ultimate king cake

The Ultimate King Cake

Yields8 ServingsPrep Time55 minsCook Time50 minsTotal Time1 hr 45 minsDifficultyBeginnerRating


Puff Pastry
 650 g puff pastry quick puff pastry,classic or inverted
Almond Cream Filling
 200 g almond paste/marzipan*cut into chunks
 30 g dark rumoptional
 30 g powdered sugar
 10 g flour or corn starch
 55 g eggs
 5 g vanilla
 100 g butter, room temp
 0.20 g almond extract optional
Egg Wash
 20 g egg yolk
 10 g heavy creamoptional



A king cake, also known as a three kings cake, is a cake associated in many countries with Epiphany. Its form and ingredients are variable. In northern France, la galette des rois/king cake is mainly made up of puff pastry and almond cream filling or frangipane (a mixture of almond cream mixed with 30% pastry cream). In southern France though the king cake is rather called ''Fouace'' and made with sweet brioche decorated with candied fruits such as Cedrat/ Corsican lemon. In most cases a fève such as a figurine/trinket, is often said to represent the Christ Child, is hidden inside. After the cake is cut, whoever gets the fève is crowned.

Puff Pastry Sheets

Split puff pastry paton in half. Lightly flour work surface and roll out each into a ≈3 mm thick sheet. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

quick puff pastry sheets

Almond Cream Filling

*Among the best almond paste brands are Lubeca/Lübecker marzipan 50% and the Mandelin 66%.
In the food processor, smooth out the almond paste with alcohol, and add sugar and flour. Add the egg and vanilla and the butter; blend well. Add a few drops of almond extract to taste if desired. Place 9 inch/23 cm diameter tart ring onto a flat tray line with parchment or plastic wrap. Spread almond filing inside the ring, place the trinket or a whole almond if desired and freeze. When it has completely harden, remove the tart ring and keep it frozen until ready to use. Almond filling can also be pipped out straight onto pastry sheet.

almond cream disk


Place a silicone mat or parchment onto the countertop. Check the width of the pastry sheets; they should be at 11.5 inch/29 cm. Place the first pastry onto the baking mat and top with the frozen almond cream filling disk. Brush out water around the edge of the pastry and enclose it with the second puff pastry sheet. Chase air out and gently press to seal the dough, and place cake in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Cut into a 10 inch/25 cm round using a sharp knife. Make a few tinny holes all over the cake with a bamboo skewer and press edges with the back of a paring knife; freeze for 20 minutes. Flip over a baking tray lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Make a few tiny holes over the pastry and egg wash with the egg yolk (do not egg wash the seam) – Refrigerate cake for 20 min. Mix remaining yolk with the heavy cream and egg wash the surface of the cake again.

king cake montage

Scoring Galette

Score using the tip of a paring knife or a carving craft knife – go easy and do not cut through the pastry. You can score a pattern on the top in pretty much any design you choose. Though the safest way to go is to draw straight lines as I have here. Then, you finish using chevron patterns that once baked would look like wheat field stock. Feel free to use your imagination. Refrigerate cake for a couple of hours before baking. The galette can also be kept frozen for up to 2 months.

scored king cake


Preheat oven to 375ºF/190ºC. Lower temp to 350ºF/180ºC if using a fan oven. Bake for 25 minutes and place four 1.2 inch/3 cm tall metal device around the cake. Top with parchment paper, a baking tray and some weight. Continue baking for 25 minutes more. Remove baking tray and parchment and leave cake in the oven for a few more minutes if needed. For a glossy finish, brush out cake with simple syrup or maple syrup. Transfer galette onto cooking rack and let cool to room temperature. Enjoy!

king cake slice

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