Cakes for Kings, Cakes with Toys

I need to wind this up lest turn into an Epiphany cake specialty site. God knows I’m oddball enough! But who knew there were so many cakes in this family? Reader Chana alerts me to an Irish specialty cake called barmbrack that typically has all sorts of little objects baked into it. It’s traditionally served at Halloween, but it’s interesting nonetheless. I’d come across some references to trinket-laden British fruitcakes and puddings in my research, but hadn’t found any specific examples.

Other proper king cakes that have been brought to my attention include the Scottish black bun, a dense fruitcake flavored with lots and lots of booze (thanks, reader Bronwyn). Over on the other side of Europe, down in Greece, they evidently bake a thing known as a vasilopita (“king pie”). It also contains a baked-in trinket or coin which is supposed to bring good luck to whoever finds it. Vasilopita is eaten on the Epiphany in come locales, on Christmas or New Year’s day in others. Thanks to reader Mary for that one!

Alright, time to wind this up. Who knew that Epiphany cakes were such an endlessly diverting topic? Thanks to all who participated!

2 thoughts on “Cakes for Kings, Cakes with Toys”

  1. You might also look at bara brith – it’s a Welsh version of the same, but it usually involves soaking the dried fruit in tea overnight. I know, it sounds weird, but it is in fact delish.

    1. I believe it. Having lived in Britain, I know that those lands are suffused with all kinds of amazing and unusual local delicacies, most of which are delicious. I’ll add it to the list of things I need to try!

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