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Published: Saturday January 4, 2014 MYT 11:05:00 AM
Updated: Saturday January 4, 2014 MYT 11:24:19 AM

Roscon de reyes cakes for Epiphany

Customers wait to buy Roscon de reyes at Nunos bakery in Madrid, Spain, on Jan 3, 2014. The bakery has launched five new recipes of the cake, which includes cinnamon, crunchy biscuit or apple cream. - Photo EPA

Customers wait to buy Roscon de reyes at Nunos bakery in Madrid, Spain, on Jan 3, 2014. The bakery has launched five new recipes of the cake, which includes cinnamon, crunchy biscuit or apple cream. - Photo EPA

Cake fit for a king eaten on Jan 6.

ROSCA de reyes or roscón de reyes (kings’ ring) is a Spanish and Latin American king’s cake pastry traditionally eaten to celebrate Epiphany on Jan 6, the 12th day after Christmas. The day commemorates the arrival of the three Magi or Wise Men.

The cakes are usually over 30cm wide and recipes vary from country to country. In Spain, these are often cream-filled cakes, flavoured with rum and orange flower water, while in Mexico, the cakes may come in single layers but with elaborately decorated tops. Figs, quinces, cherries or dried and candied fruits are often used.

Thousands of inhabitants receive a piece of the traditional ring-shaped cake during the King's Day celebration at Zocalo square in Mexico City, Mexico, on Jan 3, 2014.  - Photo EPA
Thousands of inhabitants received a piece of the traditional ring-shaped cake roscón de reyes during the King's Day celebration at Zocalo square in Mexico City, on Jan 3, 2014. The cake weighed 8.5 tonnes and was 1,400m long. – Photo EPA

At Zocalo square in Mexico City on Jan 3, tables were set out with 8.5 tonnes of roscón de reyes cakes during the King’s Day celebration. The cakes spanned 1,440m and fed 200,000 of the city’s inhabitants.

In most of Spain, Spanish America, and sometimes, Hispanic communities in the United States, this is the day when children traditionally get presents, which are attributed to the Three Wise Men (and not Santa Claus or Father Christmas). In Mexico before children go to bed, they leave their shoes outside filled with hay or dried grass for the animals the Wise Men ride, along with a note.

A cook at Nunos Bakery in Madrid filling Roscon de reyes cakes with cream. - Photo EPA
A cook at Nunos Bakery in Madrid filling roscón de reyes cakes with cream. – Photo EPA

The tradition of placing a figurine of baby Jesus in the cake is very old. The embedded trinket represents the flight of Jesus from King Herod’s evil plan to kill all babies that could be the prophesied messiah. Whoever finds the figurine is blessed and crowned the king or queen of the day. In Mexican culture, this person also has to throw a party and provide tamales and atole to the guests.

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, roscon de reyes, Spanish ring-shaped cake, Epiphany, Mexican cake

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