Befana Cake

READY IN: 3hrs 45mins




  • Put the raisins in a bowl, cover with warm water and set aside.
  • In another bowl, combine the candied lemon and orange peels and brandy and set aside.
  • In another bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water.
  • Add 1 cup of flour and mix until a sponge dough is formed.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  • Let the sponge dough rise in a warm place for about 20 minutes.
  • In a food processor, combine 4 cups of flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest.
  • Add the butter, eggs, and milk, then remaining flour. Process to form a stiff dough.
  • Add the risen sponge dough and process until well combined.
  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few minutes and smooth.
  • Grease a large bowl, place the dough in and turn it once to coat both sides.
  • Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  • Butter a 10 x 3-1/2 inch deep round cake pan.
  • Drain the raisins and candied citrus peels, reserving the brandy. Pat the fruit dry.
  • Punch down the dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Pat the dough into a large rectangle.
  • Sprinkle the raisins, candied peels, almonds and dried bean over the dough.
  • Form the dough into a ball and knead to distribute the fruits and nuts.
  • Place the dough in the cake pan, cover with a towel.
  • Let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a small bowl, combine the egg yolk, and reserved brandy.
  • Brush the top of the cake with this mixture and sprinkle with the coarse sugar.
  • Bake 45 minutes until golden brown.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
  • Run a knife around the side of the pan to loosen the cake and turn it onto a rack to cool.
  • To serve, cut in wedges.