On Sunday, I waited for the three wise men to traditionally arrive before packing up my nativity scene. I also made a traditional German Three Kings Cake. I have always shied away from baking a traditional German Three Kings Cake because I was afraid of the whole “kneading and rising” thing … but now that I have a bread maker, recipes involving yeast do not intimidate me!
When I printed out the recipe and made my store list, again I was not intimidated.
It was when I actually focused on the recipe that I realized – “this recipe sucks and I don’t want to eat it.”
This is what I was faced with: a cake requiring flour, yeast, sugar, butter, eggs … one chopped lemon (?), candied cherries, chopped dried fruit, lukewarm milk, cardamom and raisins soaked in rum.
These ingredients are so arbitrary that I really was afraid that this was not a traditional German Three Kings Cake that I found online, but some kids playing recipe Mad-Libs. Imagine …
[Adjective] [Number] Kings Cake Recipe
1 chopped [noun]
2 1/4 cup [noun]
[noun] soaked in [noun]
Bake at 350 degrees in a [adjective] oven for [number] minutes
“German! 3! Lemons! All-Purpose! Candied! Cardamom! Raisins! Rum! Milk! Pre-heated! 30!”
So, I did a little research. It turned out that I had a fairly normal recipe for Three Kings Cake in the German and French traditions. So I went for it … but … due to a miscalculation (stubbornness), I needed almost six times more yeast. When they wrote 1.4 oz. I just KNEW they meant 1/4 oz … so this “Three Kings Cake” came out tasting like a flat, cherry-lemon-butt scone. I still put the traditional German foil-crown in the middle of the cake to keep the tradition alive though.
The maji would have probably turned around and ended their quest if given this cherry-lemon-butt scone during their journey to baby Jesus. Well, if they were in Germany, they would have been lost anyway. Nonetheless, I don’t plan to try this recipe again with the correct amount of yeast. I’ll leave Three Kings Cakes to the professionals! Next year, I’ll make the three kings a pecan pie.