Cake of kings

Prep: 3 hrs, 30 mins Cook: 45 mins Plus overnight soaking

A challenge

Cuts into 20 slices
Versions of this cake – a fruity Brioche-like bread – are eaten all over Europe on Twelfth Night. Buried inside is a trinket, and whoever finds it, is king for the day

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per slice

  • kcal252
  • fat8g
  • saturates3g
  • carbs41g
  • sugars13g
  • fibre1g
  • protein5g
  • salt0.43g
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  • 85g citrus candied peel, chopped
  • 100g raisin
  • 50g pine nut
  • 50g glacé cherry
  • 5 tbsp sherry or brandy
  • 500g plain flour
  • 3 tsp easy-blend yeast



    Yeast is a living, single-cell organism. As the yeast grows, it converts its food (in the form…

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 150ml milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

  • 100g softened butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 lemon, grated zest



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • 1 orange, grated zest



    One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

  • 4 egg, beaten



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 1 trinket or dried bean (in greaseproof paper)

To finish

  • 195g candied fruits
  • 6 sugar lumps



    Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…

  • 1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 tbsp water
  • apricot jam, to glaze


  1. Soak citrus peel, raisins, pine nuts and cherries in the sherry or brandy overnight until plump. Measure 140g/5oz of the fl our in a large mixing bowl and mix with the yeast. Tip the remaining flour and salt into a separate bowl and set aside. Heat the milk until just warm, make a well in the centre of the flour mix, and gradually add the milk to form a batter, beating until smooth. Cover with a tea towel and leave for 20 mins, until frothy.

  2. In another bowl, beat butter, sugar and zests until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Don’t worry if it curdles, this won’t affect the final cake. Stir the mix into the batter, along with the remaining flour, to make a dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 mins, until smooth and elastic. Knead in the fruit mix, a bit at a time, kneading after each addition until evenly distributed. This bit is messy, but dust the dough and your hands with flour as you work.

  3. Pop the dough into a clean bowl and cover. Leave for 2 hrs, until doubled in size. Butter a large baking sheet. Knead the dough again briefly, then shape into a sausage, about 50cm long. Curl onto the baking sheet to make a ring, pinching the ends to join. Tuck the trinket under the cake, cover and leave for 1 hr, until doubled in size. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.

  4. Slice the candied fruits and crush the sugar lumps into small pieces (put them in a cup and use the end of a rolling pin). Brush the top of the ring with egg and decorate with candied fruits and sugar. Bake for 45 mins, then transfer to a wire rack and brush the top with jam. Leave to cool before cutting.

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Questions (2)

REDHOT's picture

I made this bread today as I wanted to start practicing for Christmas. I have never been a successful bread maker even at the most basic level but felt motivated to have a go - what with all the encrusted jewels on this recipe. The recipe says 4 eggs - but not the size. I used large but wondered if thats what made the dough 'sag'. I floured the work surface and my hands but would have needed so much nore flour as the dough just stuck to the kitchen work surface! Do I need smaller eggs so less liquid goes in? Whats making my dough so sticky that I can't pick it up to knead it? Can anyone help please?

goodfoodteam's picture
Hi there thanks for your question, unless otherwise stated eggs should be medium. It does sound like you may have had too much liquid in the bread. If that happens again add more flour until you have a dough that is soft but not sticky.

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