a once-a-year treat! Here’s how to add a buttery, flaky pastry crown to your Mardi Gras king cake.
For this project you will need a king cake, homemade or storebought. And for the crown, you will need the following:
– 5-inch to 8-inch cake ring (you could also use a cake pan or other circular baking dish)
– Rolling pin
– Knife or rolling cutter
– Parchment paper
– An assortment of different shaped and sized cookie cutters
– Aluminum foil
How to Make the Pastry Crown for Your Mardis Gras King Cake:
1. To start the crown, you’ll need to first measure the circumference of your cake ring. I used a 6-inch cake ring as the crown mold, which was about 21 inches.
2. On a piece of parchment paper, roll out your pie dough into a long rectangle the length of the circumference you just measured (in my case, 21 inches) and about 4 inches wide. Use a knife or rolling cutter to trim the edges. Discard the scraps.
3. Next, create the crown arches (the points). You can use a square cutter, knife, or rolling cutter. I used a small 1 1/2-inch square cookie cutter, which helped create symmetrical consistency.
4. Now create a decorative, cut-out pattern on the crown. You can use cookie cutters or just go freestyle. I used small flower and petal shapes which worked perfectly, but nearly any cutter will do. After you’ve completed your design, discard remaining pie scraps and transfer dough to the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.
5. Make sure the dough is firm but still pliable (so that it can be easily bent). Grease the cake ring with nonstick cooking spray, then carefully wrap the dough around the outside of it. Gently pinch the ends together to create a seam. Be careful not to press your dough into the cake ring — you don’t want the pastry to bake into it, just around it!
6. Wrap a folded, triple layer of aluminum foil around both the inside and outside of the crown. The foil will act as structural support during baking. With foil on both sides, the pastry won’t flop over or fall during the baking. Be sure the foil is at least the same height or taller than the crown. Gently pinch together and fold the top pieces of foil. Place on a baking sheet, then transfer to the refrigerator or freezer for 15 to 20 minutes to chill.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the crown until the pastry is golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Discard the foil and let the crown cool completely.
7. The baked crown will be delicate, so be very gentle when removing it from the cake ring.
8. Voila! You have the perfect golden pastry crown. Place it on top of your Mardi Gras king cake before serving.
This article was first published on the MarthaStewart.com Network on February 6, 2016.
By: Adrienne Blumthal
Photos: Steven Karl Metzer