In the spirit of the season I decided to make a king cake. For those of you who don't know what that is, it is a cake that is shaped into a ring and is either filled or unfilled. It is a tradition for these cakes to make their appearences during the Mardi Gras season (which starts on January 6th, or twelfth night). I decided to make both, but for this post I will only feature the filled because my other dough has to rest in the fridge over night.
While the dough is rising make the filling. Place the frozen berries, lemon juice, 1/4 cup sugar, and pinch of salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the berries for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often, until the berries have broken down and the liquid will thickly coat the back of the spoon. It may be necessary to assist some of the larger strawberries in the breakdown process by smooshing them with a spoon. While the berries are simmering away, add the softened cream cheese and 1/8 cup of sugar into a mixing bowl. Cream the mixture together until smooth. Add in the sour cream, egg, and lemon zest and mix until thoroughly blended. Set the cream cheese mixture aside. Once the berries are finished, transfer them into a bowl to cool for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, refrigerate the berries until the dough has finished rising, so they have more of a chance to firmly set.
Once the dough has doubled in size, pour it out onto a lightly floured long piece of parchment paper. Lightly flour the top of the dough and a rolling pin (a smooth-edged glass will work in place of a rolling pin in a pinch). Roll the dough out into a rectangle about 18 inches long and 7 or so inches wide. Gently lift all the sides of the rectangle to make sure the dough is not sticking to the parchment paper, this will be important when you go to roll up the cake. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 1 inch border around the outside of the dough. Next, evenly spread a thin layer of the berry mixture over the cream cheese layer. You may not need to use the entirety of the berries.
Slide the parchment paper that the king cake is on, onto a large movable surface, such as a large cutting board or a sheet pan. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper then place the sheet pan, parchment side down, on top of the king cake to form a king cake sandwich. Trying not to smash the cake, quickly flip the sandwich over and lift off the top cutting board or sheet pan. Gently peel back the parchment paper, and voila!, the king cake is transferred to a parchment-lined sheet pan, seam side down, and ready for its second rise and the oven. Recover the cake with greased plastic wrap and a hand towel and allow it to rise for another 30 minutes. Bake the cake at 375 degrees in the upper 1/3 of the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown. Immediately transfer the cake to a cooling rack after removing it from the oven. This is most easily done by sliding the parchment paper onto the rack directly from the sheet pan. Allow the cake to cool for at least 20 minutes before icing the cake.