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.
    Spanish Epiphany Bread

  • Preheat oven to 180° C (350° F)
  • Preparation time: under 30 minutes
  • Waiting time: 15 + 90 + 90 minutes
  • Cooking time: 35-40 minutes
  • Cost: Moderate
  • Difficulty: Medium


  • 450 g (3 c.) white flour
  • 75 g (1/3 c.) butter
  • 75 g (1/3 c.) sugar
  • 25 g (1 oz.) fresh yeast dissolved in 140 ml (1/2 c.) warm water
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. orange zest
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg white, well beaten
  • 1 tbsp. brandy
  • 1 tbsp. orange flower water
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 silver coin, china figurine, dry bean, or whole almond (your choice)


  • Large pieces of candied fruit
  • Flaked almonds
  • A silver coin or dry bean


    1. Place the flour and salt into a large bowl.
    2. Make a well in the centre and pour in the dissolved yeast.
    3. Gradually mix in the flour.
    4. When the mixture is thick, sprinkle all over with flour and let rest for 15 minutes in a warm place.
    5. Meanwhile, cream together the butter and sugar.
    6. Mix the zests, brandy, orange flower water and the two eggs into the dough.
    7. Knead until it becomes smooth.
    8. Gradually mix in the butter, kneading constantly, until the dough becomes even smoother and more elastic.
    9. Cover with greased paper and let rise in a warm place for about 90 minutes, until the dough has doubled in volume.
    10. Place the dough on a floured surface.
    11. Knead for 2 to 3 minutes.
    12. Add in the silver coin, figurine, bean, or almond.
    13. With your hands, roll the dough into a long sausage-shape, approximately 65 cm (2 feet) long and 13 cm (5") thick.
    14. Place on a baking sheet, forming the dough into a circle.
    15. Join the two ends by pinching the dough together.
    16. Cover with greased paper and let rest another 90 minutes or until the dough has doubled in volume.
    17. Brush the crown with the beaten egg white.
    18. Decorate with the almonds and slices of candied fruit, pressing them down so that they stick to the dough.
    19. Place into a 180° C (350° F) oven.
    20. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the bread is cooked and golden brown.
    21. Place on a rack and let cool.
  • French King's Cake (Galette des Rois)

  • Preheat oven to 180° C (350° F)
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Baking time: 20 minutes
  • Cost: Reasonable
  • Difficulty: Relatively easy


  • 250 g (9 oz.) puff pastry (made with butter)
  • 1 egg yolk mixed with a drop or two of water
  • Almond paste
  • One dry bean


    1. Divide the puff pastry in half.
    2. Roll out to form two discs.
    3. Place the first disc on a baking sheet.
    4. Spread a layer of almond paste on top.
    5. Place the bean inside.
    6. Cover with the second circle of pastry.
    7. Using a knife, create a decorative pattern on the top of the pastry.
    8. Brush with the beaten egg yolk.
    9. Bake at 180° C (350° F) for 20-25 minutes, until the top is nicely browned.
  • German Three King's Cake (Dreikönigskuchen)


  • 2 cups + 3 tbsp flour
  • 1.4 oz fresh yeast
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp lukewarm milk
  • 7 tbsp butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 chopped lemon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 2 eggs, 1 separated
  • 1/2 cup raisins, soaked in rum
  • 1 cup chopped, mixed, dried fruit


  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup red candied cherries, halved


    Put 3/4 of all flour into a bowl, make a hole in the middle, put the yeast into it and mix it with a pinch of sugar and some of the lukewarm milk. Dust the mixture with flour, cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm place for 15 minutes. Add the melted butter, salt, lemon, cardamom, egg, egg white, remaining milk and flour to the flour and yeast mixture. Knead dough till smooth.

    When the dough begins to form a ball, stir in raisins and mixed, dried fruit. Form dough into a log. Cut off 1/4 of the log, divide the 1/4 into 4 equal parts and form balls from each. Divide the remaining log into 4 parts and form balls from each.

    Grease well a springform pan with a central tube. Place dough into the pan, alternating large and small dough balls. Cover the pan and let rise in a warm place. Brush the dough with the beaten yolk and place in pre-heated oven (350 degrees F) for approximately 30 minutes. Cool cake thoroughly before removing from pan.

    Mix the powdered sugar with lemon juice to an icing consistency (not too liquid). Ice the cake and decorate with the candied cherries. In Germany, a small gold crown made of foil is placed in the middle of the cake.
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