Cake of kings

Cake of kings

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(3 ratings)


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Cooking time

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

Skill level

For the keen cook


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

Additional info

  • Freezable
Nutrition info

Nutrition per slice

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  • 85g citrus candied peel, chopped
  • 100g raisins
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 50g glacé cherries
  • 5 tbsp sherry or brandy
  • 500g plain flour
  • 3 tsp easy-blend yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 150ml milk
  • 100g softened butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 lemons, grated zest
  • 1 orange, grated zest
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 trinket or dried bean (in greaseproof paper)

To finish

  • 195g candied fruits
  • 6 sugar lumps
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 tbsp water
  • apricot jam, to glaze

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  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.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, January 2006

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