A Cake for Kings

Nothing is better to start the year than with a new cake. I know that January is normally the month when we bring back the salads to justify our December excesses but I had to remind myself that we still have one last occasion for indulgence this month. Yes, on the 6th day of the present month and in many countries of the World we celebrate the Epiphany ( “Os Reis” in Portuguese). On this occasion, in Portugal, we eat the “Bolo-Rei’ which is a golden, rich and flavoursome fruit cake, shaped like a crown. It is covered by glacé cherries, candied fruits that resemble precious stones and dusted with icing sugar. I have great memories of seeing these cakes coming out of the ovens and displayed in large black iron trays in the patisseries. My mum would choose one from the trays that had ‘1 kilo’ marked in chalk and then we would take it home, wrapped in a thick cream paper and held together by a piece of brown string. A slice of this precious cake, together with a glass of vintage Port, marked with sovereign style the end of the festive season and the beginning of a new year. Here is a not too difficult recipe of my favourite January cake.

600 gr of strong white bread flour
1tbsp of dried yeast
150ml of luke warm water
3 eggs
75gr of unsalted soft butter
1 pinch of salt
150gr sugar
50gr of mixed nuts
50gr of candied citrus peel
For the topping 
50gr of candied fruit mix (pumpkin peel, figs, pears)
1 egg yolk
100gr icing sugar
Pre-heat the oven at 180 °C.
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Put the flour in a large bowl, make a well in the middle and add the yeast. Bring the flour from the sides of the bowl, mix slowly and let it rest for 20-25 minutes. In another bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar and butter till it resembles a fluffy white cream. Add this mixture to the flour, and with your hands mix very well. Add the nuts and the candied citrus peel. Transfer this dough 
into a clean surface, dusted with flour. Knead well for 15 minutes. The dough should be silky and soft and not too wet. If so, add a bit more flour. Put in a clean bowl and let it rest for 2 hours, covered with a
clean kitchen towel. Remove the dough from bowl, make a “crown” by rolling it into a thick roll and uniting each opposite end so that you end up with a shape that resembles a giant bagel. Place it on a baking tray
and let it rest for more 20 minutes. Brush with the beaten egg yolk, decorate with the mix of candied fruits and the glacé cherries and bake it in the oven for 50 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and let it cool in a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

3 responses to “A Cake for Kings

  1. Happy memories!

  2. Hmmmm, sinful…

  3. Delicioso!

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