Roscón de Reyes – Spanish King’s Cake

Sunday 3rd January 2021 - Saffron

Roscón de Reyes – Spanish King’s Cake

A Recipe For The Traditional Spanish Sweet Christmas Treat

About two years ago I started Spanish lessons and in December my teacher set me a task. She gave me a recipe in Spanish for a traditional cake to translate and bake… never one to shy away from a challenge I set to work!

The Roscón de Reyes is a sweet Spanish bread rather like a brioche that is eaten on the 6th of January to celebrate when the three kings visited baby Jesus.

It has a hole in the middle so it looks like a crown and is topped with glace fruits to symbolise jewels, it can be plain or filled with cream, custard, chocolate, frosting or meringue.

I have filled mine with a soft vanilla meringue buttercream.

Traditionally you place a bean or porcelain figure of a king or baby Jesus inside the cake and whoever finds it has to bake or pay for the cake the following year, however I’m pretty sure my insurance wouldn’t cover me if anyone was to choke on it so I left it out of my bakes!!

I have adapted the recipe slightly to suit modern day shopping and baking and although it is quite an easy recipe it is time consuming, approx. 6hrs per cake, so make sure you clear your calendar for the day before you start.


450g Strong white bread flour plus 50g for dusting
1 Sachet of fast acting yeast
10g Granulated Sugar
80g Caster Sugar
70g Unsalted Butter – melted
20mls White Rum
4 Large Free-Range Eggs
70mls milk – tepid/room temp
Olive Oil
Glace Cherries and Fruits


  • To make your sponge starter, mix the granulated sugar, 50g of flour and the yeast together with 30mls of the warm milk using a wooden spoon. Cover with cling film and a clean tea towel and leave to ferment at room temperature for 1 hour. I use my utility room with the tumble dryer on for a little extra warmth.
  • Beat 3 eggs together then add melted butter, rum and the rest of the milk (40mls).
  • Add the caster sugar and then your sponge starter a little bit at a time.
  • If you’re using a mixer swap to a dough hook and add 400g of flour. Mix or knead for approx. 15 minutes, if your dough is feeling too sticky add the extra 50g of flour then form it into a ball.
  • Grease a large bowl with olive oil and place your dough inside, cover loosely with oiled cling film and a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for approx. 2hrs until its doubled in size
  • Knock it back (give it a couple of good punches!) and lay it on a floured worksurface, cut it into 6 to 8 pieces and roll into balls.
  • Put your dough balls around the edge of an 8” (20cm) cake tin making sure you leave a hole in the middle.
  • Cover the tin with oiled clingfilm and a clean tea towel and leave to rise again in a warm room for approx. 2hrs
  • Whisk the last egg together and brush over the dough, press the glace fruits into the dough and bake in a preheated oven at 180 for 20mins until golden then set aside in the tin to cool.

Once cooled slice and fill with your favourite filling or eat as it is with a nice cup of coffee!