Friday, January 6, 2012

Twelfth Night Cake


My other Twelfth Night Post this year deals with the Sacred aspects of the Festival. This is devoted to the traditional Cake for the King of the Bean Ritual.

A Twelfth Night Eggnog Pound Cake


3½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1½ cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
6 large eggs
1½ cups eggnog

Powdered sugar, for dusting
½ cup chocolate chips, for making stars
½ cup white chocolate chips, for making stars

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugars and butter thoroughly.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the flour mixture one-third at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Beat until smooth.

Transfer the batter to the prepared Bundt pan. Do not overfill! Any remaining batter can be used to make cupcakes. Bake at 325 degrees until it tests done, approximately 1 hour.

Remove cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and allow to rest on the wire rack until completely cool.

When cool, turn cake upside down. Make a slit in the bottom of the cake with a sharp knife and place an uncooked white bean in the opening. If you have the traditional British sterling charms, make slits for them and place them in the cake as well at regular intervals. The traditional charms are: Horseshoe, Coin, Bachelor's Button, Wishbone, Wedding Bell, Thimble.

Turn the cake onto a serving platter. Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar. Decorate with chocolate stars, if desired.

To make chocolate stars:

Melt 1/2 cup of chocolate chips or white chocolate chips in a small container. When melted and smooth scrape the chocolate into a small plastic bag and trim 1/4 inch from a lower corner of the bag.

Pipe the soft chocolate in rough star shapes onto a baking sheet or cutting board covered with waxed paper or parchment paper.

After covering the surface with stars, place the stars in the refrigerator for five minutes or so, or until set and firm. Peel the stars from the paper and arrange on and around the cake.

A crown made of gold paper can be set in the centre of the cake, filled with sprigs of live holly, ivy and evergreen.

The person who finds the bean in his/her piece of Cake is crowned 'King/Queen of the Bean' and chooses a consort blindfolded. He/she is the 'Lord/Lady of Misrule' and can make commands for the most absurd acts from those attending. Often a special gift is awarded to the King and the Queen. In some traditions, the King/Queen must give next year's Twelfth Night Party.

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