La Galette des Rois (or King’s Cake) Tradition: Global Potluck

| February 6, 2012

La Galette des Rois
By: Students in Semur-en-Auxois, France

What is la galette des rois?

The galette des rois, or king’s cake, is a traditional cake that is eaten during the Christmas season in many countries including France, Belgium, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Canada, and the United States.  In France alone, there are many varieties of king’s cake such as:

  • The “traditional” : two sheets of flakey pastry filled with frangipane (an almond filling)
  • La galette comtoise : pastry dough with sugar
  • La galette des rois : a round brioche with a fruit filling

A small figurine, or une fève is baked into the cake.  This small object can be anything from a small shoe to a medieval character.  The person who finds the figurine in their slice of cake is crowned “queen” or “king” for a day. They wear a small paper crown traditionally sold with the cake.

Why do many people in France eat king’s cake?

Traditionally, king’s cake was associated with the Christian holiday of Epiphany celebrated on January 6.  Today though, many people eat the cake without observing the religious holiday.  The cake is now considered a culinary tradition that is sold in bakeries across the country during the month of January.  Many people bake it at home, too.

What’s the recipe?

2 sheets of flakey pastry

1 cup almond flour

⅓ cup sugar

1 egg

½ stick of butter at room temperature

a few drops of almond extract

1 egg yolk (mixed with a little water) for brushing

1 figurine or trinket to bake into the cake

Preheat the oven at 410°F. Place one sheet of flakey pastry in a cake pan.  Pierce it with a fork.

Mix all of the ingredients (almond flour, sugar, egg, butter, almond extract) together in a large bowl.


Pour the batter into the cake pan, over the flakey pastry. Place the figurine.

Cover the batter with the second sheet of flakey pastry.  Firmly press the edges with a fork to seal the cake.

Brush the egg yolk and water mixture over the surface.  Gently draw a design on top with a knife.   Pierce the cake with a fork.


Place the cake in the oven and let it bake for around 30 minutes.  Watch the cake for the final 15 minutes as some cook faster than others!  The cake is ready when the crust is golden brown.

Bon appétit!

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Category: For Kids, Global Potluck, Global Potluck, Kids & Food

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  1. Patty says:

    LOVE IT! Seee my comments on zomppabux. this is fantastic.