Roscón de Navidad – Traditional Spanish Christmas Cake
This cake is traditionally made around Spain and Latin America for the ‘Día de Reyes’ or Kings’ Day, celebrated on the 6th of January. In Spain children also receive their presents on this day – a funny side note from my boyfriend: and the next day the school starts. Bummer! Not much time to enjoy the toys and other trinkets!
Traditionally this cake is consumed for breakfast on the 6th of January. Generally it has a round shape (as also the name ‘Roscón’ indicates), can be filled with cream or plain, and decorated with candied fruits. In Spain also a figurine and a bean is hidden in the cake – whoever finds the figurine, will be the king or queen of the day, but the person who finds the bean will have to pay for the cake.
I’m trying to follow both Spanish and Hungarian traditions and celebrations, so I made a Roscón for my boyfriend for this year’s Día de Reyes (even though this day is not celebrated in my country). I skipped filling the cake or hiding a figurine inside (precious teeth are grateful for this), and also had to make some changes to the recipe I used due to the availability of ingredients.
Roscón de Reyes
Ingredients (for 2 cakes!, I halved them for our 1 cake):
650 g flour
250 ml tepid milk
25-30 g fresh yeast
120 g sugar
120 g melted butter or margarine
2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk
10 g salt
2 and 1/2 agua de azahar (“orange blossom water”) – I skipped it.
zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange.
candied fruits, sugar, jam, fruits…
1. Mix the 250ml milk with 2-3 spoonfuls of flour and the yeast. Cover and let rest for about 15-20 minutes.
2. Mix the milky yeast with the rest of the flour and add the sugar, lemon and orange zest, salt, 2 eggs, orange blossom water and finally the butter.
3. On a floured surface, work your dough for a couple of minutes, adding more flour if needed. Form a ball, put it in a bowl and let rise for a couple of hours covered, in a warm place.
4. When the dough has doubled in size, on a floured surface work it a little bit with your hands and make a ring shape with a big hole in the middle, it will shrink during baking. (I used a bundt cake shape to bake the cake). Let the dough rest for about an hour more in a warm place (you can also heat your oven to 50°C/120°F, turn it off and place the dough inside to rest for an hour).
5. Brush the cake with egg and decorate to your liking. If you want to hide a figurine and the bean inside, this is the time (make sure the figurine can be baked, though!).
6. Bake the cake at 180°C/360°C until golden brown. Once done, you can cut it in half and fill it with pastry cream/whipped cream.
I decorated our cake after it was baked – removed from the bundt cake pan, brushed with apricot jam, sprinkled with sugar and placed a few star-shaped kiwi slices (cookie cutters) and dried cranberries on top.