I started makeing KING CAKE about 10 years ago and every year my husbands office requests one. It is a very easy recipe and will gather many compliments. The use of nutmeg in the dough gives it the traditional flavor and the filling of raisins, brown sugar and pecans melts into the dough. You press a plastic baby into the bottom of the cake after it is baked. The person who gets the baby will have good luck and has the honor of hosting the next years Mardi Gras and providing the King cake. You can find the plastic baby at most cake supply stores.
Scald milk, remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of butter, allow mixture to cool to room temp. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar, Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
when yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt and nutmeg. Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap (I prefer plastic wrap) and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours. When risen, punch down and divide the dough in half.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 2 cookie sheets or line them with parchment paper.
TO MAKE THE FILLING: Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, chopped pecans, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup raisins. Pour 1/2 cup melted butter over the cinnamon mixture and mix until crumbly.
Roll dough halves out into large rectangles (approx. 10x16 inches or so). Sprinkle the filling evenly over the two halves of dough leaving about 1/2 inch boarder all around. Roll up each half tightly like a jelly roll starting at the wide side. Bring the ends of each roll together to form two oval shaped rings.
Place each ring on a prepared cookie sheet. With a clean pair of scissors make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings and 1 inch intervals. Let the rings rest and allow to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Push the doll into the bottom of the cake. Allow to cool a bit and FROST the cake while still warm with the confectioners' sugar blended with 1 or 2 tablespoons of water. Sprinkle the colored sugars on the cake in sections of Green, Gold and purple around the rings.