Roscón De Reyes: the Spanish Kings’ Cake recipe to enjoy at Epiphany

Total time: 6-7H
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 12 people
By Cookist
for the cake
Plain flour
500 g
200 g
butter at room temperature
100 g
100 g
100 g
fresh yeast
25 g
orange zest, grated
1 tsp
orange blossoms (optional)
1/4 tsp
for the decoration
Sugar grains
Candied fruits
almonds, chopped

Roscón de Reyes, or Rosca de reyes, is a popular crown-shaped cake recipe. It is usually eaten the night before or morning of Epiphany on January 6th, the day of the Three Kings (el día de los Reyes Magos). Anyway, you can find it in the pastry shops already from mid-November. Also known as Spanish Kings' cake, this is a traditional recipe in many Latin countries like Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia.

The tradition wants that inside the dough is inserted a surprise – a small object, an almond or a dry bean – that will make king for one day who will find it in its slice, just like for the French Galette de Rois. Each country has a different meaning for that surprise, which does not include only gifts.

Roscón de reyes is oval-shaped and decorated like a real crown as it represents the crowns worn by the Three Kings when they visited the baby Jesus. Actually, the word roscón means precisely "cake in the shape of a crown", on the other hand reyes means "king".

This fragrant, sweet yeasted bread is very similar to a classic brioche dough and scented with orange zest. Soft on the inside and slightly crisp on the outside, roscón de reyes is enriched with candied fruits and almonds. Very easy to make, you can enjoy it during the Christmas season or on the morning of January 6th together with a hot chocolate or tea cup.

Roscón de Reyes Origins

It is said that the roscón de reyes dates back to the days of the ancient Romans. During the winter solstice known as Saturnalia, they ate a very similar cake decorated with figs, honey and date that hid a sweet inside. Whoever found it then became the king of the party, just like today.

It is thought that it was the advent of Christianity in Europe that spread this tradition to Spain and Latin America, just like in France.


For an ultra decadent roscón de reyes, you can cut it in half and fill it with whipped cream.

If you want to get a more regular shape and a slightly higher doughnut, you can use a doughnut mold in which to store it before the second rising.

How to store Roscón de Reyes

Roscón de Reyes can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days in a tightly sealed food bag.

You can also cook and freeze rosca de reyes for up to 2 months.

How to make Roscón de Reyes

In a planetary mixer, add the flour, sugar, grated orange zest and eggs.

Melt the butter in the milk with the orange blossom if using. When the mixture is warm, mix in the yeast. Pour everything into the planetary mixer.

Mix. Finally, add the salt.

Knead the dough for about 20-25 minutes, until it is firm and no longer sticky.

Form a smooth and homogeneous ball. Let it rise covered in a warm place for about 3 hours or until it doubles in volume.

When the dough is ready, it will be puffy and smooth.

Put it back on the work surface, form a ball and make a hole in the center with your fingers.

Spread it out to give the dough the shape of a doughnut.

Place the doughnut on a baking sheet, lined with baking paper.

Brush it with the beaten egg and let it rise for another hour or until it doubles in volume.

Brush once more with the beaten egg. Decorate the Róscon de Reyes with candied cherries and sugar grains.

Top with candied fruits and almonds.

Bake at 170°C for about 40 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

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