King cake is traditionally eaten during Mardi Gras season, but that doesn’t mean you should have to wait until then to make one. I will often see these cakes pop up in different bakeries, celebrating different occasions. The only difference is the color of the sugar placed ontop, or as in this recipe, the sanding sugar has been omitted altogether.
almonds, pecans, cashews or walnuts (toasted and sliced)
Heat two-thirds of a cup of milk in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat and add five and one-half tablespoons of butter and one-third cup of granulated sugar. Stir until the butter melts. Cool the mixture until it becomes lukewarm.
In a mixing bowl, combine the milk mixture, two large eggs, and two teaspoons of yeast. Add the Bisquick, one cup at a time, mixing until a soft dough forms. (Use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a bread machine set to the dough setting).
Place the dough in a greased, covered bowl and set it in a warm place to rise until doubled in size.
Punch down the dough, cover, and let it rest for an additional ten minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a 20" x 12" rectangle.
Brush the surface of the dough with two tablespoons of melted butter. Combine two tablespoons of granulated sugar and one-half teaspoon of cinnamon in a small bowl.
Add one-half cup of chopped walnuts, three-quarters of a cup of dried mixed fruit, and one tablespoon of lemon zest. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the buttered dough.
Roll the dough upjelly-roll style, starting with the long end. Pinch the seam together to sealit firmly, then bring the ends together to form a ring.
Transfer the dough to alightly greased, parchment-lined baking sheet. Place the ring, seam side down,and tuck one end inside the other, pinching it together to seal it.
Flatten the ring slightly, and using a pair of scissors, make cuts in the dough at 2-inch intervals around the outside edge. Hide candy inside the cuts. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise for forty minutes or until nearly doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to350°F. When the dough has risen, remove the plastic wrap, and brush the topwith one beaten egg. Place the candied cherries (cut in half) in the spacesbetween the slits in the dough and decorate with the sliced nuts as desired
Bake the bread for thirty minutes, covering it loosely with foil after the first fifteen minutes. Remove the bread from the oven when the inner parts of the slits appear cooked. Cool the bread on a rack.