What comes after the festivities? More festivities, of course! Calling all foodies… king cake season is upon us! Whether you prefer frangipane or brioche with candied fruit, this article is for you!
Where does this tradition come from?
King cake, or galette des rois is eaten to celebrate the Epiphany on the first Sunday after January 1 every year. However, it has nothing to do with religion. This custom involves sharing a traditional cake with friends or family, and can be enjoyed several times over the month. It dates back to Ancient Rome, when masters and slaves would eat at the same table as equals to celebrate the winter solstice.
The fève: symbol or trinket?
The fève (literally “bean”) is one of the symbols of the winter solstice and represents the first vegetable to appear in the spring. A dried bean used to be placed in the cake, and the person who found it became king or queen for the day! It also represents fertility and life. Size matters in this case, as the fève should not be too big or too small. It was later replaced by porcelain figurines, which were then made from plastic to reduce costs in the 1960s.
A different king cake between regions and countries
While the custom remains the same, the cake itself varies between regions and countries. For example, in Denmark an almond is hidden in a cake made with boiled rice. In France, the cake’s name changes based on the region. You will find the galette des rois in the Ile-de-France region, the gâteau des rois in Provence, and the Dreykönigskuchen in Alsace. As for the recipe, you can pick the one that suits you! The traditional king cake is made with frangipane, but there are many others such as a brioche cake with orange blossom or candied fruit.
To your ovens! Get ready to try this recipe approved by the Kusmi team!
- 2 sheets of puff pastry
- 140g powdered almond
- 100g fine sugar
- 2 eggs
- 75g soft butter
- 1 egg yoke
- 1 fève
Place one sheet of puff pastry in a pie tin, and prick all over with a fork.
In a mixing bowl, combine the powdered almond, sugar, two eggs, and soft butter until you have a smooth mixture.
Put the mixture into the tin and hide the fève.
Cover the mixture with the second sheet of puff pastry, ensuring you press down the sides.
Draw patterns on the top of the cake (circles, stripes, etc.) and brush with the egg yolk to create a golden color during cooking.
Cook at 390°F (200°C, gas mark 6-7) for 20-30 minutes. Regularly check to see if it is cooked through with a knife. When the cake is ready, the knife should come out “clean.”
Option: You can revamp the “classic” king cake by adding apples, pears, or chocolate chips.
Now you know everything about this tradition! With your beautiful, golden cake fresh out of the oven, all that’s left to do is to indulge in a slice – and hope that you will find the figurine and choose your king or queen!