Delicious Spanish cakes – the Roscón de Reyes (the “Wise Men Cake”)

Enjoy a Roscón de Reyes in Madrid

It is the holiday season once again and despite COVID19 dominating 2020, we cannot let COVID19 dampen one of the world’s happiest holiday seasons.

Today, EBC decided to tap into something else other than TEFL and we are here today to share a famous Christmas and New Year holiday tradition in Spain. I am not sure if this tradition is practiced everywhere but I am quite sure that there are other countries other than Spain which also celebrate this holiday.

We are referring to the “Día de Reyes”. This coming year, 2021, it falls on January 6 in Spain. Tradition says that on the eve of the “Dia de Reyes”, January 5, 2021, the “Reyes Magos” (aka The Three Wise Men) Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar come to Spain on camels. After they arrive, the “Reyes Magos” bring their gifts and show their respect to the new-born Baby Jesus Christ. They then go and visit every house in the world to give every child a gift.

The kids in Spain love the “Reyes Magos” because they get two sets of presents, one at Christmas and then when the “Reyes Magos” come to visit at the beginning of January.

The three kings of the "Wise Men Cake" - Los tres reyes del Roscón de Reyes

On the night the “Reyes Magos” visit all the homes in Spain, every family will have left something for the Wise Men and their camels to eat and drink before they continue with their journey. Many houses will leave champagne and “turrones” (Spanish Christmas sweets) for the Reyes Magos. They may also leave fresh water and lettuce for their camels.

There is also a special cake to celebrate the “Día de Reyes” called the “Roscón de Reyes” which roughly translates to the “Wise Men Cake”. Some families buy the cake and others make it by hand.

Making a "Wise Men Cake" aka el Roscón de Reyes

On the eve of the “Reyes Magos” on the 5th of January virtually all Spanish families will be eating their “Roscón de Reyes”. They share and eat the “Roscón” with family, relatives and friends while they exchange stories and laughter. This event is a sacred family tradition in Spain.

The “Roscón de Reyes” looks like a huge stuffed donut. It is a ring-shaped brioche whose pastry smells wonderfully of orange blossom water, it is stuffed with heavy whipped cream and is covered with almonds, sugar and candied fruits. The word “roscón” is Spanish for a round cake in the shape of a ring.

The finished product is a sight to be seen and the definitely be tasted. There is one word of caution – mind your teeth! The Roscón de Reyes may have a small gift hidden in the voluminous layer of whipped cream  that fills it. If you find it, it’s meant to bring good luck.

A finished and delicious looking Roscón de Reyes

The “Roscón de Reyes” is a traditional Spanish family favourite. The combination of orange flavoured brioche, almonds, candied fruits and lashings of whipped cream is just too much to resist. A lot of people have the “Roscón” as a filling and delicious snack between lunch and dinner.

In Spain, the eating hours are late, lunch is usually from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and dinner usually starts around  9 p.m. The snack or “merienda” (as the Spanish call it) is usually around 5 or 6 p.m. The “Roscón de Reyes” is usually washed down with hot chocolate or milk.

The “Roscón de Reyes” is a delight and we are looking forward to having ours in the new year.

Happy Holidays to everyone or as they say it in Spain, “Felices Fiestas a todo el mundo”.

Yummy close up of a Roscón de Reyes