Epiphany – Three Kings’ Cake (bread) / Dreikönigskuchen

January 6th. Epiphany. If you don’t know what day that is, well then, that makes two of us. Okay, I have an idea what day it is and what it celebrates but don’t push me for details.

It was only in Switzerland did I learn about Three Kings’ Cake though. Interestingly, a quick search on Google shows very, very, VERY different images of the cake. It seems that pretty much every country and culture has its own version of the cake. One thing they do have in common is that a trinket, figurine or bean is hidden in the cake and whoever finds it, gets to be king for the day. So you can see why I kids love this tradition.

Three Kings' Cake

Obviously, I’m going to share with you the Swiss version of this cake. And when I say cake, I really mean bread. What can I say? The Swiss love their breads. They pretty much have a bread for every holiday. Remember the post I wrote about Grittibänz exactly a month ago? This bread is basically the same bread, just shaped differently. I guess they really only love this breadAnyway,  a dear friend of mine (Thank you Susanne!) read that post and kindly sent me her favourite recipe for this bread and what better chance to try that recipe out than on Epiphany? Traditionally, this bread contains raisins but none of us like raisins in our bread, so I’ve omitted it.

Here are my thoughts on it: It’s a good recipe and I can see why it’s her favourite. Personally, I found it a teeny tiny bit dense for my liking, but heavenly when toasted and slathered with butter. But my disappointment was my own fault. For some reason, stupidity mainly, I was expecting it to turn out like a brioche when it obviously wasn’t a brioche recipe. Note to self: learn to make brioche.

I would definitely make this bread again. But  a little differently, knowing what I know now. Taste-wise, I have no complaints. Like I said, heavenly when toasted and slathered. But I’d make the bread smaller for one. I don’t know what I was thinking when I shaped those buns. They were obviously too big. I could have made TWO regular-sized breads rather than one humongous one. Meh….no one’s complained so far though. The other thing is that I would allow it a longer second rise, which might result in a fluffier bread.

Three Kings' Cake

My daughter made these crowns so I cannot not post this.
Three Kings’ Bread (Dreikönigskuchen)

Makes 1 humongous cake/bread

INGREDIENTS
  • 600g all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 60g sugar
  • ½ tsp grated lemon zest
  • 300ml milk, lukewarm
  • 10g dry yeast
  • 30g butter, melted
  • 90g Rahmquark ( I really have no idea what this is in English but Crème fraîche would be a good substitute)

Topping

  • 1 egg yolk
  • coarse sugar
DIRECTIONS
  • In a stand-mixer, combine all the ingredients and knead on low for 8 minutes. If you wish, you could do it the proper way and proof the yeast first; dissolve the yeast in 100 ml of milk  and wait 10 minutes. It should start to foam. Now proceed to combine all ingredients and knead on low for 8 minutes. If you don’t have a stand mixer, go ahead and knead by hand for about 10 -15 minutes.
  • Place dough in a large bowl and cover with a warm damp cloth. Leave it to rise in a warm and draft-free place e.g. the oven, for an hour.
  • After an hour, turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Give it a quick knead and divide into 7 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball.*edit: I totally forgot to mention the most important part! Hide a trinket/figurine/bean in one of the balls and try not to remember which one it is.
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place six balls around one ball. Remember to leave about an inch between balls. The dough will rise some more and join together.  Cover dough again with a damp cloth and leave to rise for another hour.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Brush egg yolk onto dough and sprinkle generously with coarse sugar. My son is allergic to eggs so I brushed on cream instead. Hence the lack of gloss and shine.
  • Bake on the bottom rack for 20 mins. Lower the temperature to 100°C and bake for another 15 mins.
  • Let cool and serve (with LOTS of butter!!)
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4 thoughts on “Epiphany – Three Kings’ Cake (bread) / Dreikönigskuchen

    1. Haha! I actually put in 2 figurines to increase the chances of my kid getting it. We used to sneak it into her piece before if anyone of us found it first. Happy holiday and thanks for stopping by!

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  1. Just got back from New Orleans where they have King’s Cake too…interesting, wonder what the connection is. What kind of trinkets did you tuck in? I always see those little plastic babies…

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    1. Oooh! I’ve always wanted to go to New Orleans. I just use the plastic figures I’ve saved from store bought cakes. I think they’re supposed to be of Jesus (?) Or a wise man. Hard to tell. Haha!

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