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David Guas' King Cake Recipe

David Guas' King Cake Recipe



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Ingredients

For the cake:

  • One 1 ¼-ounce package dry-active yeast
  • ¼ cup warm milk (105-115 degrees or warm to the touch)
  • 1 cup plus 6 tablespoons bread flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¾ cup cake flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 plastic baby figurine (to hide in the cake), optional

For the egg wash:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk

For the icing and decoration:

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups sugar
  • Green food coloring
  • Gold or yellow food coloring
  • Purple food coloring (or red and blue food coloring to make purple)

Directions

For the cake:

Whisk the yeast with the warm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer until dissolved. Add the 6 tablespoons of bread flour and the honey and, using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until fairly smooth (there will still be a few lumps), 30 seconds to 1 minute, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in volume, about 20 minutes.

Once the dough has doubled, add ¾ cup of the remaining bread flour, the cake flour, eggs, egg yolk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and almond extracts, and salt. Mix on low speed until combined, then switch to a dough hook, increase the speed to medium, and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and begin adding 4 tablespoons of the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing well between additions. Continue to knead until the dough forms a slack ball (it will ride the dough hook, be tacky, and not slap the bottom of the bowl, but it should generally come together into a loose mass), 2-3 minutes. If the dough doesn’t come together, continue kneading while adding up to ¼ cup of the reserved bread flour, until it does.

Grease a large bowl with ½ tablespoon of the remaining butter and transfer the dough to the bowl, turning it over in the bowl to coat with butter. Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap or damp kitchen towel and place the bowl in a draft-free spot until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper with the remaining butter. Generously flour your work surface using the remaining ¼ cup of bread flour (if you used the bread flour in the dough, dust your work surface with more bread flour). Turn the dough out onto the work surface and sprinkle the top with some flour. Use your hands to press and flatten it into a rectangle. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a ¼-inch-thick strip that is about 24 inches long by about 6 inches wide. Starting with one of the long sides, roll the dough on top of itself, making a long, thin baguette-shaped length. Pinch the edge to the body of the dough to seal, turn the dough so it lies horizontally on your work surface, and gently roll it on your work surface to even out any bulges and create a somewhat consistent 1½-inch-wide rope. Bring the two ends of the dough together and pinch them into one another to seal. Carefully transfer the dough oval or circle to the prepared sheet pan. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and set in a warm, dry spot to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

For the egg wash:

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Whisk the egg and the milk together in a small bowl. Brush the egg wash over the top and sides of the dough, and bake the king cake until golden and cooked through, 25-30 minutes. Immediately after removing the cake from the oven, make a small slit in the bottom of the cake and insert the baby figurine (if using). Set on a rack to cool completely.

For the icing:

While the cake cools, make the icing. Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, milk, and vanilla together in the bowl of a stand mixer on low speed until smooth and completely incorporated. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel until you are ready to glaze the cake.

To make the colored sugar, measure 1 cup of the sugar into each of 3 re-sealable quart-size plastic bags. Add 4 drops of green food coloring to one bag, 4 drops of gold or yellow food coloring to another bag, and 4 drops of purple food coloring to the last bag (if you don’t have purple, make it yourself: measure 2 drops of red and 2 drops of blue food coloring onto a spoon and mix with a cake tester or toothpick until combined). Seal each bag and then vigorously shake to combine the sugar and food coloring.

Spoon the icing over the cooled cake. Immediately after icing, decorate with the tinted sugar. I like to alternate colors every 2½ inches, but you can also divide the cake into 3 sections and apply one color to each section. Slice and serve immediately or store in a cake box or on a baking sheet placed within a large plastic bag (unscented trash bags work well) for up to 2 days.


David Guas' King Cake Recipe - Recipes

Did you know?

David has long been an avid fisherman and hunter, and feels these pursuits connect him to the natural rhythms of the outdoors. He also is innately aware of the growing seasons of the fruits and herb he cooks with, and of the lifecycles of local honeybees.

David's Featured Recipe

New Orleans-born chef David Guas, widely familiar from his frequent appearances on The Today Show, brings charm to his new role as host and co-judge of American Grilled, Travel Channel's cooking competition program that aired Summer 2014. Guas has been featured in many publications including, Food & Wine, Southern Living, Saveur and Bon Appétit for showcasing the soul of the South in his Louisiana-style favorites and signature desserts at the neighborhood spot in Arlington, Virginia, Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery. His second venue, opening spring 2015, will be Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery at Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital, occupying an historic carriage house on Washington's Capitol Hill commissioned by President Abraham Lincoln.

In 2007, Chef David Guas exchanged his ten-year tenure as a corporate pastry chef for an entrepreneurial path that includes private consultation, boutique catering, cookbook authoring, and his New Orleans style restaurants. Guas has received recognition as the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s Pastry Chef of the Year, and as one of the nation’s eight “Dessert Stars” by Bon Appétit. His cakes have garnered national attention from the Mardi Gras King Cake named one of the “Top Three” in the country by The Washington Post, to the 10th anniversary cake he was hand-selected to make, by and for Oprah Winfrey's O Magazine.

His first cookbook, DamGoodSweet - Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth New Orleans Style was named one of Food & Wine’s “Best New Dessert Cookbooks” of the year was a finalist for both the International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Award in the American Category and the James Beard Award in the Baking and Dessert Cookbook category.

A native of New Orleans, Guas says his culinary mentors were his grandparents. His Cuban grandfather, Abuelo, was his first culinary mentor, and his granny on the other side, a down-home cook from Amite Louisiana, who taught her grandson to appreciate the bounty of Louisiana’s seasonal produce, berries — and boudin.


David Guas’s King Cake Recipe

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper with the remaining butter. Generously flour your work surface using the remaining 1/4 cup of bread flour (if you used the bread flour in the dough, dust your work surface with more bread flour). Turn the dough out onto the work surface and sprinkle the top with some flour. Use your hands to press and flatten it into a rectangle. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 1/4-inch-thick strip that is about 24 inches long by about 6 inches wide. Starting with one of the long sides, roll the dough on top of itself, making a long, thin baguette-shaped length. Pinch the edge to the body of the dough to seal, turn the dough so it lies horizontally on your work surface, and gently roll it on your work surface to even out any bulges and create a somewhat consistent 1-1/2-inch-wide rope. Bring the two ends of the dough together and pinch them into one another to seal. Carefully transfer the dough oval or circle to the prepared sheet pan. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and set in a warm, dry spot to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Heat the oven to 375°F. To make the egg wash, whisk the egg and the milk together in a small bowl. Brush the egg wash over the top and sides of the dough, and bake the king cake until golden and cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Immediately after removing the cake from the oven, make a small slit in the bottom of the cake and insert the baby figurine (if using). Set on a rack to cool completely.


by David Guas and Raquel Pelzel

Beignets, Bananas Foster, Lemon Icebox Pie, Red Velvet Cake, Salted Caramels and Syrup-Soaked SnoBalls are just a few of the 50 recipes in DamGoodSweet: Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth, New Orleans Style, the debut cookbook by New Orleans-bred pastry chef David Guas and food writer Raquel Pelzel. Food & Wine magazine chose it as one of the best dessert books of 2009.

Here is just a taste of what you will find inside some of the chapters:

  • Classic New Orleans Desserts features Buttermilk Beignets from Cafe du Monde, Bananas Foster from Brennan's, Double Chocolate Bread Pudding with Salted Bourbon Caramel Sauce and King Cake, the signature dish of Mardi Gras.
  • Pies, Tarts, Cobblers & Crisps includes recipes like Great Aunt Patty's Fried Apple Pie, Nana's Banana Bread, David's Black & Blue Crumble or his Lemon Icebox Pie inspired by the stellar version at Clancy's restaurant.
  • Cakes in All Shapes presents Red Velvet Cake, Lemon Doberge Cake, Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake, Ponchatoula Strawberry & Brown Butter Shortcake, and Gateau de Sirop.
  • Puddings & Cup Custards emphasize David's father's Latin side and his mother's Louisiana roots, with recipes like Vanilla Bean Pudding, Banana Pudding with Vanilla Wafer Crumble, Mahatma Rice Pudding, Café au Lait Crème Brulee and Old Fashioned Chocolate Pudding.
  • Ices, Ice Creams & Frozen Confections highlights Watermelon Granita-Topped Sno-Balls, Straight Up Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, and Brandy Milk Punch Ice Cream.
  • Curds, Jams & Preserves offers fruit to put up for nearly every season, from late winter and spring's strawberries to summer blueberries, fall figs, and winter lemons. Try Ponchatoula Strawberry Jam, Lemon Curd, or Red Pepper Jelly. David also includes a recipe for proper Southern Biscuits.

In DamGoodSweet, bits of New Orleans history are revealed, like:

  • From the mid-19th century, New Orleans was a major port of entry for bananas. Bananas Foster was invented in 1951 by chef Paul Blange at Brennan's.
  • The G.H. Leidenheimer Baking Company has been baking New Orlean's signature French bread for more than one hundred years.
  • January 6, also known as Twelfth Night, marks the beginning of New Orleans' Carnival celebrations and the start of King Cake season. King Cake is to Mardi Gras what pumpkin pie is to Thanksgiving.
  • Hubig's Pies (Say it HYOU-bigs)&mdashThe Simon Hubig Pie Company makes more than 30,000 hand-size pies a day. Made with a from-scratch piecrust and filled with seasonal and mostly local fruit like cherries, peaches, sweet potatoes, lemon and apple, they're a beloved staple of school kids, truck drivers, and legislators alike&mdashheck, even long-term overnighters at the Orleans Parish Jail are fans.
  • Doberge cake is the birthday cake of New Orleans.
  • New Orleans Roasters&mdashThe port of New Orleans has been a site of international trade since 1718, with the first coffee shipments coming from Cuba and the Caribbean soon after. By the 1840s, the port was the largest importer of coffee after New York City, and nearly 250,000 tons of green coffee beans come through the port every year.
  • SNO-BALLS (Not Snowballs)&mdashThe first sno-ball stand opened in New Orleans in the 1930s.
  • Cane syrup is to Louisiana what maple syrup is to Vermont. Sweeter and less bitter than molasses, cane syrup has been produced by Steen's since 1910.
  • Brunch in New Orleans is sacred. It's all about eggs, a quarter-pound of jumbo lump crab meat, and buttery hollandaise&mdashall accompanied by a spiked libation on the side, like a Sazerac, a Ramos gin fizz, an absinthe frappe, or brandy milk punch. These are the cocktails to order in the land where many believe the cocktail was invented.
  • Louisiana grows the finest, sweetest, and most delicious strawberries in the town of Ponchatoula, about 1 hour north of New Orleans and officially known as the "Strawberry Capital of the World."
  • The Birth of Pralines: The story goes that a New Orleanian gentleman was visiting Paris on business, ate a praline, and fell in love with it. He brought some home and asked his head cook to replicate them. Instead of making them with almonds, the cook made them with native Louisiana pecans and that was that&mdashthe praline was born.
  • The Roman Candy Man&mdashRon Kotteman is the Roman Candy Man. He started helping his grandfather with the Roman candy business when he was just 14 years old. In 1971, he took over the business and has been hand-pulling chocolate-, strawberry-, and vanilla-flavored taffy ever since. And he has kept up the long-standing tradition of selling the candy out of the candy man cart. Although his long-time mule and compatriot, Patsy, sadly passed on in the fall of 2008, Ron now pulls the cart with his pick-up truck and rings the bell to let people know he's there. Long live the candy man!
About the Authors

David Guas owns DamGoodSweet, a D.C.-based consulting company, and assists restaurants and restaurant groups in creating dessert menus and recipe development, among other things. He is the former Executive Pastry Chef for Acadiana, Ceiba, DC Coast, and Tenpenh restaurants in downtown D.C. David's recipes have been featured in Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Cooking Light, and Chocolatier, among others. He is also a frequent guest on the Today Show. David lives in northern Virginia.

Raquel Pelzel is a cookbook author and food and travel journalist. She is the author of New Flavors for Desserts, and the coauthor of Two Dudes, One Pan Simply Delicioso and American Masala. A former Cook's Illustrated editor, Raquel's work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Saveur, Fine Cooking, Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn. She lives in Brooklyn.


King Cake

For the cake: Whisk yeast with warm milk in bowl of a stand mixer until dissolved. Add 6 tablespoons bread flour and honey and mix on low speed using paddle attachment until fairly smooth, 30 seconds to 1 minute, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in volume, about 20 minutes.

Once the dough has doubled, add ¾ cup of remaining bread flour, cake flour, eggs, egg yolk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and almond extracts, and salt. Mix on low speed until combined, then switch to a dough hook, increase the speed to medium, and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high and begin adding 4 tablespoons of butter 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing well between additions. Continue to knead until the dough forms a slack ball, 2 to 3 minutes. If the dough doesn’t come together, continue kneading while adding up to ¼ cup of the reserved bread flour, until it does.

Grease a large bowl with ½ tablespoon of remaining butter and transfer dough to the bowl, turning it over in the bowl to coat with butter. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or damp kitchen towel and place in a draft-free spot until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper with the remaining butter. Generously flour your work surface using the remaining ¼ cup of bread flour.

Turn the dough out onto the work surface and sprinkle the top with some flour. Use your hands to press and flatten it into a rectangle. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a ¼-inch-thick strip that is about 24 inches long by about 6 inches wide. Starting with one of the long sides, roll the dough on top of itself, making a long, thin baguette-shaped length. Pinch the edge to the body of the dough to seal, turn the dough so it lies horizontally on your work surface, and gently roll it on your work surface to even out any bulges and create a somewhat consistent 1½-inch-wide rope. Bring the two ends of the dough together and pinch them into one another to seal. Carefully transfer the dough oval or circle to the prepared sheet pan. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and set in a warm, dry spot to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

For the egg wash: Heat the oven to 375 degrees. To make the egg wash, whisk the egg and the milk together in a small bowl. Brush the egg wash over the top and sides of the dough, and bake the king cake until golden and cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Immediately after removing the cake from the oven, make a small slit in the bottom of the cake and insert the baby figurine (if using). Set on a rack to cool completely.

For the icing and decoration: While the cake cools, make the icing. Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, milk, and vanilla together in the bowl of a stand mixer on low speed until smooth and completely incorporated. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel until you are ready to glaze the cake.

To make the colored sugar, measure 1 cup sugar into each of 3 re-sealable quart-size plastic bags. Add 4 drops of green food coloring to one bag, 4 drops of gold or yellow food coloring to another bag, and 4 drops of purple food coloring to the last bag. Seal each bag and then vigorously shake to combine the sugar and food coloring.

Spoon the icing over the cooled cake. Immediately after icing, decorate with the tinted sugar. David likes to alternate colors every 2½ inches, but you can also divide the cake into 3 sections and apply one color to each section. Slice and serve immediately or store in a cake box or on a baking sheet placed within a large plastic bag for up to 2 days.


A New Orleans Original

As a way to improve her family&aposs financial situation during the Depression, Beulah Levy Ledner opened Mrs. Charles Ledner&aposs Superior Home Baking from her New Orleans home. Ledner became known for her miniature kuchens and lemon meringue pies, but there was one recipe that would make her a legend in New Orleans history. After some experimenting with the Hungarian Dobos torte, which is a multilayered sponge cake with chocolate buttercream filling, she came up with a brilliant spin-off: a nine-layer yellow cake filled with chocolate custard and covered in chocolate frosting. To make it a true New Orleans dessert, Ledner added a French twist to the name, calling it "doberge." The city fell in love with the cake and crowned her the "Doberge Queen of New Orleans." She later sold her bakery and recipes to the owners of Joe Gambino&aposs Bakery, who continue
to make the dessert the same way.


David Guas's King Cake

1. Whisk the yeast with the warm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer until dissolved. Add 6 Tbs. bread flour and the honey. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until smooth with a few small lumps, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled in volume, about 20 minutes.

2. When the dough is doubled, add 3/4 cup bread flour, and all the cake flour, eggs, egg yolk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and almond extracts, and salt. Mix on low speed until combined, then switch to a dough hook. Increase the speed to medium, and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

3. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and add 4 Tbs. of butter, one Tbs. at a time, mixing well between additions. Continue to knead until the dough forms a slack ball that will hang loosely on the dough hook and be sticky to the touch. (It shouldn't slap the bowl, but it should hold together). This should take 2-3 minutes. If the dough doesn’t hold together, add up to 1/4 cup of bread flour and keep kneading until it does.

4. Coat the inside of a large bowl with 1/2 Tbs. of butter. Transfer the dough to the bowl, turning it over in the bowl to coat with butter. Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and put it in a warm, draft-free spot until the dough has doubled in size--about 1 hour.

5. Line a rimmed baking sheet pan with parchment paper. Coat the parchment paper with the remaining butter. Generously flour your work surface with bread flour. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and sprinkle the top with flour. Using your hands, press and flatten it into a rectangle.

6. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 1/4-inch-thick strip about 24 inches long by about 6 inches wide. Starting with one of the long sides, roll the dough on top of itself, making a long, thin baguette-shaped length. Pinch the edge to the body of the dough to seal. Then turn the dough so it lies horizontally on your work surface, and gently roll it to even out any bulges and create a more or less consistent 1 1/2-inch-wide rope. Bring the two ends of the dough together and pinch them together.

7. Carefully transfer the dough oval or circle to the prepared sheet pan. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap. Set in a warm, dry spot to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

8. Heat the oven to 375°F. Whisk the egg and milk together in a small bowl. Brush the egg wash over the top and sides of the dough, and bake the king cake until golden and cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Set on a rack to cool completely.

9. Make the icing while the cake cools. Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, milk, and vanilla together in a bowl until smooth and completely incorporated. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel until you are ready to glaze the cake.

10. To make the colored sugars, divide 1 cup of the sugar into three sealable quart-size plastic bags. Add 4 drops of green food coloring to one bag, 4 drops of gold or yellow to another, and 4 drops of purple to the last bag. (If you don’t have purple, mix 2 drops each of red and blue food coloring in a spoon, and mix with a toothpick.)Seal the bags and shake them to combine the sugar and food coloring.

11. When the cake is cool, spoon the icing over the cooled cake. Immediately after icing, decorate with the colored sugars in patches of one-third or one-sixth to surface area. Slice and serve immediately.


King of the Cake: Mardi Gras with Chef David Guas

With Fat Tuesday just around the corner, I asked my friend David Guas to share his thoughts about the King Cake, the classic dessert of the Carnival season. David began his career as a pastry chef and brought the king cake from his native New Orleans to his two NOLA-inspired restaurants in the Washington, DC area, giving DC locals a chance to taste the flavors of one of my favorite cities. Enjoy!

To put it plainly, I bake cakes to fill the void in the pit of my stomach that makes me ache for home. I grew up eating rich, decadent cakes for celebrations – the multilayered Doberge was the only birthday cake I knew, scarlet wedges of red velvet was on special occasions, homey slices of Strawberry Shortcake was during Ponchatoula, Louisiana strawberry season, and then the familiar sweet bread cake in the shape of a crown, the King Cake, shows we have moved into the carefree Carnival season. Slicing a healthy slab with the side of a fork—whether at the dinner table, as part of a holiday celebration, or just any day at all—and tasting tender crumb against chocolate or slick icing or ripe fruit bring me straight back to my youth. Add a frosty glass of milk and you’ve got the best remedy for homesickness ever invented.

When I was in high school, some friends and I would stop at McKenzie’s Bakery in Uptown New Orleans, on the way to swim team practice, buy a king cake, and try to out-eat one another while driving to the pool. Whoever finished the king cake by the time we got to practice was the winner and undisputed master of the king cake—needless to say we weren’t the speediest (or most buoyant) swimmers during Carnival season!

January 6, also known as Twelfth Night, marks the beginning of New Orleans’s Carnival celebrations and the start of king cake season. King cake is to Mardi Gras what pumpkin pie is it Thanksgiving—the holiday just wouldn’t be the same without it. Every table in every home, office, cafeteria, and lounge will be graced by a king cake at some point between Twelfth Night and Fat Tuesday, when Lent begins. During this time, which can happily stretch for months depending on the calendar year, New Orleans is invaded by king cakes and king cake parties.

Similar to a glazed coffee cake, the feted culinary confection is more of a sweet bread than a cake, laced with cinnamon, shaped like a braid or a crown (depending on the baker), and decorated with sugar tinted the three colors of Mardi Gras: gold for power, green for faith, and purple for justice. Our cake at Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery is a more of a traditional French style brioche, deliciously simple with a buttery pastry, stuffed with Creole cream cheese and topped with a good dose of sugar. As a bonus, a tiny plastic baby is hidden in the cake whoever gets the piece with the prize gets to host the next king cake party and supply the king cake. So while most parts of the country spend January, February, and March recovering from the decadence of the holidays, New Orleanians are once again eating, celebrating, and living life to the max.


F or a chef, there are few places better to grow up than New Orleans, a city with a world-famous cuisine and a reputation for indulgence. Though he now lives and works in the Washington DC, area, pastry chef David Guas was born and raised in New Orleans, and the city remains a strong part of his personal and professional lives. He and his wife and two sons travel to New Orleans every Mardi Gras, and because he exudes a Big Easy presence, in DC he&aposs known as the "beignet guy." His association with the Crescent City&aposs beloved powdered sugar𠄽usted doughnuts is so strong, in fact, that Guas hopes the words "fried dough" appear on his headstone.

When Guas&aposs parents permanently relocated to Houston after Hurricane Katrina, the chef felt as if he had lost his "anchor or connecting thread" to the city. Eager to preserve his recipes and memories on paper and to give his sons a taste for what it was like to grow up in such a unique place, Guas set out to write DamGoodSweet: Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth, New Orleans Style, a collection of recipes inspired by his Big Easy experience.

While DamGoodSweet features many of the city&aposs most famous desserts—think king cake, pralines, and beignets—Guas also spotlights lesser-known favorites that he enjoyed throughout his childhood, such as Watermelon Granita-Topped Sno-Balls (Guas&aposs first "pastry job" was at one of the many sno-ball stands in New Orleans), Fried Apple Pie (his Great Aunt Patty&aposs specialty), and Brandy Milk Punch Ice Cream (a nod to the popular brunch cocktail).

Although Guas&aposs recipes originate from Louisiana and sometimes call for locally popular ingredients such as cane syrup and chicory coffee, he says, "Eighty percent of the ingredients are going to be in your pantry already." And if you want to procure the Crescent City staples, Guas provides his preferred online sources.

Here, Guas shares five recipes from DamGoodSweet and offers tips for making each one, plus advice on what can be done ahead.


Recipe Summary

  • 2 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (4 ounces)
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 ounces pitted dates (about 7 dates preferably Medjool)
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream (for serving)

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 1/4 cups of the cream with the butter, corn syrup and sugar bring to a boil. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until a deep amber caramel forms, about 40 minutes. Carefully whisk in the remaining 1 1/4 cups of cream. Strain the sauce through a sieve into a bowl.

In a small saucepan, simmer the dates in the water over moderately low heat until the water is nearly absorbed and the dates are soft, about 15 minutes. Transfer the dates and any liquid to a food processor and puree until very smooth.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly butter six 1/2-cup ramekins. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla, then beat in the date puree. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients. Spoon the batter into the ramekins and smooth the tops. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean let cool slightly.

Using a small serrated knife, trim the tops of the cakes level with the rims of the ramekins. Unmold the cakes and invert them onto a wire rack. Slice each cake in half horizontally. Wipe out the ramekins and spoon 1 tablespoon of the toffee sauce into each. Return the bottom layers of the cakes to the ramekins, cut side up. Spoon another tablespoon of the toffee sauce into the ramekins and top with the remaining cake layers. Spoon another tablespoon of the toffee sauce over the cakes and spread evenly. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until the toffee is bubbling around the edges.

Let the puddings cool for 5 minutes, then run a thin-bladed knife around the insides of the ramekins invert each pudding onto a dessert plate. Rewarm the remaining toffee sauce and spoon some around the puddings. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.


David Guas's King Cake

1. Whisk the yeast with the warm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer until dissolved. Add 6 Tbs. bread flour and the honey. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until smooth with a few small lumps, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled in volume, about 20 minutes.

2. When the dough is doubled, add 3/4 cup bread flour, and all the cake flour, eggs, egg yolk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and almond extracts, and salt. Mix on low speed until combined, then switch to a dough hook. Increase the speed to medium, and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

3. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and add 4 Tbs. of butter, one Tbs. at a time, mixing well between additions. Continue to knead until the dough forms a slack ball that will hang loosely on the dough hook and be sticky to the touch. (It shouldn't slap the bowl, but it should hold together). This should take 2-3 minutes. If the dough doesn’t hold together, add up to 1/4 cup of bread flour and keep kneading until it does.

4. Coat the inside of a large bowl with 1/2 Tbs. of butter. Transfer the dough to the bowl, turning it over in the bowl to coat with butter. Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and put it in a warm, draft-free spot until the dough has doubled in size--about 1 hour.

5. Line a rimmed baking sheet pan with parchment paper. Coat the parchment paper with the remaining butter. Generously flour your work surface with bread flour. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and sprinkle the top with flour. Using your hands, press and flatten it into a rectangle.

6. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 1/4-inch-thick strip about 24 inches long by about 6 inches wide. Starting with one of the long sides, roll the dough on top of itself, making a long, thin baguette-shaped length. Pinch the edge to the body of the dough to seal. Then turn the dough so it lies horizontally on your work surface, and gently roll it to even out any bulges and create a more or less consistent 1 1/2-inch-wide rope. Bring the two ends of the dough together and pinch them together.

7. Carefully transfer the dough oval or circle to the prepared sheet pan. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap. Set in a warm, dry spot to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

8. Heat the oven to 375°F. Whisk the egg and milk together in a small bowl. Brush the egg wash over the top and sides of the dough, and bake the king cake until golden and cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Set on a rack to cool completely.

9. Make the icing while the cake cools. Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, milk, and vanilla together in a bowl until smooth and completely incorporated. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel until you are ready to glaze the cake.

10. To make the colored sugars, divide 1 cup of the sugar into three sealable quart-size plastic bags. Add 4 drops of green food coloring to one bag, 4 drops of gold or yellow to another, and 4 drops of purple to the last bag. (If you don’t have purple, mix 2 drops each of red and blue food coloring in a spoon, and mix with a toothpick.)Seal the bags and shake them to combine the sugar and food coloring.

11. When the cake is cool, spoon the icing over the cooled cake. Immediately after icing, decorate with the colored sugars in patches of one-third or one-sixth to surface area. Slice and serve immediately.