Cake of kings
- Preparation and cooking time
- 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
- STEP 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.
- STEP 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.
- STEP 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.
- STEP 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.