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How To Make A King Cake Latte

The King Cake Latte Is Incredible—Here’s How To Make One At Home
Latte King Cake

ZAC CADWALADER  Originally Published on: JANUARY 15, 2021 WIRE SHARE


COVID-19 has pretty much-ruined everything; this we already know. But some traditions remain intact, and that includes the delicious tradition of King Cake.

Traditionally served in the month of January, bakeries around Louisiana are pumping out the traditional pastry to offer a sweet bite of better times. In my own backyard of Dallas, PJ’s, a New Orleans-based coffee shop hopping across the Texas-Lousiana border, is offering an exciting new twist on the foodie favorite: King Cake Lattes. Per Eater Dallas, the limited-time drink includes “PJ’s espresso dolce roast, steamed milk with vanilla and cinnamon, and topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream dusted in purple sugar.”

Frankly, everyone here at Sprudge is obsessed. Much like Hamentashen, the King Cake is one of those sweet treats that comes but once a year, whose arrival is hungrily awaited. Find a way to add coffee to it—or it to coffee—and you’ve really got our attention.

But we understand not everyone can pop out to their nearest cafe for a King Cake Latte. So if you can’t get to a PJ’s, or want to make your very own version, Sprudge co-founder and noted King Cake enthusiast Jordan Michelman has whipped us up a play-at-home recipe.

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King Cake Latte Topping

First, let me state for the record that King Cake is literally the best. There is no better sweet treat. GambinosHaydelsDong PhuongSucreAmbrosia Bakery—you cannot go wrong with any of these, and nearly all of them ship.

Traditional Louisiana-style King Cake calls for a very simple icing, what’s sometimes called “English icing” made of powdered sugar, milk, and lemon. As with all things King Cake there is endless variation and riffing—there is even an un-iced purist version, made using puff pastry and almond filling (they make an excellent one at Poupart Bakery). The inclusion of butter or even cream cheese to the icing recipe is not uncommon, although others feel the only appropriate place for cream cheese is inside the King Cake itself.

Very fine icing will fall apart immediately atop liquid, which is why the King Cake Latte needs to be floated with stouter stuff. After much trial and error, I suggest making a simple Diplomat Cream (aka Creme Patissiere), a sort of whipped cream vanilla pudding hybrid that holds up on top of a mug, and makes a sturdy precipice for the critical addition of gold, green, and purple sprinkles.

First, make a simple custard. Heat milk in a saucepan, then cream sugar and egg yolks together in a separate bowl, adding flour as you go. Combine the two into the saucepan, remove from heat, and stir until smooth. There are a billion recipes for this—I outlined the St. John version up above but use whatever style you like.

Then make whipped cream. Whatever your preferred method is here is fine—I like cream, vanilla, and icing sugar in an electric mixer, but everyone has their own way, and also store-bought is fine.

Combine the custard and the whipped cream together once everything is room temp. Store in the fridge for half an hour to let it cool and set up.

Then make your coffee. King Cake is a sweet treat, and your coffee should be too for this drink, although of course, the level of sweetness is up to you. Dissolving a teaspoon of brown sugar and powdered cinnamon into brewed not-too-light roasted coffee is a fine move—the house or espresso blend at your favorite indie roaster should work great, but let me specifically recommend this notes of King Cake blend now offered by Mug Drugs. To this, you might also add pre-sweetened alternative milk if that’s your preference, or otherwise sweeten up some cold brew. But don’t skip the cinnamon—this is a really important part of the King Cake flavor profile.

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Pour your sweet and cinnamony coffee into a vessel of your choosing, then top with a dollop of the Diplomat Cream, enough to cover the brew. The King Cake Latte isn’t a latte, exclusively; it’s more like a King Cake Coffee, and the coffee portion itself can be a latte, or cold brew with stuff added, or brewed coffee with stuff added, and the Diplomat Cream will blend with the liquid as you’re drinking with, further latte-fying the proceedings. The name—King Cake Latte—is more about evoking a feeling than any sort of specific drink requirement. Whatever you’re into is ultimately what’s correct, in this recipe as with all things in life.

Now it’s time for sprinkles. The traditional Mardi Gras colors each have their own unique meaning: purple for justice, green for faith, gold for power. It’s common to represent all three evenly, but if you’re in need of a little more faith or justice this year, the Lord won’t mind.

Sprinkle your sprinkles atop the Diplomat Cream, and sip your way through it to the sweet cinnamony beverage below. What a wonderful treat.

As a final note, you might be wondering about the baby—baking a plastic baby inside of King Cake is part of the tradition, but here in 2021 a lot of places sell the baby on the side to avoid choking hazard litigation. Many a King Cake baby is available for sale online, so do with that information what you wish. Happy drinking!

Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

Jordan Michelman (@suitcasewine) is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Jordan Michelman on Sprudge. 

Related:

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Why are Espresso Cups So Small? 4 Interesting Facts

SEPTEMBER 16, 2020

COFFEE FACTS

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Espresso is an integral part of many coffee lover’s daily life! We sip it at anytime you want and just enjoy the natural aromas and scents that comes from it.

But have you ever wondered why are espresso cups so small? This is something that has plagued our minds, so we decided to do a bit of research and answer the question for you and ourselves.

Before we get into answering the question, we got to cover a bit of background about Espresso. Espresso is served in a delicate small mug in which the coffee with a frothy layer on top, usually the foam from the brewing process.

Espresso is brewed with a blend of hot water under intense pressure. To make the best espresso, the beans of coffee should be ground into very fine powder.

You cannot use gritty, grainy coffee powder into the machine. This finely ground powder is compressed into a compact lump. It is not strong coffee but a flavorful espresso using a different preparation method.

Now that we got some basics about espresso out the way, we can cover off the main question then followed with some additional things you may not know about espresso.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Why are espresso cups so small?What size should an espresso cup be?How quickly should you drink espresso?Why is espresso so strong?Final Thoughts

WHY ARE ESPRESSO CUPS SO SMALL (1)

Why are espresso cups so small?

Espresso is made by pressing coffee and it has a crema layer on top to lock the aroma within the espresso.

To sustain this crema, the espresso cups are made small and the reason they are served in small cups is to avoid the creme layer to spread out!

Falling or dissipating crema can also make the espresso cold. Espresso is thicker and consists of lesser water as compared to a drip coffee. It is caffeine packed and flavorful into a small cup.

Some primary aspects of espresso cups being small are:

  • Crema, which is a foam layer forms on the top of an expresso. It is decorated on the top of the espresso. Espresso and cream make the cup. Selecting a large wide cup can result in the dissolving of crema. Crema is very important in making expresso perfect. Crema becomes very thin and gradually dissipates in a large cup.
  • Espresso is also very concentrated, and so you can say it is a shrunken form of coffee and a strong one in a small cup. A small cup itself tastes very strong, so much that it can use 7oz. of milk for 1 oz. of espresso.
  • A typical espresso is about 1-2 fluid ounces, which is right in a small cup.
  •  Espresso is about getting less water in a coffee that is too topped with foam crema.

Espresso in a small cup is just the right way to enjoy it. Its concentration, water content, and crema are in the right proportions in typical cup size.

why are espresso cups so small

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What size should an espresso cup be?

An espresso cup is of a typical size of 2-3 fluid ounces and the cup size is about half of the regular cup of coffee.

Hence, the espresso cup is also termed as “Demitasse Cup” in French, which is nothing but half a cup. The espresso cups are about 2-2 and 1/2 inches tall.

This is because if the cup is bigger, then there is a high chance of crema spreading out and unlocking the expressing aroma. Not only this, once crema splits, but it also spreads out and thins.

This eventually makes the crema disappear fast. A large cup impacts the espresso temperature as well. This makes the espresso turn cold very quickly.

Below we will take at each cup size with its standard and metric equivalents to get a better picture:

  • One cup means 2 ounces or 59 ml
  • Two cups mean 4 ounces or 118ml
  • Three cups mean 6 ounces or 177ml
espresso cup sizes

Related Article: How does a Drip Coffee Maker Work?

How quickly should you drink espresso?

Espresso, as the name suggests, should be made quick and also had quickly to get the best flavor, taste, and aroma. It should be drunk with “crema” on top.

What is crema? It is the creamy coffee oil emulsion that covers the espresso. It is a covering lid for espresso beneath. This way, all the espresso aromas are locked within to enjoy while drinking.

This emulsion is essential as the aroma dissipates fast. But then, how quickly should it be drunk to get overall espresso pleasure?

An espresso cup, traditionally, which is about 1-2 fl. ounces of coffee, should take about 25 seconds to get excellent espresso. But, when it comes to drinking it, to enjoy its flavor and aroma, but without making it cold, it would need around 2 minutes to sip an espresso cup.

Drink the espresso with crema layer on top to lock in the aroma without dissipation.

Take your espresso in three or more than three sips in about 30 seconds to as much as 4 minutes also. This time is particularly applicable for a double espresso shot.

The duration depends on how well you want to savor the drink with its flavors and aroma. It is essential to remember that a long time doesn’t mean more taste like the aroma and crema to dissipate with a longer time.

The time mentioned is sufficient enough to enjoy the espresso to the fullest. Beyond which, you are bound to get a cold, taste-fading espresso.

Related Article: Best Coffee Maker with Espresso

Why is espresso so strong?

Espresso is high in concentration and, therefore, can appear stronger as compared to regular coffee. It can also taste bitter than a regular brewed coffee.

But, the coffee strength is determined by the method and level of roasting of coffee beans and not how it is brewed.

Generally, coffee beans are roasted at three levels- Dark, medium, and light roast. Dark roast is done at 225 deg C to 230 deg C, medium roast is done at 210 deg C to 219 deg C, and the light roast is done at 196 deg C to 205 deg C temperatures.

The more the roasting of coffee beans, the enhanced will be its taste. On the same lines, the dark coffee roast is most strong of all coffee types.

An espresso made out of these dark roast of coffee beans results in a strong espresso as compared to regular coffee.

Final Thoughts

From the article above, we can see why a small cup is essential and important to get a perfect espresso. It is very important as a small cup with foamy crema keeps the espresso aroma, temperature, and flavor intact

The crema is very important to be thick and covering the coffee fluid. A larger cup can make the crema fall out, thin out, and eventually disappear.

This, in turn, makes the espresso flavorless, aroma less, and cold. Who would want to have a compromised, flavorless, and cold espresso? Get your typical small espresso cup and take pleasure in each sip.