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Epiphany Cake

Catherine Fournier

There are many traditions surrounding Epiphany. One very popular tradition involves hiding small items in cake.

On the night before the feast of Epiphany, a special cake would be served with three beans hidden within, two white beans and one black one. Whoever found the beans would be the KIngs at the Epiphany feast. Dressed in fine robes, they would preside over the feast and before leaving would hand out small gifts, equivalents of gold, frankincense and myrhh.

In the royal courts of the Middle Ages, Epiphany Cakes would contain a bean for the king and a pea for the Queen. Whoever found the bean and the pea would be the King and Queen of the feast.

A traditional 'Christ Cake' is popular in many countries of the world. A tiny plastic or ceramic statue of Christ would be baked into the cake. Whoever found the statue would be especially blessed throughout the coming year.

Two Easy Cake Recipes for Epiphany Cake

White Cake:

Ingredients:
  1. 2 1/4 cup white flour
  2. 1 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 3 teasppons baking powder
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/2 cup shortening
  6. 3/4 cup milk
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  8. 1/4 cup milk
  9. 2 eggs
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease lightly and flour two 8x8 inch cake pans or one 9x13 inch pan.
  2. Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Drop in the shortening. Pour in the first quantity of milk and vanilla.
  4. Mix at medium speed with an elelctric mixer until well blended.
  5. Add the remainder of the milk and the eggs, beat for 2 mins. Add beans, money, or small figure, stir gently.
  6. Pour into the pan or pans and bake for 25 minutes.
  7. Cool in pan for 10 mins and turn out onto a cake rack, or serve from the pan.

Easy White Icing

  1. 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  2. 1/4 cup cream
  3. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  4. 3 cups icing sugar, sifted to remove lumps.
  1. Combine butter, cream and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Slowly add sugar until the icing is thick, smooth and spreadable.
  3. Add more sugar or a few drops of cream to get the desired consistency.
  4. Spread on cool cake

Chocolate Cake:

Ingredients:
  1. 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  2. 1 cup hot strong coffee (you can use instant)
  3. 1/2 cup shortening
  4. 1 1/2 cup sugar
  5. 2 eggs
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  7. 1 1/2 cup white flour
  8. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  10. 1 teaspoon baking soda
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease lightly and flour two 8 inch round cake pans.
  2. Combine the cocoa and hot coffee in a small bowl or cup, mix well and set aside.
  3. Put the shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat until they are light and fluffy.
  4. Stir or sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  5. Add a third of the dry ingredients to the shortening egg mixture, blend in.
  6. Add half the cocoa mixture to the batter. Mix in.
  7. Repeat with dry ingredients, then remaining cocoa mixture, ending with dry ingredients, blending well after each addition so that the batter is smooth and evenly chocolate colored.
  8. Add beans, money, or small figure, and stir gently.
  9. Pour into prepared cake pans and bake for 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, with a few fudgy bits sticking to it.
  10. Allow to cool in the pans for 5 minutes and turn out onto racks to cool completely.

Easy Chocolate Icing

  1. 6 ounces semisweet chocolate (either squares or chips)
  2. 1/2 cup sour cream
  3. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  1. Melt the chocolate over simmering water or in the microwave.
  2. Add the sour cream and salt and stir until thoroughly blended.
  3. Spread on cool cake while icing is still warm.

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