Galette des Rois: French King Cake for Epiphany

Galette des Rois: French King Cake for Epiphany
There's King Cake, and then there's King Cake, apparently. Growing up in Texas, the only King Cake I knew was the oval-shaped, cream cheese frosting or icing-covered cake from New Orleans that was offered right before Mardi Gras.

Last year, I discovered Galette des Rois, a King Cake from France that is served on Epiphany, celebrating the Three Kings visiting the baby Jesus. Galette des Rois is a puff pasty-type cake filled with almond cream or frangipane.

Jessie Moore has a great post on the difference between the two.

Galette des Rois: French King Cake for Epiphany
Isn't it pretty? The Galette des Rois has a crispy, flaky shell, and the inside is filled with an orange-almond filling. The orange just gives it a bit of freshness.

Tradition has it that you can bake a tiny plastic baby Jesus or a dried bean inside. Whoever has that piece gets to be king or queen for the day. Since I like to take big bites and am afraid of choking, I skipped that part. Plus, I'm the only girl in our family, so I'm always queen for the day, right???

Galette des Rois: French King Cake for Epiphany
The process of making this made me so, so happy! ♥

You'll make a rough puff pastry. Here's the recipe that I use. I actually made it for this last year, attempting my first galette des rois. You'll only use half of the recipe. Check out this post for lots of ideas on what to do with the remainder.

I went the simple route for the almond filling and started with almond paste rather than almond flour. You'll mix that with just a bit of powdered sugar, an egg, almond extract, and orange zest. (Ignore the rum extract - I decided I liked it better without it.)

Roll out half of the rough puff pastry. Cut into a circle. Spread the almond filling on top, leaving an edge.

Wet the edge and place another round of rough puff on top.

how to make Galette des Rois: French King Cake for Epiphany
Seal, then crimp the edges using the end of a table knife dipped in flour.

how to make Galette des Rois: French King Cake for Epiphany
The cake will rest in the fridge for a bit. Before baking, brush with egg wash, then score with a paring knife to make a decorative pattern.


Galette des Rois: French King Cake for Epiphany
Ahhhh...French King Cake! Ooh-la-la!

Galette des Rois: King Cake for Epiphany
{serves 8}

1/2 recipe rough puff pastry (save the other half for another use)
7 ounces almond paste
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons orange zest
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
egg yolk + 2 teaspoons water

Beat the almond paste, powdered sugar, and orange zest together until combined. Beat in the almond extract and egg until incorporated. Set aside.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment. Divide rough puff into two equal parts. (Remember, you're using only 1/2 of this recipe.) Roll one half of the dough a little larger than a 9" circle. Use a cake pan as a guide to trim with a paring knife. Place on the prepared pan.

Spread almond filling on top, spreading evenly, leaving a 3/4" or so border. Brush edge with water.

Roll the other half of the rough puff into another 9" circle. Press the edge with your fingers to seal. Dip the end of a table knife into flour and press into the sides of the sealed cake to crimp. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425. Whisk egg yolk and water together. Remove the galette from the refrigerator and brush the top with the egg wash, taking care to avoid the edges and sides. Use the tip of a paring knife to score a decorative pattern on top. Make 6 small vents within the design.

Place in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 400. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown. If browning too quickly, tent with foil.

Remove from oven and cool completely before serving.

*method (not recipe) adapted from Dorie Greenspan

King Cake...have you made either version? 



  1. I knew all about Mardi Gras King Cake but not this . . . it's a thing of beauty!

  2. We have a local french bakery, St. Honore, and they made Gallette des Rois this year - I love almond croissants but a slice of this blew a croissant out of the water. I think they had a thin layer of custard in there too? So yummy. = ) ~ Jamie

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