Gateau des Rois (The Cake of Kings)


Gateau Des Rois

Some French traditions celebrate the glory of Christmas. These days, this message is all but lost, but for many devoted French Christians- the Cake of Kings will have a deeper meaning. It’s one of the traditions that will be enjoyed on January 6th. It’s also part of a celebration called The Epiphany, but for most Christian’s it’s also known as Little Christmas. It allows everyone to be King or Queen for the day if you get a lucky slice.
According to the French legend behind this cake, this commemorates the Three Wise Kings who traveled thousands of miles to greet the newborn Jesus. This is where the ‘Three Kings Cake’ name originates. But the addition of two small figurines somewhere within each cake is the real surprise for who will luckily find it first. Here’s what you need to know about making the real 12th Day of Christmas cake:


  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups
  • Mixing spoons
  • Baking parchment paper (silicone coated)
  • Round cake tin
  • Hand mixer
  • 2 tiny figurines


  • 2  sheets Puff Pastry Premade pastry dough
  • 2 Fresh Eggs
  • 1 Cup Almond flour
  • cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp Milk
  • 3 ounces Butter 100 grams
  • 1 tbsp Brandy
  • 1 tbsp Almond extract

How to begin:

Gateau des Rois Building

Take your puff pastry and your round cake tin, you can make two individual round shapes. This forms the upper and lower pieces that will hold your almond paste that goes inside your cake. Placing the cake tin onto the puff crust gives you a perfect circle outline that you can use the edge of a knife to cut away the excess. The leftover puff pastry can be put back in the fridge along with your round pastry shapes until you need them.

Making your almond cream:

almond cream in bowl

Take your mixing bowl and add your eggs into the bowl. At this point, you want to remove about 1 tablespoon of your egg white and keep this in a cup. This will be used as your pastry glaze later. Now add the milk and blend these together with a whisk or spoon. This is when you can add your butter and use an electric hand mixer to blend it together. Your butter should be room temperature so it blends easier.

After this, you can add the almond flour, sugar, brandy, and almond extract to the mix until it becomes nice and smooth. This mixture should be nice and smooth but will be relatively runny. It will now need to be chilled in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Building your Gateau Des Rois cake:

Gateau des Rois Building

Take one piece of the pastry and put this on a cooking sheet with some parchment paper under it. Now you can scoop out your filling into the center of your pastry puff dough. Using a spatula or knife, now you can spread this firm cream to the outer edges. Not all the way to the edge as you want 2 centimeters of the rim left clear for the top layer to attach. Almost as if you’re adding the cream just like you would add tomato sauce onto your pizza dough.

At this point, you can place your little figurines and stash them into the cream towards the center. Make sure they are properly buried and cannot be seen. Take out your top layer of puff pastry from the fridge. Now you can take a paper towel or egg brush and moisten the clean edge on your cream-covered pastry rim. This will help the top of the puff pastry stick to the lower piece. This will stick very easily just pushing lightly on the edges with your fingers.

You can take this one step further by taking your finger along the edge and tracing a butter knife up one side of your finger. Repeat this until you have a fingerprint-like imprint on the edge with a decorative line on each side. It makes your three kings cake look fancier, but you’ll have to repeat this at least 20 or 30 times if your fingerprint shape is right next to each other.

The very top of your pastry can have all sorts of lines radiating from the top. You can be as creative as you like. Now, this needs to go back into the fridge for another hour this will allow your pastry to chill for a bit more and gives you plenty of time to preheat your oven.

Cooking your cake:

Now you can preheat your oven to 375F degrees. While it’s warming up you can take your cake out from the fridge and give the outside a coating of egg white over the top of the puff pastry. This will help give your cake a golden brown coloration that is nice and shiny. Use the left-over egg white that you’ve saved just for this. Now you can add dried fruits on the outside of the cake for further added decoration.

Cook your cake for 30-45 minutes and then remove it from the oven. Allow it to cool off before slicing and serving.

Serving suggestions:


This sized cake will serve up to 8 people in total, so chances are you might be the lick one who finds a figure inside a slice. The filling inside will have become firmer as it bakes so these little shapes could be hiding anywhere. Serve on a small dish that comes with some ice cream or perhaps fresh whipped cream. The puff pastry will make it appear larger than it really is, giving this cake a unique fluffy and flaky texture with sugary almond paste filling

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