A cake fit for a King & Pay It Forward

Today, we celebrate 'Day of The Kings' and Epiphany. According to the Bible, it's the day when The Three Kings meet Jesus. Upon meeting him, the Magi hand over gifts - three highly symbolic gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. Apart from deep religious meanings, it's a moving sharing moment. In Portugal, January the 6th is mostly seen as the end of Holidays and it's not a very festive day. However, King Cake is traditionally served on this day but also very popular throughout the Christmas season.

Pay It Forward

Paying it forward, what a great concept! I can’t think of a better way to keep the holiday spirit now that it's finished. I've got this idea from Michelle of Culinography, who got it from Kristen of Dine and Dish, who got it from Sandi of Whistlestop Cafe and so on. Here's how to participate:

“I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this Paying It Forward exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, which is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.”

Isn't it cool?! So, if you would like to take part, just leave a comment. ;) And now on to the recipe!

King Cake (Bolo-Rei)
Adapted from Eric Treuille e Ursula Ferrigno, Bread

2 small or 1 large cake

100 grs crystallized cherries (or candied peel), chopped
50 grs raisins
50 grs pine nuts
1/2 glass Oporto Wine
600 grs (4 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
125 ml (about 1/2 cup) warm water
2 tsp dry yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
100 grs (1/4 cup) caster sugar
100 grs butter (3/4 cup), softened
3 eggs

12 crystallized cherries
50 grs raisins and pine nuts (or candied peel)
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 Tbsp water
(remaining Oporto Wine)
milk to glaze
icing sugar for decoration

Soak chopped cherries, raisins and pine nuts in Oporto Wine, at least for 6 hours (or best overnight).

Dissolve the yeast in 125ml of tepid water and leave for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the flour with salt - make a well in center of flour and pour in dissolved yeast. Gently fold some of surrounding flour into pool of yeast to form a soft paste in center of well. Meanwhile, cream the butter and sugar with vanilla extract. Add the eggs one by one, mixing well between each addition. Incorporate butter mixture into flour mixture and continue bringing in sides to form a soft dough. Knead the dough well, it should be smooth and elastic. Add macerated fruits and knead to distribute evenly. Smother the dough in a little flour and cover with a clean cloth. Place bowl in a warm draft free area, and let rise until doubled in size, for about 1 hour.

Once dough has doubled, punch down and let rest for 5 minutes. If you're making 2 small cakes (like me), divide into 2 equal parts. Using your fingers, open a hole in the centre of each ball. Cover with a towel, let rise again for another hour, until doubled in size. Glaze the dough with milk and arrange the crystallized cherries, raisins and pine nuts on top of the ring (push raisins and pine nuts a bit, so they won't fall as the dough rises). Bake at 180ºC for 45-50 minutes or until golden.

Place remaining Oporto Wine in a small sauce pan and add a little water and sugar, mix over stove until incorporated and a bit liquid, so it is easy to brush on finished ring. After removing the cake from the oven, gently brush top and sides with this mixture. Sprinkle with icing sugar.


culinography said...

I'm so glad you're playing along, Suzana! And your king cake looks *amazing*!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Lovely King Cake Suzana. Hope it bring happy to all, looks like it will.
Thanks for stopping by my place. Pay it Forward is fun. I played it with Weekly Dish!

Andrea said...

That is really beautiful!

Cakelaw said...

What a gorgeous looking cake!

Maryann said...

I love this post. The cake looks amazing!

joey said...

Lovely cake! We celebrate Three Kings here too...we leave out our shoes (and some hay and water for the camels) and they leave us some gifts :) Just had a Three Kings brunch this past Sunday...unfortunately, we do not have this gorgeous cake of yours...

Cris said...

It is lovely Suzana! We celebrate Three Kings here too.