SprinkleBakes.com

A Birthday Cake for Jane Austen: Twelfth Night Cake


I hope you'll pardon my digression from the merry-making of Christmas goodies in order to celebrate a beloved literary figure.  Happy Birthday Jane Austen!  Jane captured my heart long ago with her sharp satire and humor. And with the handsome Mr. Darcy, of course.

True, this is Jane's birthday cake, but I made it especially for I Heart Classics, my publisher's Tumblr site that celebrates all things pertaining to classic literature.  If you are a Janeite, or any-sort-of-classic-literature-ite, then you'll enjoy browsing IHC.


To celebrate this birthday properly, I chose a Regency era cake called Twelfth Night Cake.  The cake's meaning has changed over the years, but essentially Twelfth Night was a celebration that marked the end of the Christmas season in Jane's time.  This cake was always present at the occasion.  It is somewhat fruitcake-like (don't be scared) and I've completely updated it by removing those weirdly green candied cherries, and adding dried cranberries, orange zest and pecans.  See? That sounds delicious, and not at all scary.  It also gets a dose of Cointreau simple syrup. No dry fruitcake on my watch!

Perhaps the neatest thing about this cake - the bean.  A dried bean gets baked into the cake.  If you find the bean in your slice of cake then you are the Queen (or King) of the celebration.  Doesn't that sound like fun?  I may have to bring this (and a paper crown) to our Christmas Eve party this year.


I knew exactly how I would decorate this cake when I found a set of Jane Austen themed rubber stamps from Etsy seller Oxford Impressions.  The decorations are stamped wafer paper (the "ink" is black food coloring) adhered to pastillage.  Everything is completely edible, right down to the pink and silver dragee quote marquees.


Twelfth Night Cake
One 12-inch cake, serves 8-10                                                                         [click for printable version]

Make the cake:
1/2 lb. (1 cup or 2 US stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 lb. (2 cups) granulated sugar
5 eggs
2 oz (1/4 cup) orange liqueur (I used Cointreau)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 lb. (2 cups) all purpose flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1/2 lb (about 2 cups) dried cranberries
8 oz (about 2 cups) roughly chopped pecans
Zest of 1 large orange
1 dried bean

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until pale.
2. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and add orange liqueur and vanilla.  Mix well then pour into the butter mixture.  Beat until combined, scraping down the bowl as needed.
3. Add the flour, salt and spices.  Mix thoroughly.
4. Add the cranberries, pecans and orange zest. Stir to combine.
5. Grease and line a 12-inch cake pan with parchment paper - bottom and sides. Pour cake batter in and use a fork to press the dried bean down into the batter.  Cover top of cake with aluminum foil.  Bake for 2 1/2 - 3 hours.  Remove cake from oven and let cool in the pan while you make the simple syrup.

Note:  You may also insert the dried bean AFTER the cake is baked.  This will ensure that the bean doesn't cook during the 3 hours in the oven. The dried cranberries re-hydrate quite a bit, so this worries me about the fate of your bean, especially if it is small.

Orange simple syrup:
8 oz (1 cup) water
1/4 lb. (1 cup) sugar
2 tbsp. orange liqueur (such as Cointreau)
1 cinnamon stick

1. Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan and set over medium-high heat.  Stir until sugar is dissolved and liquid is very hot.  Remove from heat and add cinnamon stick.  Let steep 5-10 minutes.
2. When liquid has cooled somewhat, remove the cinnamon stick and add the orange liqueur.
3. Pour syrup over cake a little at a time, allowing it to soak in before the next addition.  Do this until all the syrup is used.  Turn cake out on a serving plate when it is completely cool.



link A Birthday Cake for Jane Austen: Twelfth Night Cake By Published: A Birthday Cake for Jane Austen: Twelfth Night Cake Recipe



89 comments :

  1. What an astonishing cake! A beautiful ode to Jane Austen. This is such a splendid creation.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is gorgeous! Absolutely beautiful- I wouldn't want to eat it after I put in all that work! =)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Amazing! I love the cranberries in there, I bet it's as good as it is pretty.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Can't even type, I'm so floored. Posted immediately on Edible Crafts :). Poor Edgar now has competition for "favorite Sprinkle Bakes cake."

    ReplyDelete
  5. and this, heather, this is why i love you and love this blog. you are SO creative! and you just won my heart with this cake seeing as how i absolutely adore jane austen. and you...obvi :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I can't wait to show this to M. when she wakes up. I often call her the modern J. Austen. Have you seen the latest Sense and Sensibilities? Marvelous breathtaking scenery of the little "cottage" the girls live in by the sea after their "mansion" is lost. Beautiful cake Heather!

    ReplyDelete
  7. OMG, this cake is amazing!!! I love it. Absolutely gorgeous :D

    ReplyDelete
  8. Una tarta realmente espectacular. Adora a Jane Austen.
    Un saludo y Feliz Navidad

    ReplyDelete
  9. Do you have an icing recipe to go with it? I would love to make this for dessert this year.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow. Simply stunning. One of the most pretty and unique cakes I've seen since I've been blogging. This is truly amazing, love it!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Just divine, or as Jane herself might say, Brilliant!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I don't know what to say about this cake, other than I'm in awe. You are truly an artist, Heather!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Just when i thought your blog couldn't get any cuter you go and make this stunning cake to honor such a wonderful writer, I do believe you are my soul sister Heather! :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow, what a beautiful cake, and so creative. It looks equally delicious as it does gorgeous. Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love fruitcake, so I'm not scared! :-) It's gorgeous, as well and a great way to honor a very talented lady!

    ReplyDelete
  16. such a beautiful cake...i love Jane Austen...and this looks perfect....;)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow! I agree with fifthfloorkitchen... can't imagine cutting into this after all that hard work! Great job :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. It's funny you say you "updated" the cake by taking out the green candied cherries, when in reality you basically followed the old traditional 12th Night Cake. I was curious where you got your recipe? I wrote a whole thesis on wedding cakes from 1800-1950, which actually evolved out of the 12th Night Cake, it's nice to see such a beautifully adapted cake. Plus I {adore} Jane Austen (and obviously Mr. Darcy as well!). Love the blog!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi!!

    @Alliwmcr - I think the cake is sweet enough without icing (the simple syrup certainly contributes sweetness) - I'd suggest a dusting of powdered sugar right before serving. Or even a milk/powdered sugar glaze would be nice and look pretty.

    @thetoastedsprinkle - Haha, perhaps I should have worded that differently. Old is made new again, maybe? Anyway, this was adapted (almost beyond recognition) from an old NY times recipe. I added salt and vanilla, left out and interchanged ingredients... I still feel it is a fair representation of the cake. And it is really delicious.
    Thank you so much! I would love to read your thesis!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. It's like a King Cake! (but far less gaudy. mmm)

    ReplyDelete
  21. That is absolutley amazing. And I agree how on earth did you bring yourself to cut into it!! What a masterpiece.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Wow, this is one elaborate and beautiful cake. I bet Jane Austin would be exctatic to have this as a birthday cake. You are an amazing baker/artist.

    ReplyDelete
  23. That....is the most beautiful thing I have seen.

    ReplyDelete
  24. This is superb! what a lovely tribute to Jane!

    ReplyDelete
  25. you are so, so, so unbelievably talented. i love you.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Um. Freaking beautiful. You've captured the essence of Jane Austen in a cake...a cake. Lovely, just lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  27. This is absolutely incredible -- WOW. I mean, wow. I'm a huge Janeite and was psyched to see your post. Happy birthday, dear Jane -- and yay for your lovely work!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Ok, so I already commented once, but I have to comment again just because this cake is so amazing that it deserves another one. :) I can't stop staring at it, it's so gorgeous. I love the bean idea, too. Happy Birthday, Jane!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Oh how beautiful! And such a charming tradition with the bean. Your images have me swooning. And suddenly I want to pour a glass of blush wine and eat something sweet with it. Just incredible! xoxo ~Lili

    ReplyDelete
  30. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. I myself adore Jane Austen and this cake is simply perfection.

    ReplyDelete
  31. YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING! THIS IS SOOOOO AMAZING!

    ReplyDelete
  32. This cake is a MASTERPIECE!!
    thank you for your digression.

    ReplyDelete
  33. wow, I have no words. How beautiful! It's SO elegant.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Oh, yes! Please DO bring a cake ala bean and a crown to our party! Love, love, love this!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Lovely design. Clever, stylish and rather unusual. A true piece of edible art :)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Absolutely stunning and so creative. I am in awe!

    ReplyDelete
  37. heather, jane would be speechless if you made this for you. me too.
    happy weekend doll!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Gorgeous! I love it! 12th Night is one of my favorite things--I love the idea of making Christmas last, and a few years ago my friends and I started throwing a 12th Night masquerade party every year. We dress up, exchange presents, and have a King Cake (whoever gets the bean is crowned as the host for next year!). And Jane Austen shares her birthday with my two-year old goddaughter, so this cake is made of all the things I love!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Just lovely, simply lovely. :)

    ReplyDelete
  40. Such a unique cake. You make me weak in the knees with your creations.

    ReplyDelete
  41. i love this soooo much!!! what a great cake!! best ever

    ReplyDelete
  42. This cake looks so amazing!
    Love your blog! Nice finding you! Visit me at: my-greek-cooking.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  43. What a stunning cake and a beautiful post! You are so talented!

    ReplyDelete
  44. This is truly beautiful. What an inspired cake!

    ReplyDelete
  45. This cake is a stunner. I want to make it....I do not have a 12 inch cake tin. Is there a suggestion as to what I can use instead? Thanks so much for continuing this site. I visit it daily..

    ReplyDelete
  46. Absolutely stunning. A masterpiece. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Pride and Prejudice is both my favorite book and movie. Obviously, I need to go buy me a set of those stamps!

    ReplyDelete
  48. This is amazingly beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

    http://woodstockwardrobe.com/

    ReplyDelete
  49. That is STUNNING!
    You are incredibly talented.
    Please stop by for a visit.

    Briannna
    www.itsybitsybrianna.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  50. Beautiful!! That bean idea is so cute. And Happy Birthday Jane Austin!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Stunning! This is absolutely fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Just stunning Heather. I love the quotes and how you integrated them onto the cake. Amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  53. What an absolutely stunning ode to Jane Austen!!!! Those stamps are gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete
  54. A totally amazing cake! I'm a big Jane Austen fan and lover of baking as well as a blogger and magical is how to describe this cake! My best friend n I were thinking about doing a cake design course n this cake has made my mind up! I too want to create masterpieces like this! Well done u should be so proud!

    ReplyDelete
  55. That looks fantastic! I love Austen and Twelfth Night. In Louisiana, Twelfth Night is a big deal, as it marks the beginning of Carnival season. We make King cakes, but instead of being more like fruitcake, they're more like cinnamon rolls with royal icing. We can bake beans in them, but most of the time, we use plastic babies so they don't get confused with part of the cake. I don't care for fruit cake, but this one looks yummy especially with the Austen pieces. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Such a BEAUTIFUL cake, Heather! A treat for the eyes, and I'm sure the tastebuds as well! I really like the last quote in the photo for I'm quite a homebody at heart:)

    ReplyDelete
  57. Julie (pharmbelle85)December 20, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    This is so gorgeous! I hope you and your family have a fantastic Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  58. Oh believe me, my thesis is pretty dull. It was fun to read all the satirical articles about old wedding cake recipes though, I'll dig them up and send them your way. they really are a hoot.

    ReplyDelete
  59. I'll be making this for my family on christmas! How long do you think it will keep? I suspect a couple of days with all the sugar and alcohol?
    Thanks a lot for the recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  60. This is beyond incredible. The fact that you baked and decorated a Jane Austen cake just made my day.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Love this. Simply stunning. Did you use fondant or marzipan for the frosting? Some use both I think?

    ReplyDelete
  62. Oh my... what a masterpiece. Just exquisite. Love all of the quotes you used! You are out of this world with your detailed decorating of these scrumptious delights! You are truly gifted...
    Best,
    Gloria

    ReplyDelete
  63. Your cake is amazing ... I've shared it on my own blog ... www.HappyCanadianHome.com ... well done!

    ReplyDelete
  64. This is amazing! You are incredibly talented

    ReplyDelete
  65. I love the cake and have posted a link to our local JASNA group. I have a couple of questions. You say the cake really doesn't need frosting, but it has it in the pictures. Looks like fondant. Is it? Also the recipe says to put the batter into one 12" pan, but you have two layers in the photo. Did you divide the batter into two pans? If so, what size did you use?

    ReplyDelete
  66. What a combo- my favorite author and a beautiful cake! what's not to love!

    ReplyDelete
  67. Loved this! We'll be sharing it on our blog on Monday.

    ReplyDelete
  68. your literary-themed sweets are always my favorite, I just think you're the greatest!

    ReplyDelete
  69. what a beautiful cake! i love it!

    ReplyDelete
  70. This is stunning and so impressive that you went with a Regency recipe! I'm sharing this URL with my Austen in Boston book club. We'll all drool over it together.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Incredible cake :) Do you prefer using pastillage over fondant? Are they the same thing? Thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
  72. Hello! Congratulations for your blog, it's amazing, and this cake is wonderfull!

    Can you help me in a question: How did you print de text? What's the material?

    Thank you so much!

    Sofia

    ReplyDelete
  73. I love your cakes and photos -- tried the seven sins cake and it was great.
    I wanted to note in the ingredients that
    8 oz sugar is just a little over 1 cup
    not 2 cups.
    So I am not sure which is the amount you meant,
    probably the 8 oz. Two cups of sugar seems like it would be way to sweet.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Same comment on the conversion in the simple syrup recipe.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Could you please clarify?

    From the cake recipe:
    "1/2 lb. (2 cups) granulated sugar"

    From the syrup recipe:
    "1/4 lb. (1 cup) sugar"

    ReplyDelete
  76. Hi, I think 1/2 lb or 8 oz of sugar is only about 1 cup of sugar, not 2 cups. So I think the conversion is incorrect.
    So I was wondering which you actually used in the cake
    2 cups of sugar or you weighed it and used 8 oz.

    Update-- i just went and weighed a cup of sugar to double check and I got 7.5 oz on the scale so
    8 oz would be a little over a cup.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Hi -- not to belabor the point, maybe you were cutting and pasting with the measurements.
    1/2 lb or 8 oz of flour is about (a little less)
    than 2 cups
    but 1/2 lb of sugar is about 1 cup since it
    is denser.

    ReplyDelete
  78. I did not mean to appear rude, I love your cake recipes that
    I've tried so far. I also just made the
    raspberry bavarian cream cake for my husbands birthday. Everybody loved it. Our son even took a slice to his girlfriend!

    ReplyDelete
  79. Not at all! It's been a while since I wrote this recipe, and yes! I see now that the weights are incorrect. Thanks for letting me know. Will fix in just a bit.

    You are correct- the 8 oz (1 cup) is the correct amount.

    x

    ReplyDelete
  80. You celebrate life in a most special day. You are inspirational and very talented. Wow!

    ReplyDelete
  81. I'm surprised at your comment "don't be scared" enter parenthesis. I have a passion for fruitcakes, but noticed Americans harbor some kind of mild (and puzzling) phobia for them... My fruitcakes (I use several different recipes) are loaded with dried fruits (the only concession to glace peels I make are the glace cherries I add). When baked and cooled, they are wrapped in cheesecloth soaked in alcohol, and left to mature in the dark coolness of my basement. The result is a wonderfully scented cake. I imagine yours--that sounds divine!--could endure the same treatment, don't you agree? Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree! I shall have to try your technique. Thank you for sharing!

      xo
      -h

      Delete

Privacy Policy