Twelfth Night Cake Recipe

Twelfth Night Cake
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 Updated 31/12/2015

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Here is a recipe for Twelfth Night Cake which was an important part of the Twelfth Night celebration - in the modern calendar this falls on January the 5th. This cake can be traced back to medieval times when it was known as the "Bean Cake" - a bean and a pea were cooked in the cake and whoever found them were crowned King and Queen for the evening!

In later times, these cakes were sold widely in bakeries and were decorated with icing and all manner of sugar and porcelain ornaments depicting political figures and nursery rhyme characters amongst others. Queen Victoria eventually banned the celebration of Twelfth Night because she felt it too raucous and since then December 25th has been the main focal point of Christmas.


  • 8oz caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 8oz butter at room temperature
  • 8oz plain flour
  • 1 1/2 lbs sultanas (soaked overnight in the brandy)
  • 4oz mixed peel (soaked overnight in the brandy)
  • 2oz blanched almonds
  • 2 small glasses brandy
  • a little egg white
(see measure conversions for more information on quantites)


  1. Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk.
  2. Cream the butter with the sugar in a big bowl.
  3. Gradually add the beaten eggs.
  4. Fold in the flour.
  5. Add the brandy-soaked fruit and mixed peel.
  6. Put the mixture into an 8-inch round cake tin lined with a double-thickness of baking parchment and level with a spatula.
  7. Place the almonds around the edge of the cake and brush with a little beaten egg white.
  8. Bake at 162 degrees C. until a skewer comes out of the cake clean.
  9. Cool in the tin.

Prep Time: 600 minutes

Cook Time: 150 minutes

Yield: 1 cake


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