Thursday, December 24, 2009

Twelfth cake for a bread-making machine.


A few months ago I listened to food historian Ivan Day, on R4, explaining that the British heavily fruited Christmas Cake evolved out of an earlier sweet bread relative of the German stollen and Italian panettone, called a Twelfth Cake or King Cake. He supplied an eighteenth century recipe by a chef called John Molland. Twelfth Night cakes of various sorts are still made in parts of Europe and the USA, but the English version has died out.

Since it is a yeast based recipe, I thought it would be interesting to adapt John Molland's recipe for a breadmaker, and I'm pleased with the result. It is more like a stollen than a panettone, but with the fruitiness and spiciness of a Christmas cake. The recipe uses American measuring cups and spoons:

Put the following ingredients in the bread-maker pan in the order given:

Skimmed milk - 1 1/3 cups
Butter - 2 ½ oz, at room temperature and cut up into small chunks
Salt - a pinch
White flour - 1 lb
Granulated sugar - 3 oz
Currants - 10 oz
Mixed spice - 1 tsp*
Mixed peel 2 ½ oz
Baking yeast 2 ¼ tsp

Set machine to sweet-bread cycle, at 2 lb setting and light crust.

When cooked sprinkle with sifted icing sugar. The original twelfth cake would have been round in shape, iced and decorated with crowns or figures of the Twelfth Night king and queen.

*Mixed spice is a traditional British spice mix. If you are outside the UK you'll have to mix your own, you will find plenty of recipe's for it on the web.

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