Queen Time!


And there it is: a brand new year. A time full of open possibilities where every wish can be made or renewed. Happy 2009 everyone!

Traditions are what we make of them. As a child, I don't remember a Christmas, New Year Eve or a Dia de Reis (Three Kings day, also known as The Epiphany) without Bolo-Rei, and like many children I didn't quite enjoy it, mainly because of all that candied fruits. It takes a bit of an adult taste to fully enjoy the richness of the cake. But even grown ups can be picky with candied fig and pumpkin, so many bakeries started a fancy cake made only with whole nuts and no candied fruits AT ALL. It's even richer, more expensive, and prettier than our traditional Bolo-Rei. Today, I offer you a different version from last year's King Cake (Bolo-Rei), a version made only with nuts: whole almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts. It's called Queen Cake!


Queen Cake (Bolo-Raínha)
Lightly adapted from Eric Treuille e Ursula Ferrigno, Bread

2 small or 1 large cake

100 grs walnuts
50 grs whole almonds
50 grs whole hazelnuts
600 grs (4 cups) all-purpose flour
125 ml (about 1/2 cup) whole milk
2 tsp dry yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
165 grs (3/4 cup) golden caster sugar
100 grs butter (3/4 cup), softened
3 large eggs

24 walnut halves
bunch of almonds or/and hazelnuts
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 Tbsp water
milk to glaze
icing sugar for decoration

Dissolve the yeast in 125ml of tepid milk 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 nuts 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. (You can insert a floured glass to prevent sticking - that will keep the hole open) Cover with a towel, let rise again for another hour, until doubled in size. (Remove the glass, if using one) Glaze the dough with milk and arrange the nuts on top of the ring (push nuts a bit, so they won't fall as the dough rises whilst baking). Bake at 180ºC for 45-50 minutes or until golden.

Place water and sugar in a small saucepan, mix over stove until incorporated and a bit liquid, so it is easy to brush on finished cakes. After removing the cake from the oven, gently brush top and sides with this mixture. Sprinkle with (lots of) icing sugar.

Here it is my cake to celebrate Three Kings Day! Check all traditions like Galette des rois, Roscón de Reyes, Bolo Rei, King Cake, Dreikönigskuchen at Zorra's website.

King Cake 2009


Clumbsy Cookie said...

Now we're talking!!! Eu também fiz bolo rainha este ano, gosto muito mais do que bolo rei. Eu e as frutas cristalizadas não somos grandes amigas. Está lindo o teu!

Aparna said...

Bolo-Rei is something that's made in Goa too, for Epiphany but I only recently discovered the history behind King cake recently when I made one at home.

I think your Queen cake is definitely my preference, as I really don't like candied fruit very much.

BumbleVee said...

that's right....why shouldn't we have a Queen Cake indeed?

I made Panettone this year.... was pretty excited with my results too...it was pretty yummy.....

Gretchen Noelle said...

How fun to know there is a queen cake! Looks delicious!

Snooky doodle said...

this looks so so nice! i prefer the queen cake rather than the king :)

gine said...

lol ... a queen's cake that's great :-). Lovely pics too :-)!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I like your modern version much better, Suzana. Were there ever prized baked inside? I know that's a tradition at American Mardi Gras celebrations and was just curious. That is one beautiful cake.

ChichaJo said...

I never much liked candied fruit either...but I love nuts! So I know I would love your version :)

Bordeaux said...

I've been lazy reader and missed out on all your seasonal baking. Looks awesome! Happy 2009 and happy baking.

Tartelette said...

Love the idea of a queen's cake instead of the usual king's cake!! Looks and sounds delicious!