The Three Wise Men’s Day is a holiday in Spain which is celebrated on the 6th January. It is known as the Epiphany, which marks the day the wise men arrived to see and bring gifts to baby Jesus. Today, this day continues to celebrate the epiphany and also, the arrival of a hopefully prosperous new year – which is symbolised by the Three Wise Men – by gathering around the table with the entire family to eat the ‘Roscon de Reyes’ or King’s cake.
The Roscón came to Spain from the hand of French king Philip V, but it took many years to become popular in all homes in Spain.
Roscón is a delicious, circular shaped dessert, which is traditionally garnished with candied fruit and then it can be filled with custard or cream. The fruit toppings are symbolic of the gems worn by the Three Kings on their clothing. A little trinket is usually hidden inside the cake and whoever gets the slice with this in will have good luck for the rest of the year!
This traditional Spanish cake is easy and fun to make at Christmas for the whole family to enjoy on this popular holiday!
- – 560 cups plain flour
- – 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt
- – 2 tablespoons dry baker’s yeast
- – 75ml milk (lukewarm)
- – 75ml water (lukewarm)
- – 6 tablespoons butter
- – 6 tablespoons sugar
- – Rind of 1 large orange (grated)
- – 2 large eggs
- – 1 tablespoon brandy or rum
- – 1 egg white
- – Assorted candied fruit (chopped in different sizes) for the toppings!
- 1. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, and make a well in the middle.
- 2. In a smaller bowl, dissolve the yeast into the lukewarm milk and water. Once the yeast is completely dissolved, pour the mixture into the well of the flour.
- 3. Scrape in just enough flour from around the well to create a thick batter, sprinkle some extra flour on top, and cover with a kitchen towel. Leave the bowl in a warm place for around 15 minutes, or until the batter is doughy and sponge-like.
- 4. Meanwhile, in another medium mixing bowl, use an electric whisk the butter and sugar until they are combined and creamy.
- 5. Once the dough has become spongy, add the eggs, brandy, orange rind, and a splash of water to it. Mix well, until the dough is elastic and a bit sticky.
- 6. Add the butter and sugar mixture to the dough and mix until smooth.
- 7. Shape the dough into a ball and cover in cling film. Keep it in the large mixing bowl, cover it once more with a kitchen towel and leave in a warm place. As the dough proves, it will double in size. This can take anywhere between 1 to 2 hours.
- 8. While the dough rises, grease a large baking sheet for later use.
- 9. Once the dough has doubled in size, remove the plastic wrap. Flatten the dough and place it on a lightly floured countertop or cutting board.
- 10. You need to knead the dough for two or three minutes, and then roll it into a large rectangle.
- 11. Next, roll the dough inwards from the long edge to create a sausage shape. Bring the ends together to create the iconic donut, and place on the baking sheet.
- 12. This is when you should add the trinket into the cake. Do this by poking it somewhere into the dough.
- 13. Wrap the dough once more with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for roughly one hour to again double in size.
- 14. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
- 15. Once the dough has risen, lightly beat the remaining egg white and brush it across the top. Cover the cake in the assorted dried fruits, pushing gently so they do not fall off of the cake while it is baking.
- 16. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Cool on the rack before serving.
The Three King’s Day is a magical and important day for everyone. Spanish children will go to bed dreaming that the Three Kings will have visited their homes, leaving their presents behind.Each family member will also be hoping that their piece of Roscón de Reyes contains the little trinket that will give them good luck for a very prosperous new year! If you want to celebrate this popular day just like the Spanish do, make sure you try to make the famous Roscón cake with this recipe!