Tuesday, January 7, 2014

What You Will... Twelfth Night celebrations

I just had to sneak in some quick photos of twelfth night.  Whenever I tell people we celebrate twelfth night they look at me blankly, as if we're celebrating some completely arbitrary day of the year… about as arbitrary as celebrating the 25th or 31st day of December, I say.  Twelfth night has been celebrated for centuries and what other holiday can boast a Shakespeare play written to be performed as part of the festivities?  (Incidentally, wouldn't Minty make a perfect Viola with her pixie hair cut?)

What I love most about twelfth night is the cake, with little treasures hidden inside to give you luck and decide your role for the day.  I made a traditional English style twelfth night cake this year.  Hidden inside the cake there was a...

-dried pea (or chickpea as was the case this year) = King
-dried bortolli bean = Queen
-dried cannelloni bean = Princess (a second 'princess' bean isn't really traditional but I wanted to increase the odds of finding something!)
-clove = villain
-twig = fool  (I used a twig from a rosemary plant so it wouldn't be too scary!)
-rag = the tart

Minty desperately wanted to be the fool this year and Turi wanted to be the villain, which I found amusing since I had always considered these to be the booby prizes! Alas it wasn't to be, the Mr. was this year's villain and our neighbour won the fool.  Minty scored the pea and was crowned King.  Poor little Turi found nothing so we had to tell him the borage flowers on top were good luck when eaten!!

Here is my twelfth night cake recipe.  I've changed the recipe pretty substantially from it's original source so I won't include it here (note the strange use of creme de cacao in lieu of brandy because we'd run out - it actually tasted pretty good!)…

227g caster sugar
227g butter (room temperature)
4 eggs
1/4 cup creme de cacao
220g plain flour
3/4 tspn all spice
100g glace cherries chopped
120g sultanas
3/4 cup blanched almonds chopped
1/4 cup chopped mixed peal

Preheat oven to 150C.  Line 8inch tin with baking paper.  Cream the butter and sugar.  Mix in lightly beaten eggs and creme de cacao.  Sift flour and spices together, then mix into the wet ingredients.  Fold through the fruit and nuts along with dried pea, bean etc for luck.  Pour into tin and bake for 2 hours, 45 mins, covering with foil after the first hour.

You can read about our cakes from previous years here (2012), and here (2011)

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