In which the ashes are an idea I clearly didn’t think through all the way

I was chatting with Amy yesterday about plans for the day and we got around to the usual “what are you planning for supper” part of the conversation and she reminded me it was Mardi Gras which meant that we had to have Cajun food. She was fixing red beans and rice from scratch due to an unfortunate lack of Bayou Magic in her pantry and normally I would have done the same but we had them last week and I don’t like to repeat from week to week unless it’s pizza.  I settled on jambalaya and then talk turned to king cake.

I have a friend in Louisiana (HI, FRAN!!) who sent me a king cake last year and it was divine and this is not at all a hint that she can send one to me any time she likes and the kids so enjoyed the festive sprinkles and the suspense of who would find the baby hidden in their piece of cake that we decided to incorporate it into our list of yearly celebrations. Amy was making her dough from a combination of Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls and her mom’s yeast roll recipes but that sounded a little complicated to me so I just went to All Recipes and looked for one that had a lot of stars.

Because if everyone jumps off a bridge, so do I.

The proofed yeast wasn’t super foamy when I added it to the flour but I was in a hurry and figured I’d give it extra time to rise and yet after three hours, it still looked like it did when I put it in the bowl but we were getting closer and closer to dinner time so I started to get a little panicky and ended up sticking it in the dryer that had just cycled off.

And yes, that sheet pan looks horrid but it’s the only one that a) doesn’t burn anything on the bottom; and b) fits in the smaller oven in our new house. 

And, honestly, would you ever expect me to have a spotless sheet pan? 

I think we all know the answer to that one.

It came time to bury the baby into the dough before baking and the one I saved from last year’s cake got lost somewhere in the move so I went into the living room and grabbed the next best thing that I thought was sure to have the kids screaming with delight.

And then I baked the cake (it rose! it rose!) and decorated it in decidedly non-traditional green and blue because when you wait to go to Kroger until 6:15 on Mardi Gras to buy sprinkles for your king cake, it’s pretty slim pickings.

And then we sat down and beheld the wondrous cake that I’d spent all afternoon working on and fussing over, and Craig cut generous slices for everyone and we dug in, seeing who would find the baby and I was giggling to myself at how funny it would be when the boys discovered it was a stealthy ninja in the cake instead of the baby but turns out the joke was on me because when Craig found the ninja in his piece and pulled it out, there were screams all right, not of delight but of absolute HORROR from one particular offspring who had an on-the-spot all-out panic attack because apparently I had grabbed his FAVORITE TOY EVER that had sat untouched under the couch for three weeks gathering dust and he was sure that all hope was lost.

It was a tense minute or two while he licked off all the cream cheese and did a thorough limb by limb and joint by joint inspection to make sure he was still intact and after we talked him off the ledge and he had extracted a solemn promise from me to never, ever, forever bake a mini figure again without asking permission, we all managed to take a deep breath and move forward with our lives.

And a good time was had by all.


Laissez le bons temps rouler.

Have a nice day.



6 responses to “In which the ashes are an idea I clearly didn’t think through all the way

  1. I miss out on so much, being an Iowa native.

  2. I LOVE that you put the cake in the dryer! ! ! And that the part that seemed to need an explanation was the baking pan. I am still laughing!

  3. I agree with Sami – nothing odd at ALL in leaving your dough to rise in the dryer, but much much need to explain a perfectly ordinary baking sheet!! Haha! Great post 🙂

  4. What a good mom! I just bought Paczki’s at Lowe’s Foods, but they were absolutely wonderful. Anything stuffed with bavarian creme works for me! Your cake looks yummy. I have never made a King Cake but I might try Paczki after finding this recipe

  5. I have a fear of the yeast. I think it’s an inherited trait. We don’t necessarily celebrate Mardi Gras here in California, but it looks like fun. I think you were brilliant in your choice of a baby.

  6. so i wanna know whose brilliant idea it was to stick something in a cake to find!! we DEFINITELY didn’t do that in chicago. how fun! although admittedly, your particular offspring is a young man after my own heart. truly, that would have been me if i were in his shoes {today, ahem} as a young child. i gotta learn to embrace the moved cheese one of these days . . . thx for closing my night out w/ a hearty, endearing laugh.

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