Back to the Cutting Board
Lemon and Cream Cheese-filled King Cake
adapted from About.com 
Breakfast, Dessert | Yield: 4 small 6-inch king cakes (or 2 medium or 1 very large). About 16 servings.
Prep time: 3 hours | Cook time: 25 min | Total time: 3 hour 30 min
- 1/2 cup warm water, about 105 to 115 degrees
- 2 envelopes active dry yeast
- 4 1/2 cups flour, plus more for kneading
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. grated lemon peel
- 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
- 3 eggs
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. butter, softened
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp. milk
- 4 tiny dolls or dried beans (optional)
Lemon Curd filling
from David Lebovitz 
- 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 large eggs
- Pinch of salt
- 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
Cream Cheese filling
from Myriam Guidroz 
- 16 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice, strained
- 3 to 5 tbsp. water
- Food coloring: purple (two drops of red, one of blue), green, and yellow
- 3/4 cup sugar, divided
- Add warm water to small bowl and stir in yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, sift together flour, sugar, nutmeg and salt in a large mixer bowl. Stir in lemon peel. Make a well in center and add the yeast mixture along with the warm milk. Lightly beat together 3 eggs and 4 egg yolks and add to the liquid mixture. With a large wooden spoon, gradually incorporate the dry ingredients into the liquids in the center well.
- Transfer to your mixer, beat in butter and continue beating, slowly adding about 1/2 cup of flour, until the dough forms a ball. Switch to a dough hook to continue beating until smooth and elastic, adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup flour as necessary, about 2-4 minutes more. Alternately, transfer ball of dough to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, incorporating more flour as necessary, about 5-8 minutes more.
- Butter the inside of a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Place the dough in bowl and turn so the entire surface will be buttered. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on top of the bowl and set in a warm spot for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
- While the dough rises make your fillings, starting with the lemon curd (this can be made ahead of time, it will keep in the fridge for 1 week): Place a mesh strainer over a medium bowl and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together the lemon juice, sugar, egg yolks, eggs, and salt. Add the butter cubes and set the pan over low heat, whisking constantly until the butter is melted.
- Increase the heat to medium and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and just begins to become jelly-like. You’ll now it’s done when you lift the whisk and the mixture holds its shape when it falls back into the saucepan from the whisk. Immediately press the curd through the strainer. Transfer to the fridge to cool.
- Now make the cream cheese filling: Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, egg yolks and vanilla until smooth and fluffy. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
Brush one or two large baking sheets with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Set aside. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 equal pieces (or less if you want larger cakes). Take one piece and shape into a square, roll it out into a 1/4-inch thick rectangle, about 6×11-inches.
- Scoop a scant 1/2 cup of the cream cheese mixture and spread it evenly on top of the dough, leaving 1/2-inch of space around the edges. Scoop a scant 1/4 cup of the lemon curd and spread it on top of the cream cheese. If you want to be traditional, press a tiny doll or dried bean into the dough. (But make sure to warn anyone you’re serving that it’s in there!)
- Roll the dough up, jellyroll-style, starting from the long edge. Pinch together the dough at the end so that it’s sealed well and the filling isn’t coming out. You should end up with 11-inch long cylinder. Make sure the seam is on the bottom and form the dough into a ring, pinching the ends together until sealed. Transfer to a baking sheet and repeat with the other pieces of dough. Set aside to rise for about an hour. They won’t quite double in size, but they should be noticeably puffed up.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F). Beat together one egg and 1 tablespoon of milk and brush the top and sides of the rings. Bake in middle of oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Slide the cakes onto wire racks to cool completely. Let sit for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.
- Once the cakes are cool, combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of water in a deep bowl and stir until smooth. Add more water a little at a time, until the glaze is a thinner, pourable consistency. Spread the icing over the top of the cakes, letting it to run down the sides.
- Sprinkle the colored sugars over the icing immediately, making rows of purple, yellow, and green stripes.
Serve at room temperature along with milk or coffee. Store in tightly wrapped plastic or foil. These cakes should be fine in a cool spot in your kitchen for about day, but for any longer place them in the fridge or freezer. Best within 2-3 days.