Have You Seen My Bundt Pan?

Seriously, I can’t find it anywhere.  Chuck and I have checked the usual storage place, the unusual spots, the plausible hideaways, and we can’t find it. It’s gold and beautifully nonstick, and I last used it to make Jewish Apple Cake when the Mojos visited in December. Speaking of which, if you are reading this and haven’t yet heard any Miss Mojo music, please stop reading and start listening. I’m not kidding, do it now. Miss Mojo.

If you’ve read my blog, or if you know me at all, you know that I love New Orleans. Right now it’s Carnival season, leading up to Mardi Gras in just over a week, with several parades a day, attendant light and music and noise, and a whole lot of what the late Miss Ella Brennan of Commander’s Palace gleefully called “eating, drinking, and carrying on.” Here’s a photo of Chuck and me two years ago, across from Gallier Hall, waiting for the Mystic Krewe of Nyx parade to begin.

I miss New Orleans most days, and especially during Carnival. While I don’t like the crowds that much, I wish I were there for the rest of that nonsense. If there were no other reason, look at the weather. Most days in February in New Orleans are warm enough to go without a coat, and many days are downright balmy compared to the Northeast, where I am. Here’s a view out my kitchen window right now. It’s definitely not balmy.

Tomorrow at work we will celebrate two fine ladies who share a birthday on February 24. Instead of my usual chocolate cake or raspberry bars, I’m baking a King Cake, the traditional sweet treat of Carnival season throughout the Gulf South. I found a recipe for a King Bundt Cake on the excellent site Brown Eyed Baker but I can’t find my damn Bundt pan! So I’m using my own recipe for a traditional freeform ring instead. This King Cake is more like a sweet bread than a cake.

While my dough is rising, I am sipping a classic French 75 in my Nyx cup, in front of the woodstove. A French 75 is made with either gin or brandy, lemon juice, simple syrup, and Champagne. Served up in a flute, but I’ve got mine non-traditionally on the rocks – it lasts longer and makes it look like a bigger drink, even if it does quell the bubbles a bit. If you go to Superior Seafood on St. Charles Ave. during Happy Hour, try their frozen French 75. Perfect with 50cent oysters!

A word about my Nyx cup: if you go to any parades, you will have things thrown at you from people on the floats. Beads, of course. Toys, hats, decks of cards, flashing rings – all kinds of random fun stuff. In my opinion, the best are the shoes from Muses and the purses from Nyx. These are hand-made by the Krewe members, absolutely unique, and collectible. It is also fun to collect the plastic go-cups that many Krewes will toss, printed with their logo for that year. Use them proudly, but remember that tradition dictates you don’t pick up anything that has hit the ground. You MUST catch!

King Cake

  • 1 5 oz. can evaporated milk (NOT sweetened, condensed milk)
  • 3 oz. milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Warm milks for one minute in the microwave, then pour into bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk in sugar and melted butter, then sprinkle yeast on top. Let sit for about 10 minutes, or until yeast is dissolved. Whisk in the eggs, then add the flour and salt. Mix together – dough will be dry and look ragged. Using dough hook on stand mixer, knead dough on low for about 8 minutes or until cohesive, smooth, and shiny. Spray the bowl and dough with nonstick spray, turning dough once or twice to be sure it’s fully coated. Cover with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place for about two hours to rise.

Filling

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Punch down the dough, then turn onto a floured silpat or clean counter. Press out to a rectangle about 16 x 12 inches. Spread with softened butter. Combine sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkle over butter. Beginning on the long edge closest to you, roll into an oblong, then, with seam side down, press raw ends together to make a circle. Place on parchment or a silpat on a baking sheet, cover with a damp towel, and let rise for an hour. Bake in a preheated 350º oven for about 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven, let sit for about 15 minutes, then place on a wire rack. Cool completely.

Topping

  • 1 3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Green, yellow, and purple decorating sugar

Mix together sugar, milk, and vanilla to a smooth, pourable (but not too thin) consistency. Pour over completely cooled cake, and sprinkle immediately with colored sugar.

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