Guide to King Cakes Around the World

Food and Travel, Holidays, International Food, Mardi Gras, Winter
on February 14, 2015
Guide to King Cakes Around the World
Katie Eberts
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For the past month and a half people around the world have been baking itty bitty baby figurines, coins and beans into all sorts of sweet cakey creations. Some on January 6th for the Epiphany, while others have been at it ever since Christmas in anticipation of Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras). We Americans fall into that lot—say “king cake” and we envision a massive frosted doughnut covered in glitter-sprinkles being dished out on Bourbon Street.

But go to France or Mexico and you’ll find cakes that don’t resemble ours in the slightest—think fillings like marzipan or toppings of dried cherries and apricots. Since all manner of king cakes deserve a place in your winter celebrations, we’ve broken down the differences below and shared recipes to try at home.

Louisiana, USA

Guide to King Cakes Around the World | Relish.com

Dates Eaten: January 6th—Mardi Gras
Trinket: A plastic baby figurine representing Jesus

King Cake

King-Cake-Mardi-Gras-Baby-Relish

The American King Cake is the sweetest of the bunch and sports purple (justice), green (faith) and gold (power) sprinkles—Mardi Gras’ official colors.

 

France

Guide to King's Cakes Around the World | Relish.com

Date Eaten: January 6th
Trinket: La fève—a porcelain figurine of baby Jesus, a French citizen or animal

Northern France: Galette des Rois

Galette des Rois

Erica Sommermann

The Galette des Rois is a pastry-like cake with a rich almond frangipane filling.

Southern France: Gateau Des Rois

La Brioche des Rois

David.Monniaux

In the South you’ll find a ring-shaped brioche cake crowned with candied fruits.

 

Mexico and Spain

Guide to King Cakes Around the World | Relish.com

Date Eaten: December 25th—January 6th
Trinket: Porcelain figure of baby Jesus or wiseman, bean or candy

Roscón de Reyes

Roscón de Reyes

gnom-gnom

More akin to a fruitcake or panettone and similar to Southern France’s gateau, the Roscón de Reyes is an oval-shaped or circular ring cake topped with dried and candied fruit.

 

Portugal

Guide to King Cakes Around the World | Relish.com

Date Eaten: December 25th—January 6th
Trinket: coin or fava bean

Bolo Rei

Bolo Rei

Maria Teresa Jorge

Similar to the Roscón de Reyes, the Bolo Rei is a sweet dessert bread starring dried and candied fruits.

 

Remember all of the King Cakes by pinning our handy graphic…

Guide to King Cakes Around the World | Relish.com

Katie Eberts