White sugar, brown sugar, pecans (optional), and cinnamon.
(Pretend the cinnamon is up there with his friends)
Blend about one cup of each sugar with 2 tsp cinnamon and chopped pecans, if using. Melt the butter in a separate bowl and set both aside.
Go back to your dough and start to roll into a rectangle.
1: Roll your dough into a rectangle.
2: Aim for approximately 30" x 15". Don't measure even though I did in order to give you a guideline. I'm Type A, so that's my excuse.
3: Slice rectangle into thirds. Don't be exact, it's okay to eyeball. Brush each third with melted butter and sprinkle LIBERALLY with filling mixture.
4: Jelly roll each third, then stack onto the baking sheet.
5: Start braiding around and stop when you reach each end. Stare at it and scratch your head for a moment until you figure out how to match the loose ends into a completed braid.
6: Stand back and congratulate your spacial reasoning abilities.
Bake at 375F for about 15 minutes. About halfway through, tent the cake with foil to keep the top from browning too much. I forgot to do this step. Oops!
When the cake cools just enough to touch, gently lift one side and poke your little King Cake baby into the bottom. Immediately forget where you've stuck the little dude and begin to hope you won't cut him in half when slicing the cake to serve. Do you need a little baby dude? Please email me and I will gladly share a few with you - I have several (dozen).
Let your beautiful creation cool completely for several hours. Don't try to decorate a hot or warm cake - trust me - your sprinkling sugars will just turn to colored syrup.
Now it's time to mix your glaze, which will serve to adhere the sugars to the cake. I like a glaze that nicely firms and holds it's shape, so I use the following recipe:
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 T butter, softened
1 T light corn syrup
4 T water (approx.)
1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
Mix the butter, corn syrup, vanilla (if using) and 1 T of water. Heat about 10 seconds and then whisk smooth. Add the powdered sugar and 2 T water, whisking to incorporate. Add additional water until you reach a consistency that will pour but not run. Err on the thicker side.
Pour glaze all over the cake, covering as much of the top as possible.
Don't worry about the pools that form on the counter because you'll have small people waiting just outside the camera range with fingers ready to swipe it up.
Visually divide your cake into sixths and start sprinkling the colored sugars in order - Purple, Green, Gold, Purple, Green, Gold. I always start with purple, but I don't know why. I wonder if it would still work if I started with green :) Once the glaze has firmed some, transfer your beautiful creation to a cake stand for all to admire.
Do I really need to instruct you to eat it????