Happy Epiphany? Merry 12th Day of Christmas? Whatever you call it, let’s have cake!

“On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a cake full of inedible plastic and metal trinkets!”

Our family has been focusing on starting new traditions (as well as continuing the old) during this Christmas season, and today was no exception. I saw a post about an Epiphany Cake on someone’s Facebook news feed late last week combined with a link to a recipe from The Pioneer Woman (my hero!), and I just had to check it out. After laughing my way through her blog post about it, I immediately decided that this was something that we needed to institute into our list of traditions. While growing up, I knew about Epiphany (my Mom always called it Little Christmas), but I knew nothing about celebrations that surrounded it. If you’re into history, and want to learn more about the explanation of this holiday, click here to become enlightened.

In terms of the cake, basically there is a list of trinkets that are baked right into the batter. Each trinket holds a significance and supposed blessing to the fortunate cake-eater who happens to dig into that particular piece of yummy sweetness. While I learned from The Pioneer Woman that a strictly traditional Epiphany cake only has one trinket, a BEAN, we opted for the less traditional, more trinket-laden version. Here’s a brief breakdown of the list of trinkets and significance of each:

Dime – Wealth
Ring – Church’s blessings
Thimble – Increased industry
Button – Increased spiritual knowledge
Baby – Will know Jesus more
Shoe – Will walk in the ways of the Lord

We also added two of our own:

Cross–Strengthened prayer life

Jewel–Increased discernment and clarity

While preparing the cake today, instead of simply mixing the trinkets into the batter, I poured it into the pan and then placed each of the nine pieces in a grid, hoping that everyone would get one. After it went into the oven, it was anyone’s guess as to where they would end up and who ran the risk of biting into any of them!

Here’s the cake before Todd cut it up:




And we were off! Everyone had their own method for searching, from tiny nibbles to this little redhead’s plan:



Destroy the cake!! She just couldn’t wait to find it!

Hannah found the thimble in her piece, which signified increased industry. And maybe she’ll take up sewing. Hard to imagine this hard worker working even harder, but a blessing upon her nonetheless!


Patrick tried to pull the wool over our eyes, and discretely hid his find until he had but one bite left, lamenting that his piece had nothing. I almost believed him until his smile give him away. He found the button! We look forward to his increased spiritual knowledge.




I found the jewel, which signifies increased discernment and clarity. What a timely trinket for this year which will hold many decisions and possible new directions. (It’s the one I was hoping for!)



Todd found the piece of fruit (a watermelon) in his sweet dessert. He was *just* talking about being a leader of our home while we ate dinner earlier, and his trinket indicated that he will reap the fruit of Christian living. Yay!



Brendan was the first to announce his find, which was the ring. Despite being a bit anxious about swallowing something that he couldn’t see, he didn’t have to worry at all. He found it with no trouble. We look forward to the blessings that will come his way!




Andrew found the cross in his cake. As you can see from his picture, he really enjoyed his dessert and the icing that went with it. An addition of ours, I was happy to see him find this trinket. Andrew is always ready to pray for people and situations, and I look forward to that growing even stronger in his life.


Ben found the baby (as the Pioneer Woman called, “a direct hit”)! It’s my prayer that this blessing of becoming closer to Jesus this year will become a reality.




Chloe finally stumbled upon her trinket, and it could not have been more fitting for her: the shoe!! (actually, it was a flip flop, truth be told, but it was the perfect find in any case) It will be a blessing to all of us to see her walk in the ways of the Lord in the coming year.




In case you were keeping score, the one trinket no one found in their cake…? The dime. Of course, the prosperity trinket. Bummer. It was the ninth trinket in a family of eight. Patrick did rifle through that last piece until he confirmed that it was in fact in the cake, but it remains to be seen whether that means he found it. We hope so! In any case, we all had fun eating our cake and discovering our treasures. No matter the find, we pray that God will bless our entire family greatly throughout all twelve months of 2013.

Thus ends the Twelfth Day of Christmas for our family. We will hold its happy memories in our hearts for many years to come!


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