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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas and King's Cake...

This is King's Cake. Not the New Orleans king's cake, but our Savior and King's Cake. I created this cake as a very special birthday cake for Jesus's birthday celebration on Christmas Day. I cannot say that she is the most handsome cake, rather– rustic, earthy, simple, all come to mind when looking at the cake. But in our home Christmas is about our King, and His birthday celebration.
It is a special cake, a true labor in time and love. It has a lot of ingredients, all that take prep time, also, it bakes for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. This cake is worth the time to make, because that is what gifts are about, time and effort and thoughtfullness. I created it based on ingredients that would have been around in the time of Jesus; fruits that were dried, some from during the year leading up to December– figs, dates, apricots, almonds and honey...and then the spices. Spices were akin to gold and treasure during Jesus' time...spices were gifts to kings in that day. To include them in a cake then might have been like using money to stuff your mattress, simply foolish. However, I include these riches of spices in this cake because it is a gift for our King on His birthday.
When I was talking to a friend about it last year, and describing it, he said, "So you have made Jesus a fruit cake?..." We laughed, because in essence, that is what it is like...but not the Christmas-tin, jellied-candied kind. It is exceptionally delicious. Truly. Really.
So we make this King's Cake birthday cake each year in our home to celebrate Jesus' birthday.
I encourage you to create new traditions of these sorts of things. Things that have meaning and purpose.
This cake is gluten free. Now, it does have butter and sugar, but it is healthful because of all the great dried fruit, molasses and other healthful ingredients. It keeps for a long, long time in the fridge, and is amazing for breakfast when eating leftovers of it.

Kings Cake
• 12 ounces dried soft dates, chopped
• 8 ounces dried figs, chopped
• 4 ounces dried apricots, chopped
• 6 ounces unsalted butter, cubed
• ¼ cup molasses
• ¼ cup brown sugar
• ¼ cup honey
• 2 oranges, zested and juiced
• 2 lemons zested and juiced
• 2 teaspoon Kings Cake spice (see below)
• 3 eggs, beaten
• 5 1/4 ounces Tom Sawyer Gluten Free flour (or your gluten free flour blend)
• 2 1/2 ounces ground almonds (in a food processor)
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Kings Cake spice
I use whole spices on some of these and grind by hand in a motar and pestle...use ground to save yourself time if you like.
• 1/4 tsp cumin
• 1/4 tsp coriander seed
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 6 threads crushed saffron
• pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 300-degrees F. Line a 6-inch removable bottomed spring form pan with a layer of parchment cut to size. GF flour the sides, or also line with a strip of parchment.
Place the chopped dried fruits, butter, sugar, honey, molasses, orange and lemon zest and juice, King’s spice and into a large wide saucepan. Heat the mixture until it reaches a gentle simmer, stirring the mixture as the butter melts. Let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave to stand for 30 minutes to cool.
After 30 minutes, the mixture will have enough to add the eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and baking soda. Mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula until the ingredients have combined.
Carefully spoon and pour the cake mixture into the lined pan. Transfer the cake tin to the oven and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the top of the cake is firm. Insert a knife into the cake it should be moist but not wet batter.
Place the cake on a cooling rack. Once the cake has cooled, remove it from the pan.
I leave  the cake unadorned, most likely as it would have been for Jesus’ birthday. But a nice finish is a dusting of powdered sugar.

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