Róscon de Reyes (Spanish Kings’ Cake)

Róscon de Reyes (Spanish Kings’ Cake)

Róscon de Reyes is a dessert enjoyed in Spain and across Latin America that is typically served the night before or the morning of Reyes or Epiphany, which is on Jan. 6. Dia de Reyes or simply Reyes is the day when children receive gifts from the Reyes Magos–Wise Men or Magi—the three kings who brought baby Jesus gifts. Instead of gifts from Santa Claus, the children receive them from the Reyes Magos.

A Cake with Hidden Surprises!

It is traditional to hide several surprises inside the róscon, like a porcelain figure of a baby wrapped in foil and a dry bean. It is said that whoever finds the baby will have good luck and be the king of the party, but if you find the bean, you pay for the cake.

How Hot is “Lukewarm”?

This recipe calls for lukewarm milk and water to be combined with yeast. Since yeast is slow to activate at cool temperatures and dies above 110 F, "lukewarm" for this recipe can be anything above room temperature, but not boiling. A good rule of thumb is if the liquid feels warm to the touch and you can hold your finger in it for several seconds.

Tip For Preparing Lukewarm Liquid

  • To warm the milk-water mixture for this recipe, heat it in the microwave in 10 second bursts, stirring between each burst and testing it with your finger. Once it feels warm but not hot, you're ready to go.

What You’ll Need to Make Róscon de Reyes A Flour Sifter A Stand Mixer A Baking Sheet


  • 4 cups (18-ounces, 480-grams) all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/3 cup lukewarm milk

  • 1/3 cup lukewarm water

  • 3 tablespoons (4 packages, 1 ounce) active dry yeast

  • 6 tablespoons (3-ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 6 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons orange zest

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 tablespoon brandy

  • 1 tablespoon water

  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten

  • 2 cups candied fruit, such as figs, oranges, lemons, mangoes, cherries, chopped or left in large pieces

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Into a large mixing bowl, sift together 4 cups flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Make a hole in the center of the flour.

  3. In a small mixing bowl, combine the 1/3 cup lukewarm milk and 1/3 cup lukewarm water. Sprinkle the 3 tablespoons active dry yeast over top and let stand for about 3 minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Stir.

  4. Once dissolved, pour the yeast, milk and water mixture into the center of the flour. Stir in just enough flour from around the sides of the bowl to make a thick batter, without incorporating the flour entirely.

  5. With your hand, grab about a teaspoon of the flour from the side of the bowl and sprinkle it over the top of the batter.

  6. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and leave in a warm place, away from any draft. Allow batter to turn spongy with bubbles, about 15 minutes.

  7. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater attachment, beat together 6 tablespoons butter and 6 tablespoons sugar. The mixture should be smooth. Using a spatula, transfer the butter-sugar mixture to a separate bowl and set aside.

  8. Transfer the yeast batter from the mixing bowl into the bowl of the stand mixer. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons orange zest and 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon brandy and 1 tablespoon water to the bowl with the batter. Mix well using the hook attachment. The dough will be sticky.

  9. Add the reserved butter-sugar mixture to the dough and mix until the dough is elastic, smooth, and forms into a ball.

  10. Cover the dough with oiled plastic wrap. Leave it again in a warm place and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

  11. While you are waiting for the dough to rise, line a large baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

  12. Once the dough has doubled, remove the plastic wrap and punch down the dough. Lightly flour a clean counter or cutting board and place dough on it.

  13. Knead for 2 to 3 minutes. Then, using a rolling pin, roll dough into a long rectangle, about 2 feet long and 5 to 6 inches wide.

  14. Roll the dough from the long side into a sausage shape.

  15. Carefully place the dough onto the baking sheet and connect the ends together, forming a ring. If you plan to hide a bean or a small ​foil-wrapped, ceramic figurine in the cake, now is the time to tuck it under the dough. Cover with oiled plastic wrap again. Leave in a warm place and allow to double in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

  16. Heat oven to 350 F. Lightly beat 1 egg white in a small bowl. Uncover the dough and brush the top of the cake with the beaten egg white. Decorate the ring with the candied fruit pieces. Push them into the dough slightly so that they do not fall off.

  17. Place in oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool on a rack before serving.

Feeling Adventurous? Try This:

In the last half of the 20th century, filling the róscon with whipped cream or a thick custard became popular. If you'd like to fill yours, use a bread knife to slice the cake in half horizontally and carefully remove the top. Next, squeeze in the whipped cream or filling you've chosen and carefully replace the top. Keep refrigerated until serving if filled with cream or custard.


No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *