Twelfth Night is a lovely idea. It comes from the British Christian calender relating to the end of the twelve days of Christmas. There seems to be slight confusion as to when the twelve days of Christmas do actually start and end. Some sources say the night of Epiphany, 5th January is Twelfth night and some say the 6th.
Shakespeare's play "Twelfth Night" was written as entertainment for the festivities. The evening was meant for "merrymaking" - lovely word! The twelfth night cake was an important part of the party. A dried pea or bean was put into the cake, whoever received the slice with the pea or bean inside was crowned king or queen for the day, hence the name "King's Cake" as it is sometimes known.
My recipe I'm sure bear's little relation to the original, although I gather it was loaded with dried fruit and probably alcohol - rather like a Christmas cake. This is good though - as a last minute addition I toasted some pine nuts and tossed them in and they worked a treat. Hope you enjoy it.
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sucanant sugar
Zest of 1 orange
Zest of 1 lemon
4 large eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup ground almonds
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of nutmeg
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 cup golden raisins
For the syrup;
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 sucanant sugar
For the glaze;
1/2 cup of confectioner's sugar
4-6 tablespoon heavy cream (more if needed to produce a smooth consistancy)
Heat the oven to 350F
Grease and flour a bundt cake mold.
Cream the butter, sugar and zests until really light and creamy.
Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well.
Combine the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
Combine the sour cream, vanilla extract and orange juice.
Add half the flour mixture, gently combine, add the sour cream mixture, gently combine, then add all but 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture. Combine and don't over mix.
Toss the pine nuts and raisins in the 2 tablespoons of flour. Stir into the batter.
Pour into the bundt pan and bake for approx 50 minutes to 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the syrup. Combine the sugar and orange juice and heat until the sugar has dissolved.
When the cake is cooked through, remove from the oven leave to cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack, place a large plate under the rack and pour the syrup over the top. Leave to cool thoroughly.
To make the glaze, combine the confectioner's sugar and cream in the bowl of a mixer and beat until smooth and runny. When the cake is cool, pour the glaze over the top.
Enjoy with a cup of tea.