I missed Twelfth Night by one day, but author Ann Stephens comes to the rescue with a great family tradition. This cake would be a wonderful alternative to a traditional Mardis Gras King Cake--or just any time of the year you want something a little spicy!
Here's what Ann has to say about her cake: "Every year, my family revives the old custom of eating a King Cake on Twelfth Night. It harks back to my both my English ancestry and my hubby's French heritage. On January 5th or 6th, we have a nice dinner and follow it with a cake that has a quarter baked into it. I've tried a dried bean, like in the King cakes my mother-in-law enjoyed as a child in France, but they get mushy and are hard to find. The quarter is easier to find and harder for small children to swallow, but check their slices VERY, VERY carefully before you serve them!"
Any cake your family likes works as a King Cake, but this is the one I'm making this year:
Gingerbread Molasses Cake
1 1/4 C all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
4 T butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C unsulfured molasses
1 large egg
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 C boiling water
1 thoroughly washed quarter! ;) Leave this out if you want to use this recipe as a dessert for another time of year.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt.
In another bowl cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in the molasses and egg until the mixture is smooth.
In a measuring cup, combine the baking soda and boiling water till the soda is dissolved. Add the baking soda & water to the molasses mixture and stir (it will now appear curdled).
Add the molasses mixture to the dry ingredients and combine the ingredients well. I use an electric mixer for 2 minutes.
Pour the mixture into ONE greased and floured 8" or 9" pan, OR into a muffin tin with 12 paper liners. Bake at 350 degrees for 32 minutes for the round pan, or for 20 minutes for the cupcakes.
I serve this cake with cream cheese frosting or sprinkled with powdered sugar.
For a little more about Twelfth Night and my upcoming book, To be Seduced, visit my blog or my Facebook page!