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Celebrate Twelfth Night - Eat Cake!
Submitted by Pam on Thu, 01/06/2011 - 01:19
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!
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 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!
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!