Celebrate Twelfth Night - Eat Cake!


Apparently, there are several cultures in the world that regard Twelfth Night - also know as Three Kings Day or Epiphany - as a great time to eat a very special cake!

I decided to make baking a special cake on Twelfth Night a new tradition at my house - beginning this year! With this very cake - Gâteau Basque.


However, even though I chose Gâteau Basque - a cake I have been wanting to learn to make for at least 15 years - I got waylaid during this past year by an easy little cake recipe for Swedish Visiting Cake.

So - unable to make up my mind - I made both!

bolo rei

photo of Bolo Rei by distopiandreamgirl

Bolo Rei is actually quite traditional for Three Kings Day and if you want to bake something traditional you could make Three Kings Cake using Christina's recipe which I posted on my blog in December.

FYI Christina, who hails from Portugal, just started her very own blog, and she is a great beliver in reuse and recycle.  Scroll to her completely recycled materials creche. Pop over and say hello, won't you?

Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie by carabou (Cara Fealy Choate)

Another cake that I think would be lovely for Twelfth Night celebrations is Boston Cream Pie. And if you wanted you could forgo the chocolate and create a hybrid Bolo Rei/Gateau Basque by topping the cake with imported raspberries, strawberries or even a lovely compote of plums and cranberries like this one from Lizzy at Ruffles and Ribbons, or go to Ikea and pick up a jar of Swedish lingon berry jam!

I adore Boston Cream Pie and have been making it since Diane was a baby. But never had I considered topping it with fruit! Guess what I will be making during Strawberry season!

Diane would probably tell me to add raspberries to the top of hers - and LEAVE the chocolate topping in the recipe!


Back to the Cakes I DID make!


My beautiful Gâteau Basque right out of the oven!

I have actually let the recipe I have been saving intimidate me for all these years even though I am a huge fan of cake and custard together! But this past spring, Urban Comfort featured a link to this version of Basque Cake on Jeff's Baking blog, and I determined that I would make it for Twelfth Night no matter what.

Be sure to visit the post on Urban Comfort because her cake photograph is simply beautiful and you can easily see why I was inspired to overcome my reluctance to try it.

It is not exactly a "piece of cake" to put together since it requires making a custard and a cake and owning a number 10 mm pastry tip and piping the cake batter into the pan and dealing with ounces instead of cup measure, but OMG it is so worth it!

Why oh why, why. why did I wait for so long.  Do NOT follow my bad example!  Make one soon.  Sooooo light, creamy and fabulous!  Just melts in your mouth.


If I had not copied the recipe without photos, I would have noticed that the piping does NOT have to be even - which of course mine was not - at all even! (Started out pretty in the center and then rapidly went down hill.)


The bottom piping gets all covered up with the custard.


And the top not only gets covered with almonds, but the swirls all disappear anyway!

If you don't have the pastry tip on hand, you may want to try the recipe that I saved all these years. The "cake" dough handles a little more like pastry dough and you roll it out into two rounds and sandwich the custard in between. The recipe is from Bon Appetite (1994) so I KNOW it is good.

If you can get your hands on a bag, I definitely recommend you use King Arthur flour for this recipe (and the Swedish Visiting Cake.) I find it absolutely the best flour to use for light, tender cakes and cookies. I no longer will use anything else!

However, since I had only the all-purpose flour on hand, and the recipe calls for cake flour, I removed about 1 heaping tablespoon of the flour, once it was weighed, and then I sifted it in thirds into the mixing bowl just to add a bit more air.

Sadly, there is no rum in my custard. Seems my "cooking" rum has sort of disappeared. Hummmmmm. But the cake is still d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s!


I am so glad I decided to make both cakes because if the Gâteau Basque is too much to tackle - the Swedish Visiting Cake is ridiculously easy! I am not kidding!

It took me exactly ten minutes from beginning to mix the ingredients to this lovely batter going into the oven!


The recipe for Swedish Visiting Cake is from Dorie Greenspan, but I am certain I must have found the link on another blog as Dorie is new to me. Unfortunately, in my excitement, I printed off the recipe and neglected to write down the link source.

Be sure to spend some time exploring Dorie's site.  I know I will return often.


This is it - the sum total of my mixing tools!

I can see why Dorie says her friend's mother claimed that the cake could be stirred up while unexpected guests walk up the drive and ready to eat almost before their coats are off! Five minutes out of the oven and the cake is ready to eat!

I love it. I have just eaten three pieces. And judging from the funny little contented murmurs (which I can not begin to know how to spell) coming from my sweetie, he likes it too!

There have been a lot of happy groans and contented sighs emanating from my kitchen this afternoon!


Happy Twelfth Night to all, and to all a Good Cake!

Your Gateau Basque cake looks

Your Gateau Basque cake looks so good! I actually love Boston cream pie, but for some reason have never thought the chocolate belonged on it. Can you believe that? I guess that would make it a not-Boston cream pie... Raspberries sounds perfect.

I love all your links, and will be visiting your friend's new blog.

Happy New Year, Pam!!

All those cakes look

All those cakes look delicious. I haven't spent as much time in the kitchen as I used to. I miss it. I guess I need to find some new recipes to try out this year.

Your cake looks

Your cake looks unbelievable!
I have to tell you though, that Twelfth Night and Epiphany are two seperate days. Twelfth Night (Jan. 5)is the 12th day of Christmas, or the last day of the Christmas season. Epiphany (Jan. 6) is the first day out of the Christmas season, even though it does celebrate the coming of the Kings bearing gifts. It is easy to get it confused and think it is all the same day. We celebrate them both! :)

Wow Phyllis!  Thank you for

Wow Phyllis!  Thank you for the heads up on the two celebrations!  Jan 6th has always been celebrated as Twelfth night in our family - but now that you have pointed it out  - 12 days makes it the 5th!

So I actually did bake my cakes on Twelfth night afterall!  And now, that it is january 6th, I am having cake for breakfast!

Beautiful! I love that it was

Beautiful! I love that it was so good you had three pieces. I'm not a sweet food lover but I love my Clementine cake which I made the other day, also eating three pieces myself. Now I don't feel guilty for hogging so much of it ;)
I will look for that recipe, I love almonds and I love easy. I'm wondering if it really has to be piped though?
And as for where the rum went, I'm sure it was put to a good festive use ;)

Clementine  Cake!?I have

Clementine  Cake!?I have never heard of it!  But thanks to good ole Google, I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen! Definitely a good candidate for Twelfth Night celebrating.  Thank you so much!  While I am the Cookie Monster in the family, my sweetie  is the Clementine Monster. He would love this cake.

I can tell you he is crazy about that Basque Cake with all the custardy goodness in the middle! Jeff says it will keep a whole week in the fridge - NOT in this house!

Piping?  Well maybe not necessary but a perfect way to ensure the layers of batter are evenly distributed.  A 10 mm hole cut in one corner of a plastic food bag or a cone of parchment would also work if the pastry bag and tip are not available.


Oh yuuuuuum! I've not ever

Oh yuuuuuum! I've not ever even heard of these kinds of cakes, but they look DELICIOUS! YUM! :)