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Heavenly Roscón de Reyes – The Epiphany Cake of Kings

You really know that the winter season began when Andalusian patisseries began to fill up with baked goods such as Polvorones, Marzipan, and the delicious Roscón de Reyes.

In this article, we will focus on the Roscón de Reyes, also known as King’s bread, which for some people can be a bit intimidating as it requires using yeast and a little proofing time, but there is nothing to fear.

Keep scrolling down this article as I’ll show you how to make a kings’ cake, some storing and serving tips, as well as more about the story of this famous Roscón de Reyes recipe.

Heavenly Roscón de Reyes - The Epiphany Cake of Kings

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Background of the Dish

three kings cake

The Three kings day bread It is a sweet bread that is commonly served in Spain during the Christmas season and its big day is January 6, which is the day of the Three Kings, and as you probably guessed, its name comes from there.

Since the 12th century, some testimonies show recipes for the Roscon de Reyes as we know it today, although it is believed that its origin was much earlier, as early as the 3rd century BC, to celebrate Saturnalia and the winter solstice.

As time went by, the three kings cake became one of the most popular dishes and now it is a classic baked good to have during the winter holiday season.  

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Heavenly Roscón de Reyes - The Epiphany Cake of Kings

Things You’ll Need for Roscón de Reyes

To make this recipe for kings’ cake, you will only need a couple of main ingredients and little to no equipment.

One thing that you will need to make this king’s cake is some arm strength because it does require kneading. 

However, you can use a stand mixer with the hook attachment or any other machine that works to replace the handmade kneading. 

kings cake

Ingredients

  • 2½ cups (400g) Bread flour
  • 1/3 cup (70g) butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) Rum (liquor)
  • 1/2 cup (100ml) Water
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) Milk
  • 1 Orange zest
  • 1 cube (20g) Compressed yeast
  • 1 teaspoon Orange blossom water (optional)
  • Salt to taste

      For the topping

  • Sliced ​​almonds 
  • Candied fruit
  • Granulated sugar

How to Make Roscón de Reyes – Step by Step Guide

roscón de reyes recipe
  1. The first step on this 3 kings cake is to pour 350 g of flour in a large bowl. Then make a hole in the center and add the sugar, yeast dissolved in warm water, rum, milk, orange zest, orange blossom water (optional), and butter. Mix lightly and add one of the eggs and a pinch of salt, then knead.
  1. Once the ingredients are combined, put the dough on a surface floured with the remaining flour. Continue kneading until the dough is elastic and doesn’t stick to the surface. If necessary, add a little bit of flour, though it should be a sticky dough.
  1. Grab the dough and form a ball with it, making a hole in the center. You can use a bundt cake pan since it has a pretty similar shape, or you can put an oven-safe cylinder in the middle so the roscón de Reyes doesn’t lose its shape. 
  1. Take it to a warm place and let it rise for at least an hour. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  1. After that, beat the other egg and paint the roscón. Add the toppings on top, like the candied fruit, sliced almonds, and granulated sugar.
  1. Bake the roscón for 15 to 20 minutes at 200°C or until it is golden and cooked through, you can check this by inserting a toothpick and if it comes out dry it’s ready. Let it cool for a bit before eating it. 

Substitution of Ingredients

three kings day cake

Some main ingredients shouldn’t be changed like butter, eggs, and flour, but when it comes to the topping and flavoring then you can make as many changes as you like.

For this king’s day cake, you can use almonds, pecans, and walnuts for topping. You can remove the candied fruits if you don’t like them, and use chocolate chips instead.

You can take inspiration from other Christmas cake ideas, and add different types of flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg, or even pumpkin spice if you are looking for an American version of this dish. 

If you liked this recipe, then feel free to check other of our Spanish recipes articles, where we show how to make Polvoron, Spanish Marzipan, and churros.

Tips on Serving Roscón de Reyes

christmas cake ideas

As well as other holiday cakes, you can use the Roscón de Reyes as a dessert, the main dish of your breakfast, or even as an afternoon snack.

When it comes to serving, you can cut the Roscón de Reyes in half and fill it with your favorite filling. It can be whipped cream, or chocolate ganache and no matter what the result will be spectacular.

If you want to have an authentic Andalusian holiday, then you can serve this roscón with other Christmas baked goods from this region, such as Turron, Roscos de vino, and more. 

How to Store Roscón de Reyes

How to Store Roscón de Reyes

This Roscón de Reyes truly stands out from other Christmas cake recipes, mostly because you can store it both at room temperature or in the freezer and it won’t lose its freshness.

If you want to store it at room temperature, just put the leftover (or the whole roscón) in a covered container and you can keep it that way for up to 4 days.

You can also freeze it and the best way to do it, is to bake the Roscón de Reyes without the toppings, freeze it, and just decorate the Christmas cake once you take it out of the fridge and let it thaw overnight.

This is the best way because otherwise, the topping will get soggy, have a bad flavor, and it wouldn’t feel fresh.

Recipe Card: Roscón de Reyes

Yield: 8

Roscón de Reyes Recipe

kings bread

You really know that the winter season began when Andalusian patisseries began to fill up with baked goods such as Polvorones, Marzipan, and the delicious Roscón de Reyes.

Roscón de Reyes, also known as King's bread can be a bit intimidating as it requires using yeast and a little proofing time, but there is nothing to fear.

To make this recipe for kings' cake, you will only need a couple of main ingredients and little to no equipment.

Ingredients

  • 2½ cups (400g) Bread flour
  • 1/3 cup (70g) butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) Rum (liquor)
  • 1/2 cup (100ml) Water
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) Milk
  • 1 Orange zest
  • 1 cube (20g) Compressed yeast
  • 1 teaspoon Orange blossom water (optional)
  • Salt to taste

For the topping

  • Sliced ​​almonds
  • Candied fruit
  • Granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. To start, pour 350 g of flour in a large bowl, make a hole in the center and add the sugar, yeast dissolved in warm water, rum, milk, orange zest, orange blossom water (optional), and butter. Mix lightly and add one of the eggs and a pinch of salt, then knead.
  2. Once the ingredients are combined, put the dough on a surface floured with the remaining flour. Continue kneading until the dough is elastic and doesn't stick to the surface. If necessary, add flour little by little, although it should be a sticky dough.
  3. Form a ball with the dough and make a hole in the center. Carefully, stretch and shape the roscón. Place it on a baking tray, in a warm place and let it rise for at least an hour. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  4. Beat the other egg and paint the roscón. Add the topping on top, like the candied fruit, sliced almonds, and granulated sugar.
  5. Bake the roscón for 15 to 20 minutes at 200°C or until it is golden and cooked through. Let it cool for a bit before eating it.

Notes

You can copy other Christmas cakes and add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, or even nutmeg to add the more classic holiday season flavor.

Nutrition Information

Yield

8

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 390.62Total Fat 2.11gCholesterol 34.54mgSodium 177.1mgCarbohydrates 83.13gFiber 4.25gSugar 30.89gProtein 8.44g

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