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Catholic Recipe: Twelfth Night Cake


  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 2/3 cups sugar
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 5 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 6 beaten egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Details

  • Yield: 3 9" layers
  • Prep Time: 1 1/2 hours
  • Difficulty: • •
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: 11+
  • Origin:

Also Called: 12th Night Cake

Twelfth Night is an old English custom, and one about which there is very little written. In reality it is an Epiphany party. Each child in the family or neighborhood brings a small gift to the party, and all form a procession and lay their gifts at the crib under the Christmas tree. For refreshment a cake (the traditional 12th Night Cake) is baked in which are hidden three dried beans. The children who get the beans in their piece of cake receive a crown and are the "12th night Kings" during the remainder of the party. The kings distribute the gifts to all the children and select the songs and games.


Cream shortening and sugar. Add milk alternately with sifted dry ingredients. Fold in beaten egg whites. Add vanilla. Bake in three nine-inch greased layer tins in a moderate oven (375°) for about 30 minutes.

Recipe Source: How to Make Your House a Home by Rev. Bernard Stokes, O.F.M., Family Life Bureau, Washington D.C., 1955
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