The French King Cake, also called Galette des rois, is a buttery puff pastry filled up with a frangipane which is an almond-based filling. In France, this delicious golden treat is eaten on January 6 for the Epiphany but really also all January long.
Although it is originally a Christian tradition, the King Cake is enjoyed by all French at the beginning of the year. No one passes on this delicious tradition where a small charm is hidden and the person who gets the slice with it is crowned King or Queen of the day.
What Is A King Cake?
It is a simple galette consisting of 2 sheets of puff pastry with almond filling. In the Christian religion, the Epiphany marks the arrival of the Three Kings in Bethlehem delivering a gift to baby Jesus.
In France, you can find these delicious desserts in all stores and bakeries from December to the end of January.
First, let gather the ingredients needed for this recipe:
- 2 rolls of puff pastry: I use a store bought one but you can definitely make you own if you wish
- Melted butter
- Eggs: Medium size is great
- Brown sugar: White sugar works too
- Almond flour or almond meal: I buy this one.
- Optional: Almond extract
See recipe card for exact quantities.
Also, it is helpful to prepare the utensils you will need for the recipe:
🥧 How To Prepare It (with tips)
First, if like me, you are using frozen puff pastry, make sure to thaw it out at room temperature 2 hours before.
Next, in a large bowl, you will mix your melted butter with the sugar. Mix some more until combined. Then, add the almond flour. Lastly, add in the eggs, one at a time, and mix well.
This is your almond filling or frangipane. Now, you need to put a film wrap to contact and place it in the fridge for an hour and this is a great time to preheat oven.
TIP: You can also place your almond filling 15 minutes in the freezer instead of an hour in the fridge.
Next, unroll your puff pastry and grab the plate and the sharp knife. Place the plate upside down on the dough and with the knife cut around the plate to shape your cake. (see picture below).
With a little water and a baking brush, wet the borders of the dough. It will allow the other sheet to stick better.
TIP: You can use the discard to make these cinnamon puff pastry sticks or you can also make the King cake in a rectangular shape.
Now, take your almond filling out of the fridge and spread it in an even manner on the dough without going to close the edges. It is also the moment to add your little charm if you have one.
Using the same plate, cut the other puff pastry dough in a round shape and place it on top of the other one where your spread the frangipane.
With a fork, squeeze the edge to allow the 2 sheets to seal. And, with your sharp knife, make some designs on the top of the cake, you need to make light scar marks that do not go deep in the dough.
I made a few strips in different directions. You can also make marks starting from the centre.
Finally, the last step before putting your galette in the oven, brush the pie with an egg yolk to give it that beautiful golden color when it comes out of the oven.
At last, you can bake this cake and prepare yourself to eat a deliciously buttery and flaky almond cake.
I would say there are 2 main ways, either at room temperature or slightly warmed up. I prefer the latter. Not straight out of the oven, this would be too hot but rather, warmed up 10 seconds in the microwave.
The cake can be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days. You can also freeze it once baked and cooled down.
You are crowned King or Queen for the day. French bakery provides a golden crown so you get proudly wear it. Also, it is a sign of luck for the new year!
Yes, you will need to use a porcelain or ceramic charm. Do not worry if you do not have one, you can skip this part, it just adds some fun to the tradition.
Absolutely, there is a great one on Baked's website here.
More French Traditional Dessert Recipes:
Yule Log: For your Christmas table
French Mendiants: An easy traditional chocolate bark
Sweet Bread: Part of the Christmas desserts
📖 French King Cake
- 2 rolls of puff pastry 450g
- ¾ cup butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 and ¼ cup almond flour
- 2 eggs medium size
- 1 egg yolk
- If using frozen puff pastry, make sure to thaw it out at room temperature 2 hours before.
- In a pot, melt the butter.
- In a bowl, pour the melted butter and sugar. Stir well.
- Pour all the almond flour at once and stir well.
- Add the eggs one by one. Mix some more.
- Put a film wrap to contact on the almond filling and place it in the fridge for an hour.
- Preheat oven at 400F.
- Unroll the puff pastry and grab a plate (25 cm/10 inch) and the sharp knife. Place the plate upside down on the dough and with the knife cut around the plate to shape your cake.
- With a little of water and a baking brush, wet the borders of the dough. It will allow the other sheet to stick better.
- Take your almond filling out of the fridge and spread it in an even manner on the dough without going to close the edges.
- Add your little charm if you have one.
- Using the same plate, cut the other puff pastry dough in a round shape and place it on top of the other one where your spread the frangipane.
- With a fork, squeeze the edge to allow the 2 sheets to seal. And, with your sharp knife, make some design on the top the cake, you need to make light scar marks, do not go deep in the dough.
- Brush the pie with an egg yolk.
- Bake for 30 minutes.