Catholic Recipe: Spanish King's Cake
Since Twelfth Night concludes the Christmas holidays, people traditionally have marked it with a big party closing the season. The Twelfth Night revels in many countries feature parties, dancing, and feasting. At the feasts, people often eat a special bread or cake with a bean, coin, or figurine baked in it. The person getting the piece with the good luck token becomes the Twelfth Night King or Queen, leading revelers in their merrymaking.
The holiday also carries solemn religious overtones. It is one of the three major Christian holidays, along with Christmas and Easter. The name Twelfth Night simply reflects its occurrence twelve days after Christmas. But in some places it is known as Feast of the Three Kings because the Three Kings (also known as Wise Men or Magi) are believed to have reached the Christ Child on January 6. And, with emphasis on the religious character of the occasion, Epiphany notes that the holiday marks a special revelation of Jesus's divine nature - the arrival of the three Magi as the first manifestation of Jesus to the Gentiles.
1. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Set aside for 5 minutes. Heat milk, sugar, butter, and salt to warm (105°-115°F).
2. Combine mace, 1 1/2 cups flour, yeast mixture, milk mixture, and egg. Mix thoroughly.
3. Add raisins, mixed candied fruit, and chopped walnuts. Mix thoroughly. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth - about 10 minutes.
4. Place in greased bowl, turning to coat top. Cover; let rise in warm place until double - about 1 1/2 hours.
5. Punch down dough. Divide dough in half. Roll each into a 20-inch rope. Twist together.
6. Place on greased baking sheet. Cover; let rise until almost double - about 45-60 minutes.
7. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven 30 minutes or until done. Cool on wire rack.
8. Frost loaf with Confectioners' Icing and decorate with walnut halves and additional candied fruit.Recipe Source: Festive Bread Book, The by Kathy Cutler, Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 1982