King cake (Galette des rois)


In France, the holidays aren’t over with the New Year – the second Sunday following Christmas is the Epiphany. 


Epiphany is celebrating in the North of France and some French speaking countries such as Switzerland, Belgium and Quebec in Canada. It was supposed to be a Christian festival of Epiphany to receive the kings of Magi.

The King Cake is a puff pastry filled with almond frangipane. Now, there are other fillings such as apples or chocolate. A small figurine is hidden inside. In older times, it was a bean symbolised the baby Christ. Now, it can be anything ex. Christmas tree, an animal, an object… The tradition is that the youngest person will hide under the table. Then we cut the cake into the number of pieces of people present. Before, we leave one piece said share of god or share of poor to give to the first poor person pass by. But now, this extra piece tradition is seldom practised. We randomly point at one of the piece cut and the child under the table will name the person which the piece would be distributed to. The person whom got the figurine (feve) will be crowned with a paper crown (sold with the cake from bakery). In fact, this tradition was borrowed from the celebration of Saturnalia in Roman Empire.

In the South of France, the King Cake is in form of torus-shaped brioche with candies and dried fruits topping.


No matter which form the King Cake is in, it is always a good excuse to have a celebration, to have joy !

Celia SO, Paris, Janurary.

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