Traditional Spanish Three Kings cake recipe

Recipe and excerpt from ‘Two Old Fools ~ Olé!

(Joe and Vicky are invited next door on the 6th January.)

“Lovely cake,” said Joe as he munched his way through the slice of Roscón handed to him by Carmen-Bethina. He took another big bite.

Nobody warned Joe. Nobody told Joe to be careful.


Nobody told Joe that the cake hid little Christmas figurines. Whoever finds the Christ Child figure is crowned King or Queen for the meal, while the one who finds the dried bean must pay for next year’s Roscón de Reyes. Guess who broke a tooth as he bit on the Baby Jesus?

Joe clapped a hand to his mouth and spat the Baby Jesus and a piece of tooth into his paper napkin.

“What the..?” he spluttered. Luckily, Joe’s horrified grimace was misread by Carmen-Bethina and Paco, who took it to be rapture at finding the Baby Jesus.

“Ahh!” beamed Carmen-Bethina, “you have found the Baby Jesus! I hoped you would be the one to get Him!”

“English!” shouted Paco, giving Joe’s back a hearty congratulatory whack, causing him to eject another shard of tooth. “You are King for the meal!” He thrust the golden cardboard crown on Joe’s bald head and everybody applauded, Bianca barking with excitement.

Paco whisked Joe’s hot chocolate mug away and replaced it with a brandy glass, sloshing a generous measure into it. An hour later, Joe had forgotten all about the tooth.

“That’s the most expensive piece of cake I’ve ever had,” he moaned, much later. “I’d much rather have got the dried broad bean and had to pay for next year’s cake, than have to go to the dentist and get my blasted tooth fixed.”

Three Kings Cake

Roscón de Reyes

This delicious cake is eaten with hot chocolate on the night of Epiphany when the Three Kings arrive and leave gifts for children.  Whoever finds the Christ Child figure in the cake is crowned and becomes the ‘king’ or ‘queen’ of the banquet. Whoever finds the bean has to pay for next year’s roscón.


400g (14oz) flour
3 eggs
100g (3-4oz) butter
100g (3-4oz) sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 litre (half pint) milk
Zest of 1 lemon
Dried mixed peel or jelly sweets for decorating (the jewels)


Pour 4 tbsp of the milk into a glass and stir in the baking powder.

Add this to a quarter of the flour and mix together until it forms a dough-like consistency.Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside until it doubles in size.

Place the remainder of the flour in a bowl. Add the eggs, sugar and a pinch of salt. Add the remainder of the milk and zest of the lemon. Mix well. Add the butter and continue mixing for a further 2 minutes.

Add the dough mixture and combine. As soon as a smooth dough has been achieved, cover and set aside for 2 hours.

Take up the dough again and knead the mixture a little. Now shape it into a ring.  Wrap some little Christmas figures in foil and also a dried broad bean and push them into the dough. Place onto a greased baking tray.

Brush with milk and decorate using the mixed peel. (Figs, quinces or cherries can also be used.)

Lightly sprinkle with sugar and place in a pre-heated oven (160°C or 320°F)  for 15 to 20 mins.

Cool on a wire rack before slicing.