2 envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups warm milk (about 110 degrees)
5 large egg yolks, at room temperature
4 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners sugar
1 plastic king cake baby, or a pecan half
5 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
purple, green, and gold sugar sprinkles
Combine the yeast and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the melted butter and warm milk and warm water. Beat at low speed for 1 minute. With the mixer running, add the egg yolks, then beat 1 minute at medium-low speed. Add the flour, salt, nutmeg, and lemon zest and beat until everything is incorporated. Increase the speed to high and beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, forms a ball, and starts to climb up the dough hook. If the dough is uncooperative in coming together, add a bit of warm water. 110 degrees), a tablespoon at a time, until it does. If the dough is too moist add more flour until it balls up and is smooth.
Remove the dough from the bowl. Using your hands, form the dough into a smooth ball. Lightly oil a bowl with vegetable oil. Place the dough into the bowl and turn it to oil all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and set it aside in a warm, draft free place until doubleed in size, about 2 hours.
Meanwhile, make the filling. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and 1 cup of the confectioners sugar. Blend by hand or with an electric mixer on low speed, set aside.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using your fingers, pat it out into a rectangle about 30 inches long and 6 inches wide.
Spread the filling lengthwise over the bottom half of the dough, then flip the top half of the dough over the filling. Seal the edges, pinching the dough together. Shape the dough into a cylinder and pplace it on the prepared baking sheet, seam side down. Shape the dough into a ring and pinch the ends together so there isn't a seam. Insert the King Cake Baby or pecan half into the ring from the bottom so that it is completely hidden by the dough.
Cover the ring with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and place it in a warm, draft free-place. Le the dough rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 350º.
Brush the risen cake with 2 tablespoons of milk. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack. I brush the top of the cake with melted butter to keep it moist while cooling.
Make the icing. Combine the remaining 3 tablespoons milk, the lemon juice, and the remaing 3 cups confectioners sugar in a medium sized mixing bowl. Stir to blend well. With a rubber spatula, spread the icing evenly over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with the sugar crystals, alternating colors aroud the cake.
This cake is traditionally cut into 2 inch slices with all the guests in attendance.