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Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Oh, how I love king cake during Mardi Gras season! But it must be made with cream cheese! None of that grocery store dryness for me!

If you don't have a bakery in your area that does a cream-cheese filled cake, you can make your own with the following recipe.

For the dough:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour (start with 3/4 cup)

1/2 tsp salt

2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup warm whole milk

3 large room temperature eggs

1tsp vanilla

For the filling:

8 oz room temperature cream cheese

3 Tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup melted white chocolate

1 tsp vanilla

For the icing:

1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar

3-4 Tablespoons water

3/4 tsp vanilla

food coloring (purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power)

Grease a 10 inch bundt pan.

In a large bowl, combine 3/4 cup of flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Stir.

Add in warm milk and oil, then beat for two minutes with an electric mixer. Beat in the eggs on at a time.

Add in 1tsp vanilla extract and another 1/2 cup of flour. Beat for two more minutes. Add remaining flour and stir.

Let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. During this time, make the filling by combining cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and white chocolate. Use an electric mixer and beat until smooth.

Pour half the dough into a bundt pan. Use a spoon (or an ice-cream scoop) to add scoops of the filling on the dough layer. Pour remaining batter over the cream cheese filling. Cover and let rise until doubled in size (up to 2 hours).

After cake has risen, preheat oven to 350F. Bake the cake for 30 minutes. Stick in a toothpick to make sure it comes clean so you know the cake has cooked completely. Let cool before icing.

For the icing, divide sugar into three bowls and add 1 Tablespoon of water and 1/4 tsp of vanilla to each bowl. Add food coloring and stir well. Pour the icing over the cooled cake in sections, alternating colors as shown. Keep covered for freshness. Best "day of" but good for two more days heated in microwave for about ten seconds. Enjoy! May I suggest you use it for your Fika this week? (see post).

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