This cake goes by a few names: Epiphany Cake, King’s Cake or Christ Cake. There are many traditions surrounding Epiphany. One very popular tradition involves hiding small items in the 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, equivalent to frankincense, myrhh and gold.
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.
1 Cup of Sugar
1 Cup of Sour Cream
½ Cup Butter
2 ¼ Cups Unbleached Flour
3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Teaspoons Salt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
½ Teaspoon Lemon Extract
Small China Token or Dried Bean
2 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 Tablespoon Butter
2Tablespoons Lemon Juice (or enough to moisten into paste)
Crushed Nuts or Sprinkles to Decorate
Beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffly. Add the sour cream, butter, vanilla and lemon extract. Mix together in a separate bowl flour, salt & baking powder. Lightly fold in the sifted flour mixture. Spoon the batter into the greased 8×3 inch cake pan (you can use a bundt pan if you wish). Remember that you can also line the cake pan with parchment paper. Make sure you add either the token or beans.
Preheat oven to 325° F for about 35 minutes. Don’t open the oven door. Be patient! When done, remove cake from the oven and cool the cake before frosting.
Frost the top and sides of the cake after mixing all of the ingredients. Decorate with crushed nuts or sprinkles if you wish.