Recipe: Polka-dot Cake

IMG_2787In all my efforts to make cakes and muffins and cupcakes without grains and sugar this has to be the simplest and most satisfying cake I’ve made. I made it today – very spontaneously to celebrate Fete des Rois, or Festival of the Kings, because today is Epiphany. Epiphany is the end of the Advent story when the three wise men arrive to pay their respects to the Holy Baby. They treated Jesus as they would an earthly king by falling to the floor and presenting him with expensive gifts.

Had I given myself more time to organise it I would have had a crown ready and perhaps some games but that was not to be today. You can read about our past Fete des Rois celebrations. Today, however, I had forgotten all about it. January 6th, already? How did that happen? I didn’t realise until the afternoon so I quickly made up this cake for afternoon tea. I couldn’t find the right recipe I wanted in all my books and scribblings because they were either too complicated or I didn’t have the ingredients –  so I cobbled one together with the ingredients I had and it worked.

The traditional French galette des Rois is an almond-cream filled puff pastry type thing with the feve baked inside. The feve is traditionally a hard bean and whoever finds it in their slice becomes King or Queen for the day. My friend has been making a few delicious gluten-free versions of French regional cakes for our past fete des Rois celebrations. Today I thought an almond cake would do the job, and for the feve I used a date because I didn’t want my two-year old to end up accidentally choking on something small.

The cake was pretty colourful! I had intended to make the polka-dots with blueberries dropped in to the batter just before cooking, like a clafouti, but in a real Mother-Hubbard moment I discovered we had no blueberries or cherries or any other suitable fruit, not even any dried fruit except for the dates. All we had was Dad’s stash of Christmas candies and so I decorated the cake with candy covered chocolate polka-dots …. I know!! Not exactly sugar-free, paleo or GAPS but very pretty and very tasty. WITH the blueberry polka-dots this cake makes a very delicious breakfast served with yogurt and fresh fruit. Incidentally it can be made without the baking powder so it can be suitable for GAPS and paleo too. It might not rise but it will be more flat like a clafouti, which is how I make it for breakfast.

In any case the cake rose and cooked beautifully and we had a delicious afternoon tea with a bit of fun to go with it. As it happens I don’t think I will use a date again because when I cut the cake, I cut the date in half and then two people ended up with the feve in their slice – so we had two Kings this year!!

Here’s the recipe:


Polka-Dot Cake

(grain-free and sugar-free … almost!)


250g almond meal

1/3 cup honey/maple syrup

100g coconut oil

6 eggs

2 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp baking powder

blueberries or cherries / (in this case I used Smarties!)

something to use for a feve – don’t use a date! A large (clean!) coin, a dried bean if you don’t have little kids eating the cake, perhaps some trinket from the Christmas crackers?)


Mix all but the last ingredient together and blend well.

Add the feve to the mix and pour it all into an oiled spring-form cake tin, making sure that the feve is well hidden and then drop in the berries/cherries/things you are using for polka-dots in a pleasing pattern.

Cook at 170C for about 25 – 30 minutes … sorry I didn’t pay attention to how long it was in there for. I took it out when the top was a light brown colour and the knife came out clean. Mine was in about half an hour I think.

Celebrating Community: Fete des Rois 2012

My beautiful friend Renee started a yearly tradition for our old mother’s group, and her family: the Fete des Rois, held on the 6th January every year. It means Festival of the Kings and is a celebration of the 12th day of Christmas, and the arrival of the three kings.

I love traditions between friends. What has been so lovely with this one is that we have met and made new friendships with members of Renee’s family and church, and although most of us from our mother’s group are not aligned with any particular religious background we all enjoy this festival for the community we feel in each other’s presence.

In the past we have dressed up, played games, danced, sung carols around the piano, but out of necessity this year was a bit more casual. Always though, we have celebrated with the galette – a cake baked by Renee. This year the recipe was a gluten-free one from the region of Brittany in France (recipe please Renee!)

Adorned in party clothes, and the odd cape and crown we met at a park and picnicked. When it came time to cut the galette cake Renee’s daughter hid under the table and called out the names of the children who would receive the next slice of cake. If you find the feve in your slice you are the new King or Queen for the year! This year Renee used a date as the feve and hid it in the cake to be found by … Ned!

The feve is hidden inside the galette!

And so reigning King Max (in absentia) and Queen Inge-Marie handed over their crowns to Ned, and his chosen royal partner Frida. This is Frida’s second year as reigning queen! Please excuse the fuzzy photo!

And here is the newest prince at his first Fete des Rois, dressed in his first royal cape:

Fete des Rois!

Last year, my friend, Mother JoieDeVivre, began a tradition to host a Fete des Rois each year. This translates from French to the Festival of the Kings, and celebrates the coming of the Three Kings to present their gifts to baby Jesus, and marks the end of the 12 days of Christmas. I’ve been looking forward to this for some time 🙂

Part of the traditional proceedings, after a festive shared morning tea, involves the baking of the galette, a cake with an almond hidden inside, and whoever finds the almond hidden within their piece is to be crowned King or Queen for the day. Last year Kaelan found the galette inside his slice, and he and his chosen friend, Blossom, were crowned King and Queen in a royal wedding and coronation ceremony.

This year Possum found the galette in his slice of cake (which this year was a gluten-free brioche with a coffee-bean galette) and  King Kaelan and Queen Blossom handed their crowns on to the new Royal patrons of the party: King Possum and Queen Frida.

We rounded off the royal proceedings with a sing-a-long at the piano with Mother JoieDeVivre playing for us all. I just love being able to be a part of traditions such as this. It was lots of fun!

We all dressed up in our royal finery …

… and celebrated until we were suitably worn out 🙂