As soon as you spend one Christmas holiday in Spain, you will realize about the huge number of sweets, cakes and desserts they eat during this time of the year. Although turron, polvorones and marzipan are served every year, there is only one that it´s considered a must, and that´s the Spanish three king´s cake. Don´t worry if you don´t know much about this cake, because today we are going to show you the “Roscón de reyes” recipe, we will also tell you about its traditions, the different types you can find, and much more.
Spanish Roscon de reyes tradition
The roscon de reyes is a delicious cake, and today we are going to show you how to make it. But before that, it´s important that you learn all about its traditions and curiosities.
When is the roscon de reyes eaten?
Supposedly, roscon de reyes is only made to be eaten during the 6th of January, as it´s on that date where the three wise men arrive to the house of each kid and gives them the presents. The family would have this crown royal shaped cake to honor them during the breakfast of the next morning.
Although it´s true that on the 5th and 6th of January, the cake is sold a million times more than any other day of the year, people like this cake so much, that markets have started to put it on sale much earlier.
Christmas sweets are normally in sale at the beginning of November. You won´t normally find the three wise men cake so early, but at the beginning of December it´s on sale for sure. That way, you will be able to eat during the whole “Christmas month”.
Roscon de reyes: The figurine and the bean
When you seat together with the family to eat roscon de reyes, everyone is waiting for just one thing: “The ceramic figurine”. Yes, that´s what is inside the famous cake, a figurine that depending on the country could represent different things.
On most of the occasions, inside the roscon de reyes you will find a baby jesus figurine or one of the three wise men. But we can tell you, that when we were kids, we were very excited because inside the cake, there was a figurine of a Disney or Cartoon movie Character…And they were very well done!
Other than that, inside the roscon de reyes, there is also a not so good surprise. It´s known as “haba” in Spanish and it´s basically a fava bean, which represents that you will have to pay for the roscon of the next year. In this cake you can be lucky or unlucky, but the fun part is that everyone is excited to see who gets the two gifts
Roscon de reyes with or without cream?
Be patient, we are going ahead with the recipe as soon as we tell you about the different types of roscon de reyes. There are like a million types, some with chocolate, some with raisins…and many other variations, but only two are common in Spanish families.
On one side we have the traditional roscon de reyes, which is dry and with candied fruits, the second option is more or less the same but with cream inside.
The reason why the cream version has become so popular is because in Spain you can find two types of people, the ones that believe the cake is too dry and needs something “sugarier”, and the ones that think is perfect and with the cream it becomes too heavy. Now, we will explain you how to make both of them.
Where to buy roscon de reyes
If you don´t have the time to make it at home, don´t worry because there are many places where you can buy it! Of course, if you are in Spain, France or other Spanish speaking countries, we recommend you going to a bakery shop as they are experts in these types of pastries.
You can also find it in normal supermarkets like Mercadona or Carrefour (the one from Carrefour is much better) or you can buy them online, which is the best option if you are living out of the Hispanic countries.
Roscon de reyes origin & history
Although nowadays the only reason why roscon de reyes is eaten is to celebrate the day of the three wise men, during its beginning it was very different.
The beginning of the roscon de reyes history began with the romans, they were the ones who prepared a very similar cake for “Saturnalia” also known as the winter solstice festival. It´s recipe was different because instead of fruits they used figs, dates and honey (ingredients with a lot of sugar as well).
The first relation to the word “king” came in the third century, when they started to add a baked bean into the cake. The person who received the piece of cake with the bean inside would be recognized as the “king of kings” for the rest of the day.
Later on, the Christianity started to spread through the Roman empire, and they started to eat the cake on the day of the three wise men (which is on the 6th of January). Although there are other theories, this is the one most people believe.
Rosca de reyes in other countries
The roscon de reyes is famous in Spain, but nowadays you can actually eat it in many other countries. In Europe only people from Spain, France and some parts of Portugal and Italy celebrate this day.
In America is celebrated in many Spanish speaking countries like Mexico, but also some people from Canada and the United States eat it. Of course, the tradition and the cake is slightly different in each country.
In most of the Spanish speaking countries, instead of calling it «roscon de reyes», they know it as «Rosca de reyes».
Enjoy your Spanish three kings cake!
That´s all you need to know about the Spanish roscón de reyes, as you have seen its recipe takes a little bit of time but following the tradition and eating it on the 6th of January is something very unique and it will make you feel like if you were travelling to Spain.
Hope you have enjoyed reading this article, and if you end up making the cake, let us know if you enjoyed it! Thank you!