Sharp zingy lemon cakes with a light sponge. The subtle notes of cardamom in these Twelfth Night cakes add depth and the marzipan melts to give a certain sweet almondy stickiness. Eminently suitable to celebrate Twelfth Night or any other.
Every year I mean to mark Twelfth Night by making a special cake and every year I manage not to do it – until now. When it comes to cake, I associate Twelfth Night with marzipan, so although I didn’t intend to make a traditional King Cake or similar this year, I did want to include almond paste. And as I still had plenty of lemons left from my 3pFruits box, lemon marzipan cakes it was to be.
Twelfth Night Cakes
Twelfth Night is the last day of Christmas and is traditionally the day the festive decorations are taken down in the UK. It celebrates Epiphany on the 6th January which is the day the three kings visited the newly born Jesus.
As well as consuming the hot and spicy punch called wassail, a cake used to be baked with a bean stuck inside it. Whoever got the bean became King for the rest of the day. This has largely died out here, although the custom is still alive in many parts of Europe, especially France and Spain.
I ended up adapting Ruby Tandoh’s recipe for Lemon & Marzipan Cupcakes from her book Crumb; it had been tempting me for some time. However, in my eyes, these are not cupcakes. Cupcakes have some sort of icing on top and these ones don’t. There is, however, plenty going on without it.
I made them a bit more lemony than Ruby, included one of my favourite spices, cardamom and changed a few other ingredients. The result was superb: a definite lemony zing and sharpness with subtle notes of cardamom coming through and bursts of sweet caramelised marzipan.
Turns out these lemon marzipan cakes make the perfect bake for Twelfth Night. There are twelve cakes, they’re quick to bake, taste delicious and you can easily add a “king” sign to one of them without anyone being the wiser.
But if you do hide a bean, or anything else, do let people know to look out for one. You really don’t want anyone choking on your Twelfth Night cakes.
Other Recipes for Twelfth Night Cakes You Might Like
- Galette des rois via David Lebovitz
- Fig, lemon & marzipan bundt cake via Tin and Thyme
- Rosca de reyes via Lavender and Lovage
- Stollen cakes via Tin and Thyme
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Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make these Twelfth Night cakes, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
Twelfth Night Cakes. PIN IT.
Twelfth Night Cakes – The Recipe
Twelfth Night Lemon Cardamom Marzipan Cakes
- 125 g unsalted butter
- 75 g golden caster sugar (I used cardamom sugar)
- 3 cardamom pods – seeds extracted and ground
- 1 large organic or unwaxed lemon
- 60 g wholemeal flour
- 60 g plain flour
- 60 g ground almonds
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 2 large eggs
- 200 g marzipan – half grated, half cut into small cubes
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Grate in the zest of the lemon, add the ground cardamom and cream a bit more.
- Beat in the eggs, one by one.
- Sift in the dry ingredients, discarding any particularly large bits of bran left in the sieve and stir.
- Juice the lemon and stir in gently with the grated marzipan until everything is just combined.
- Gently stir in the cubed marzipan.
- Spoon into twelve cupcake cases and bake at 180℃ (350℉, Gas 4) for about 20 minutes or until the cakes are golden and well risen.
- Allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
These little lemon and cardamom cakes are a great way to use up leftover Christmas marzipan. As such I’m sending them to Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary for the No Waste Food Challenge.
For similar reasons, these Twelfth Night cakes go to Love Cake over at JibberJabberUK.
I don’t think I can claim these cakes are healthy, but they do include lemon. So I’m sending them off to Kat at Baking Explorer and Cakeyboi for this month’s Treat Petite where the theme is fruit and veg.