galette des rois

The Kings Cake a French Tradition


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The Cake of Kings a French Tradition, call “Galette des Rois” in France, is a cake traditionally made and consumed in most of France, Quebec, Switzerland, Belgium, Lebanon, and Luxembourg on the occasion of Epiphany. It’s a Christian feast that celebrates t’s visit Maggi’s visit to baby Jesus, celebrated on January 6 or the first Sunday after January 1.

The Kings’ Cake originates from the Roman festivals between the end of December and January. During this feast, the Romans designated a slave as “King of the day.” This saturnal feast indeed promotes the reversal of roles to thwart the nefarious days of Saturn * (Christian divinity). 

Thereby on this occasion, the cake is divide into as many portions as guests, plus one bit. This additional portion, called “part of the Good Lord” or “part of the Virgin,” was given to the first poor person to pass.

On the first Sunday in January, tradition has it that it is the occasion to “shoot the kings” at the epiphany: a bean is hidden in the cake, and the person who obtains this bean becomes the King of the day and has the right to wear a fancy crown. It is the youngest of the guests, hidden under the table, who decides on the distribution of the shares. Tradition has it that whoever finds the bean designates a king or queen and kisses it.


After finding the bean, the lucky chosen one must, in turn, buy a new King’s Cake. And The person who discovers the bean has the right to wear a fancy crown can also choose his king or queen.

There is a predilection who said finding the bean means that we will make a useful discovery, a happy meeting, or find the crux of a matter or a question. Interesting hun?

 THE BEAN call “La fève

During the meal within each large family, the Romans used bean cake draw lots “King day.”

Therefore, he has the power to grant all his wishes during the day before returning to his humble life. This made it possible to tighten up domestic affections.

In France, The Élysée (President’s house) welcomes a Cake without “fève” every year because pulling the Kings does not fit the Republic’s idea. Today there is a plethora of fancy beans that are popular with collectors. 


To designate who will take which part, the youngest sits under the table and names the region’s beneficiary, established by the person in charge of the service.


The French eat the cake:

70% a cake with puff pastry and frangipane in the ¾ of northern France. 

11% a pastry cake + or – flavored with orange blossom water.

Mainly in the extreme in Franche Comté.

9% consume more than five.

68% cheat to give the bean to the youngest.


I’ll tell you a secret, I’m terrible at baking, but this galette is impossible to fail because it’s so easy and simple to make. I’m sure you can make it too! 

All you need is 2 puff pastry (not pie crust, I made this huge mistake), 2 eggs, 5 tbsp butter, 1 cup powder almond and 1 cup granulated sugar, and of course “La fève” if you want to be queen or king for a day; it also be filled with various preparations, but this is the most common. 

Either: Frangipane, cream, chocolate, apple sauce.

I cook it for the first time for my host family in California, and they loved it. I even started to sell some because I love to make discover other people my culture. 

Tip 1: Use a Good Puff Pastry

Preferably use homemade puff pastry rather than the industrial one. The puff pastry will be of much better quality and raise more during cooking because it has more leaves. So imagine: with a 6-turn dough, we get 970 layers !! Awesome, right?

Usually, I buy mine at Aldi, they are very cheap and good and because we have Aldi in France and it reminds me of my country and makes me more confident to cook. 

Tip 2: Use the Blade of the Knife to Decorate the Cake

I advise you not to hesitate to make a good incision in the dough to see the decorations better and develop nicely. Be careful not to pierce the dough to avoid leaks;)


1- Place a puff pastry in a pie dish, prick the pastry with a fork.

2- In a salad bowl, mix the ground almonds, sugar, 2 eggs, and soft butter.

3- Place the resulting dough in the pie dish and hide the bean (la fève) there.

4- Cover with the 2nd puff pastry, sticking the edges well.

5- Make drawings on the lid and brush with the egg yolk.

6- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 390 ° F; check the cooking regularly!


Depending on the means, we serve the galette with apple juice, cider, sparkling wine, white wine, or even champagne.

A sweet cider: a classic and good tone, especially if the galette is apple.

A crémant from different French regions (Alsace, Burgundy, Jura, Loire …): made using the same method, they are very similar to champagnes. Like most bubbly wines, they often offer aromas of pastry and dried fruit that echo the flavors of the galette. As for champagne, it is better to uncork a “demi-sec.”

An effervescent from the Loire, Vouvray, Montlouis-Sur-Loire, possibly in their sparkling, more fruity version. We will also think of effervescent brine.

An “ancestral method”: Clairette-de-die Tradition, blanquette-de-Limoux ancestral method or Gaillac Gaillacoise method, these wines which pass for the oldest sparkling wines. They do not stay long in the cellar and retain the grape sugars. Hence their suave, even sweet, very fruity side, and low alcoholic content: perfect for pancakes! Clairette-de-die, made from Muscat, retains this grape variety’s exuberant fruitfulness; Gaillac and blanquette-de-Limoux, made from Mauzac, tend more towards apple and white fruits.

A prosecco: an appellation Italian wine, very fashionable today. Prefer it extra-dry or dry (soft). Frizzante, it will be sparkling; spumante, lightly effervescent.

A cava: the Iberian, Catalan version of sparkling wines, made like crémants, closes this list of quality sparkling wines.

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