If you have the good fortune to have a King Cake in your house, you probably don't need any help disposing with it. King Cakes—those cream cheese icing slathered, cinnamon-y rings of joy that mark the Carnival season—are one of those baked goods that disappear quickly. "Oh, I'll just have a sliver," you say, and five slivers later you're deep in a sugar coma. (It's worth it.) But if you, for example, got several King Cakes shipped to you from Haydel's Bakery in New Orleans and found yourself with some extra on your hands, and if that King Cake had gotten just a wee bit too stale to distribute at the office, then the solution for you is simple. Turn your King Cake into French toast, just like you can turn your French toast into King Cake.
The principle of King Cake French Toast is the same as regular old French toast, with a couple caveats. Because frying the icing on top of a King Cake, though probably delicious, would ruin the whole look of the thing, you only soak the bottom half of the King Cake in your French toast custard, and crisp up the un-icinged side of the cake in the skillet. You could add maple syrup to it, should you want, but the sweetness from the icing and colored sugar on the cake make it not totally necessary. Also? Be prepared to share, since the smell of King Cake being cooked up in a skillet is a dang delight.
Don't forget to fish out the plastic baby, either! And if you run out of King Cake, sprinkle this DIY colored sugar on everything, and pretend.
King Cake French Toast
- Yields: 6 to 8 slices
Whisk together eggs, half-and-half, and salt until thoroughly blended. Place slices of king cake in a baking dish or similar pan, frosting-side-up, and pour egg mixture in about halfway up the height of the cake. (Since the slices won't be flipped to preserve the frosting, only the bottom half gets soaked and cooked.) Cover and let the slices chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours, then drain the liquid from the pan and let the slices chill and further drain for 1 more hour.
Melt your desired quantity of butter (only you know your soul) in a skillet over medium-low heat and when it has stopped foaming, place the soaked slices frosting-side up in the pan and cook to desired doneness. If desired, to cook the sides more thoroughly, either use tongs to slightly tilt the slices into the butter, or draw it up the sides with a spatula, taking care not to melt the icing. Work in batches if needed, wiping out and re-buttering the skillet as needed. Serve hot.