At Christmas, our sweet tooth is always kept happy, with candy canes and Christmas cake, there is so much to chose from. If there is one new thing you try this year, make it the Christmas King Cake! Complete with candied fruits and nuts, this cake is going to be eaten up before you can blink. Baked with a cookie cutter in the middle, this cake looks like a crown, and shines like one too! Traditionally found in Portugal and eaten throughout Christmas and on Kings Day, January 6th, this taste of abroad will be saved with every mouthful.
56 ounces of all-purpose flour
8 ounces fine sugar
10 ounces butter
1 ½ tsp active dry yeast
210ml of warm milk
80ml port wine
2 pinches of salt
3 ounces of pine nuts
3 ounces of walnuts chopped to pieces
6 walnuts to decorate
3 ounces slivered almonds
2 ounces golden raisins
3 ounces red and green candied cherries cut into quarters
3 of each red and green candied cherries to decorate
8 ounces candied fruit cut into smaller pieces (you could use pear, apricot, peach, lemon, orange, tangerine)
2 half candied fruit of your choice to cut into strips for decoration
2 candied tangerines or oranges cut into quarters for decoration
Fruit jam to give a shine
Icing sugar for decoration
1. Warm the milk up to 35c
2. In a bowl dissolve the yeast with 7ml of milk
3. Sift the flour and put 8 ounces into a bowl, making a well in the centre, add the yeast mixture, a pinch of sugar and sprinkle some flour on top. Leave this for 10 minutes to rise.
4. Put the remaining flour, milk and sugar to the bowl, start stirring slowly to combine, then give it some elbow grease to beat it into a stiff dough (this is made easier by a flat beater of a mixing stand!)
5. Separate your butter into chunks and add along with the wine, and salt. Add the eggs one at a time, beating the mixture well before you add another one. The dough will appear sticky at first but keep beating it until it forms a ball that pulls away from the sides.
6. Once the mixture starts to fall away from the sides, it is time to get those muscles working (or change the head of your mixer to a spiral dough hook) keep working at the dough for 15-20 minutes. The result will feel elastic, soft, and very sticky.
7. Sprinkle a little flour to the top of the mixture, cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm, draft free place for 1 ½ hours, this will give the dough time to double in size.
8. Knock the mixture back and add the nuts and candied fruits to the mixture, giving it a stir to achieve an even mixture.
9. Take a 2 ½ inch cookie cutter and wrap it in parchment paper, making sure it is secure, so it doesn’t unravel during baking.
10. Move your dough to a work surface and roll into a long log. The dough will be sticky, but all of that mess is definitely worth it!
11. Line a round baking tray with parchment paper and place your mixture into a circle around the edge, leaving space in the middle. Pop your cookie cutter into the centre to help achieve that crown shape.
12. Leave to rise for an hour or until it has doubled in size in the same way as before.
13. Preheat the oven to 135c
14. Add the walnuts, cherries, and strips of candied fruit to decorate the top of your uncooked cake. Bake for 30 minutes then remove the cookie cutter and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until it is golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap it.
15. Allow to cool and spread the fruit jam lightly over the top, to create a shiny finish, sprinkle with icing sugar and serve.
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