How to Make Three Kings Cake

Recipes for versions of a popular Christmastime treat.

Many European and Hispanic Christians celebrate the Christmas season--and specifically, the Wise Men's visit to Jesus--by making "Three King's Cake." Explore the recipes below to find a version that suits your taste. And don't forget to include a hidden symbol of the baby Jesus, like a dry bean, a whole almond, or a small crown made of golden tin foil. Whoever gets that slice of cake is said to be specially blessed!

Enjoy the cake now or keep it frozen until the real Ephiphany--January 6.

  • Mexican King's Cake
  • Spanish Epiphany Bread
  • French King's Cake
  • German King's Cake

    Mexican King's Cake (La Rosca de Reyes)

  • 1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons warm water (105-115 degrees)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2-2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mixed candied fruit (e.g. figs, oranges, cherries, citrons), plus extra for decoration
  • 1 tablespoon chopped nuts or blanched almonds
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 baby figurine

  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water


    1. Dissolve yeast in warm water.
    2. Set aside for 5 minutes.
    3. Heat milk, sugar, salt, and butter to warm (105-115 degrees).
    4. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, yeast mixture, milk mixture, and egg.
    5. Mix thoroughly.
    6. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
    7. Knead on lightly floured surface about 10 minutes.
    8. Place in greased bowl, turning to coat top.
    9. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double - about 1 hour.
    10. Lightly knead in raisins, candied fruit, and nuts.
    11. Place in greased bowl, turning to coat top.
    12. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double - about 45 minutes. (This is for the second time.)
    13. Punch down dough and insert the baby figurine.
    14. Shape a round loaf; make a 4-inch hole in center and push dough into a ring ("rosca") about 8 inches across.
    15. Place on greased baking sheet.
    16. Butter the outside of a 3 or 4-inch custard dish and set it in the hole.)
    17. Let bread rise in warm place for 30 minutes.
    18. Make either the glaze and brush on loaf
    19. Press whole candied fruits and whole nuts on top
    20. Sprinkle top with sugar.

    Instead of the glaze, try this alternative:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla

    1. Mix all the icing ingredients together until fluffy and well blended.
    2. Frost cooled loaves.
    3. Decorate with different colored sugars or candied fruit.
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