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They are one of the earliest, edible signs that, in the immortal words of singer Al Johnson, 'it's Carnival time.' Whether iced or sugared, traditional or stuffed with any number of fillings, king cakes have become inescapable and big business, in the weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday. More than that, they have also become a year-round commodity, sold and shipped to customers worldwide. Here's a recipe for a frosted, traditional cake from Haydel's Bakery.

Dough

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup all purpose shortening
4 cups all purpose flour
2 lg. eggs
1 cup milk (room temperature)
2 sm. packs active dry yeast
1/4 tsp lemon flavor
1/4 tsp orange flavor
1/4 tsp vanilla flavor
1/4 tsp butter flavor
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar

Colored Sugar

3 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp purple food color
1 tsp yellow food color
1 tsp green food color

In a mixer at first speed combine 1/3 cup granulated sugar, salt, and shortening until well creamed.

Add eggs and continue to cream.

Dissolve the yeast in the milk and add the flavors.

Once dissolved add to creamed mixture and continue to mix.

Add flour and mix until dough tightens.

Remove from mixer and kneed into a ball.

At this point sprinkle some flour on top and cover with a clean kitchen towel.

Allow the dough to rest for 11/2 hours.

While the dough is resting mix your colored sugars.

Start by taking one cup of sugar and your yellow food coloring.

Mix by hand with a wire wisk in a metal bowl until the sugar turns yellow.

Pour you yellow sugar into a separate bowl and put off to the side.

Repeat this process mixing green then purple. (By doing them in that order you only dirty one mixingbowl)

When dough has rested roll out into an oblong piece.

Brush on canola oil covering the entire piece.

Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar liberally over the whole piece.

Once the dough is covered with the cinnamon sugar and oil, fold it in half lengthwise.

Cut into 3 strips and braid the dough.

Gently roll the dough by starting at one end and working all the way down to the other end.

This will make the dough a nice long piece that can then be shaped into a circle.

Once shaped place on a baking pan covered with piece of parchment.

Allow the dough to rest again until it doubles in size.

At this point take a spoon and alternate sprinkling the three colored sugars on top of your circular piece of dough.

Bake at 370 degrees F for 12-15 minutes until dough is golden brown. Then laissez les bon temps rouler!

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