A Classic : King’s Cake [fr]

This month, the Consulate’s Chef teaches us how to cook King’s Cake, to enjoy a perfect moment with our family and friends.

Hi everyone !! I am here to wish you all a very happy 2019 !

I would like to start the year with a big classic of the month of January, the King’s cake with almond filling.

Originally, the Epiphany or Three King’s Day was a pagan holiday that celebrated the Epiphanes (“certain Hellenistic kings and gods that were friendly to humans”). The Epiphany was Christianized and today it celebrates the visit of the Three Kings to the baby Jesus. In France this day is held on the 6th of January. This is also the day of the first miracle at the wedding feast at Cana and most of all the day the Christ was baptized.

The word ‘epiphany’ comes from the Greek ‘epiphaneia’ which means ‘manifestation, apparition.’ This former religious tradition has since become a popular, family tradition.

The King’s Cake with frangipane, served on Epiphany is a typically French recipe that existed way before the Epiphany. The cake or tart was divided into as many parts as there were guests, plus one, referred to as ‘God’s slice’, which was destined for the first poor person that showed up.

The bean inside the King’s Cake probably originated at the time of the Romans. At the beginning of January, the Roman Saturnalia (large celebration of ancient Rome in honor of the god Saturn) chose the king of the feast by means of a black or white bean. Today, the beans are made of porcelain, and are collected by enthusiasts.

In the North of France, the King’s Cake, is basically a cake, made of puff pastry, browned in the oven, that is eaten accompanied by jams. This cake can be filled with different preparations: Frangipane, fruit, cream, chocolate, applesauce, etc… In the South of France, the King’s Cake is a brioche with candied fruits in the shape of a crown, perfumed with orange blossom; it is preferred to the puff pastry, which is derogatorily referred as ‘Parisian.’ But one can also find King’s Cakes made with shortbread in the West of France.

For the pastry filling:

  • 50 g of egg yolks
  • 40 g of sugar
  • 250 g of milk
  • 1 Vanilla pod
  • 20g of Maïzena (corn starch)

For the almond paste:

  • 75 g of eggs
  • 75g of almond powder
  • 75g of powdered sugar
  • 75g sweet softened butter
  • 10g of Maïzena
  • 1 g of salt
  • Almond extract

For the Frangipane:

  • The pastry filling and the almond paste
  • 1 roll of pastry puff made from butter
  • 1 egg yolk


1. The pastry filling:

a. Beat the eggs with the sugar until the mixture begins to lighten. Add the Maïzena and combine. Break the Vanilla pod into two and place in a pan with the milk. Warm the milk and then add the egg and sugar mixture. Combine and then put everything into the pot. Allow to thicken on low heat until it boils.

b. Cover with Saran wrap and allow to cool for one hour.

2. The almond paste:

a. Combine the softened butter and the sugar until the mixture lightens.

b. Add the eggs one by one and then the almond paste and the Maïzena . Sift together the salt and almond extract.

3. The frangipane:

a. Mix 110 g of the cold pastry filling with the almond paste. Pour the cream into a pastry bag.

Putting the tart together:

1. Lay out a first layer of the pastry dough. Start from the center, spread the cream with your pastry bag in a spiral. Stop 2 cms from the edge. Insert the bean into the cream.

2. Baste the edge of the pastry dough with egg yolk. Place the second layer of pastry dough on top, sealing the edges. Spread the top of the tart with egg yolk. Draw streaks along the top with a knife.

3. Refrigerate the tart for an hour. Preheat the oven at 390° F. Bake for 10 minutes then lower the temperature to 350° F and continue to bake for 30 minutes.

With this little sentence from Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, I wish you a delicious meal and hope to see you here again soon.

“Eating for pleasure is an act of judgement, by which we give preference to things that are agreeable to our taste, over those that do not have this quality.”

Last modified on 31/12/2018

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