FOR THE CAKE:
- 1 cup of non-dairy milk, I used plain unsweetened almond milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 2 egg replacers
- 4 tablespoons of vegan butter, softened and divided
FOR THE FILLING:
- 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons vegan butter, softened
FOR THE ICING:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1– 1 1/2 tablespoons of non-dairy milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a small saucepan, combine the milk and sugar. Heat over medium until the mixture just begins to bubble around the edges. You want it to be about the temperature of bathwater around 100-110 degrees. Any hotter and it will ruin your yeast. Take off of the heat, stir in the yeast, and set aside for 5 minutes to let the yeast activate and bubble a little.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add in 3 cups of flour and salt. With the mixer on low, pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
- Add in the vegan egg replacers and continue to mix on low until a shaggy dough begins to form.
- Slowly mix in the remaining 1 cup of flour and then slowly add in the butter, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix until just combined.
- Put on the dough hook and leave the stand mixer running to knead for about 8 minutes on low speed. You can also do this with your hands if desired. Every couple of minutes, stop the mixer, take the dough off of the hook, reposition it, and restart the kneading on low speed. Once done kneading, the dough should be elastic and neither sticky nor wet at all. If it’s a bit sticky, add just a touch more flour in. I never need to do this step but just in case.
- Form the dough into a ball and place it into a large, well-greased bowl. Turn the dough a few times so it’s very lightly coated in oil all around. Cover bowl and let sit in a warm spot for 1 1/2 hours. It should roughly double in size. The results are a thick and rather dense dough.
- When the dough is nearly done rising, make the filling by simply mixing together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and vegan butter. Set aside until ready to use.
- Once the dough is ready, roll it out into a rectangle that is roughly 20 inches x 10 inches. Spread the cinnamon filling along half of the dough and then fold the dough over the filling (see photos above).
- Cut dough into three long strips (again, see photo above) and braid the dough from one end to the other. Stretch the braid out a bit so that it is once again roughly 20 inches long. Wrap the braid into a circle and form the 2 ends together by pinching them to seal the circle.
- Transfer the cake to a well-greased baking sheet (round is ideal), cover, and let rise for 45 minutes.
- When the cake is nearly ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the outside is a nice golden brown color. Let the cake cool completely (even overnight if desired) before icing it. Once cooled, you can hide the plastic baby inside the cake by gently tucking it in from the bottom.
- To make the icing, simply whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla until well combined. Pour the icing evenly over the cake using a spoon to spread it out.
- Finally, if desired, sprinkle the cake with the traditional green, yellow, and purple sprinkles immediately after icing it.
- ENJOY and Happy Mardi Gras!
Recipe brought to you by Food With Feeling