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Rosca de Reyes Tradicional – Spanish & Latin American King’s Cake

January 30, 2014

Sadly it seems that outside of during Mardi Gras celebrations in the South-Eastern USA the English speaking world has forgotten about King’s Cake. It is traditionally eaten during the feast of the Epiphany, a Christian celebration of the visit of the three wise men to Jesus’ crib in Nazareth. We used to have Twelth Cake on the epiphany here in the UK, a cake very similar to Christmas Cake, but that tradition fell out of favour.

It’s traditional to include a small figurine of baby Jesus in Latin American King’s Cakes, however in other European King’s Cake traditions (most countries in Europe have a traditional type) objects such as a dried pea or bean, a coin or other little trinkets. Not having any little baby Jesus figurines knocking about the house I opted for a coin which I cleaned thoroughly before inserting into the cake.

This particular recipe is a word for word translation of the Spanish language recipe found here, so all praise for the recipe itself should go to Sra. Arguiñano.

Rosca de Reyes Tradicional


500g Plain Flour // 125g White Sugar // 3 Eggs // 1 small splash of Orange Blossom Water // 1/2 a shot of Rum // a splash of Milk // 25g Fresh Yeast (1 sachet dried) // a splash of Water // a pinch of Salt // 150g warm Butter


Glacé Cherries // Candied Citrus Peel // 1 Egg, beaten // Icing Sugar

  1. In a bowl mix the Flour with the Sugar, the Eggs, the Orange Blossom Water, the shot of Rum, the Milk, the Fresh Yeast, the Water and the Salt. Gently kneed until you have a mix that is compact and without lumps.
  2. Next, add in the Butter a bit at a time and slowly kneed by hand until you can make a ball.
  3. Place the ball into another bowl, cover it and leave it to rest for a few hours so that it can ferment (until it has doubled or tripled in volume).
  4. After the fermentation time, return to kneading and shape it into the form of a wheel. Place the wheel on top of a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and cover it with strips of Candied Citrus Peel and Cherries, and then leave it t rest for 2 hours.
  5. Push inside the “surprise” (see advice below) and smear all of the surface of the wheel with Beaten Egg. Bake at 175C (gas mark 3 1/2, 340F) for 15-20 minutes.
  6. At serving time you can cover the wheel with Icing Sugar.

*Advice from the original translation: When you introduce the surprise it is important that the figurine that you choose to use can withstand the oven temperature, so it doesn’t melt (use porcelain, stone or metal).

If you have leftover Kings Cake, don’t throw it out. You can use it to make this delicious desert: Roscon de Reyes with Pineapple Gratin, in which the cake is soaked in cream and accompanied with fruit and yogurt. (I’d be happy to help anyone with a translation for that recipe if people want one)

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