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King Cake recipe (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

Total time: 1 hour, 45 minutes, plus rising times

Servings: 12 to 16

Note: The cake can be adapted to any occasion by substituting or eliminating the colored sugars. Colored sugars and plastic king cake babies are generally available at baking supply stores, as well as online. For better flavor, rehydrate the raisins in a small saucepan, covered with spiced rum, over low heat just until plump and tender.

Apple filling

2 tablespoons butter

2 large tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, quartered and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch slices

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup raisins

1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the apple slices, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt, and cook, stirring frequently, just until the apple starts to soften, 3 to 4 minutes (the slices should still be crisp). Remove from heat and stir in the raisins and toasted pecans. Spread the apple mixture onto a baking sheet to stop the cooking process and allow the apples to cool quickly, then cover and refrigerate until needed.

Cream cheese filling

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons sugar

1/2 beaten egg (save the other half egg to make the egg wash for the cake)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together the cream cheese with the vanilla, salt and sugar. Add the beaten egg to the cream cheese mixture and beat until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Cream cheese glaze