SPANISH THREE KINGS CAKE
In Spain we share our Christmas presents on Three Kings Day, the same day we share our Three Kings Cake (Roscón de Reyes), a tender and buttery sweet bread.
The recipe I used to bake this authentic Three Kings Cake is from Iban Yarza’s book “El Pan” one of the most important bread books we have in Spain.
Spaniards celebrate the feast of the Epiphany or Three Kings’ Day in its origins it was a celebration of the adoration of the baby Jesus by the Three Wise Men, also known as the Three Kings: Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar. Nowadays, even if you are not a religious person, probably you will celebrate Three King’s Day in Spain, this bank holiday is part of the holiday tradition in our country, and the end of the Christmas Season.
Three King’s Day is a day off, with no school or work in Spain. Is like Christmas’s day for Spaniards, the magical day when we wake up and open our presents, and the special sweet we buy or bake to share with the family is the buttery Three Kings Cake.
Don’t forget the surprise when you bake your Three Kings Cake.
When you bake the Three Kings cake you have to hide a “small king” and a “bean” in the cake (do not worry about our health, we usually cover it with plastic film before) and in many shops the sell special surprises for the cake.
When you share the Three Kings Cake with your family and friends one of them, the one that find the “king” will have good luck for the year, and the other one, the one that find the “bean” will pay next year Three Kings Cake.
Even when you buy your Three Kings Cake in the best pastry shop, it will have the “king” and the “bean” on it.
If your are thinking about the filling of your Roscón de Reyes you can choose: It’s very typical to prepare whipped cream and to separate the Three King’s cake into two peaces to fill it with whipped cream, chocolate cream or marzipan (almond paste).
Is it necessary to fill it with cream or chocolate cream? Not at all. Actually, the best Three Kings Cakes are plain or without filling, because when the quality of the sweet bread is good enough you won’t miss the filling.
The ingredients we need to bake our Three Kings Cake:
- Strong flour (or bread flour) because we will have a buttery dough for our sweet bread.
- Cinnamon, orange, rum and orange blossom water. We will infused our milk with rum, cinnamon, orange zest and orange blossom water. The combination of this three ingredients is what will give our sweet bread the Christmas scent.
I know is not easy to find orange blossom water in some countries, but do not worry, if you prepare your flavor milk with rum, orange zest and a cinnamon stick the day before you will bake the Three Kings Cake and let it rest overnight, the flavor will be amazing anyway.
- Bread yeast.
- White sugar
To have a fluffy sweet bread the day before baking we will prepare our biga (preferment) for our Three Kings Cake and let it rest overnight into the fridge.
The day after we can knead our sweet dough with the biga and the rest of the ingredients and let it rest for 1 hour, shape or rounded Three Kings Cake, and let it rest again for the second time before baking (similar process with two resting periods as we have when baking cinnamon rolls).
To form and decorate my Three Kings Cake?
You can form a ring with the dough with space enough in the middle because the sweet bread will rise a lot.
After one our rest brush the ring with egg wash and add your favorite ingredients, the most common ones are candied fruits (or just orange slices with sugar on top), sliced almonds, sugar with orange blossom or pearl sugar.
Three Kings Cake
- 1 Bowl
- Kitchen Aid Optional
- 1 Pot
Biga (first dough)
- 2/3 cup Strong flour
- 1/4 cup Milk
- 1 tsp Fresh yeast
- 2 + 1/3 cup Stong flour
- 1/2 cup White sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 2 tsp Fresh yeast
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/3 cup Butter
- 1/2 cup Milk
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- Orange zest
- 1 tbsp Rum
- 1 tbsp Orange blossom
- 1 Egg
- Sugar or pearl sugar
- Cendied or fresh fruit
- The night before baking, prepare a biga (preferment) dissolving the yeast in warm milk and adding 90 g of strong flour and let it rest overnight into the fridge covered.
- Also the night before baking, heat up the milk with the cinnamon stock, the rum, the orange zest and a tablespoon of orange blossom (optional) until it boils. We will need 120 g of the milk for tomorrow’s Three Kings' Cake. Preparing it the day before we are looking to have the best flavor of the ingredients.
- Mix the biga (first dough we let rest into the fridge) with the rest of the ingredients: milk, eggs, flour, sugar, yeast and start kneading.
- Keep kneading until you have a nice dough with all the ingredients and start adding bit by bit the butter while you knead.
- Knead the dough for at least 20 minutes until you have a nice dough that doesn’t stick to your hands or the kitchen aid.
- Cover the dough and let it rest for an hour, it will double its volume.
- Knead with your hands for 2 minutes the dough and form a ball.
- Let the ball rest for 10 minutes. This way will be easier to form your Three Kings' Cake. Now form a big ring and place the “surprises” in the inside of the dough (optional).
- Let the ring rest on your baking tray covered for another hour.
- Preheat your oven 180º Degrees Celsius (350º Fahrenheit)
- Brush your Three Kings' Cake with beaten egg and decorate with pearls sugar, almonds, candied fruits and the ingredients you like.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until it browns in the outside but still fluffy.
- Let it cool and enjoy your Three Kings' Day.