In January of every year, when it comes time for the Kings’ cake to be served, the youngest child in the family has to hide under the dining room table and choose to whom each slice goes as the cake gets cut. As a kid, this was always my favorite part, as I would get to be the one under the table deciding who would receive each slice. My dad would slice the cake and ask "Who is going to have this piece?", and I would yell out names until everyone was served. Then, I would rush back to my seat to inspect my slice and try to see if I had the “fève” or charm that is hidden inside this special cake.
Image courtesy of Aurelie Bastian
The person who ends up with the “fève” gets to be the King or Queen for the evening. But, you aren’t allowed to just open up your slice of cake… No, you need to eat it carefully bite by bite until you find the “fève”. You have to be careful because the “fève” itself is a little porcelain charm. Usually, everyone is looking around while the cake gets eaten, trying to guess who will have the lucky piece. The person who has the charm also gets to choose her/his King or Queen.
Traditionally, “la Galette des Rois” was served on January 6th, which marks the feast of the Epiphany when the three kings presented their gifts to the baby Jesus. However, these days families in France don’t necessarily always have it on the 6th. Rather, we serve this cake whenever we want during the month of January… After all, why do it only once when it is so much fun!
Statistics show that 30 million of these royally good “galettes” are sold every year in France. That’s 30 million cakes sold in a country made up of 65 million people… We sure love our “galette”!
The cake itself is made in a variety of ways depending on what region of France you are in, but my personal favourite kind is made with frangipane cream (recipe below). You can easily make this cake at home with your little one.
Your little one will have loads of fun making “galette” with you. You can weigh all the ingredients together, and then pour them into a big bowl and mix them. Your child can also help glaze the dough and even decide where to hide the charm!
Note: It’s best to hide the charm near the edge of the cake so there is less of a chance of cutting it by mistake when serving up the slices.
Image courtesy of Hannah Tasker
- 100 grams (1 cup) almond flour
- 60 grams (½ cup) sugar
- 1 egg
- 50 grams (¼ cup) softened butter
- A dash of bitter almond extract
- 1 egg yolk (to glaze the dough)
- 1 "fève" or porcelaine charm (alternatively you can use a dry bean or go ahead and buy a little charm on amazon)
BAKING SUPPLIES- A big bowl
- A wooden spoon
- A whisk
- A fork
- A pizza pan or a big tin
1. Preheat the oven at 395°F / 200°C.
2. Mix all the ingredients for the frangipane cream until just blended.
3. On a slightly floured cold surface, cut 2 circles the size of dinner plates out of the puff pastry. Put one of them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush one inch around the edge of the circle with egg wash (beaten egg yolk).
4. Spread the frangipane cream on the centre and place the second circle on top matching the edges of the circles. Press all around the edges to glue them together. Press softly in the centre to evenly spread the filling.
5. Cook in the oven for 40 minutes at 395°F / 200°C.
Image courtesy of sunny-delices.fr
Need a crown for the evening's King or Queen?