Galette des Rois (King’s Cake)

January 13, 2014

The nerd in me is really fascinated with cultural food traditions. I’ll admit I had never heard of galette des rois, “King’s cake” in French, until very recently, but just love the ritual around eating this cake. The cake is associated with the festival of Epiphany and takes its name from the biblical three kings. In France, it is celebrated in the month of January and ornately decorated galettes filled with almond cream are sold everywhere. A trinket or bean is baked inside the cake and whoever gets the feve gets to be king or queen for the day and wears a golden paper crown. I used David Lebowitz’s recipe, slightly adapted, and it was perfectly flakey, buttery and delicious. While I saw some galettes were filled with frangipane, I opted for creme d’amande, which is just simply almond flour, sugar, eggs and butter. Spring for the best puff pastry you can find– it really makes a difference. I used Dufour puff pastry and was able to find almond flour at my local Trader Joe’s.

We baked a little ceramic owl into the cake and even though he’s too young to eat this galette des rois, my little nephew was still crowned king for the day! Stay tuned to learn how to make your own gold paper crown!

Galette des rois

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of almond flour
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of corn starch
  • pinch of salt
  • zest of 1/2 orange
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons of rum
  • 1/8 teaspoon of almond extract

Egg wash and Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of hot water

Galette des rois ingredients

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a bowl with a hand mixer, combine almond flour, sugar, salt, corn starch and orange zest. Add butter and cream until completely incorporated. Add rum and almond extract and one egg and beat until incorporated. Add the second egg and beat until incorporated. Cover and refrigerate.

Creme d'amande

Defrost puff pastry according to package instructions. Roll out one sheet of puff pastry and using a plate or cake pan, trace a circle about 9 inches in diameter. Make two 9 inch circles. Place one circle on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Puff pastry

Add almond filling and don’t forget to place a trinket or bean somewhere in the filling! Make sure there is about 1 inch of the pastry border exposed. Using your finger, wet the edge liberally with water and place the second puff pastry circle on top of the almond filling and press and seal the edges very well. Flute the edges using the back of a paring knife. Place in the refrigerator again until you are ready to bake the galette. It is important your puff pastry is cold when entering the oven.


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with the rack positioned in the middle. Beat the egg yolk in a small bowl and brush the top of the galette with egg yolk, being careful not to get any on the sides as this will inhibit the galette from puffing up. Decorate the top with a paring knife making any design you like. Poke 5 holes in the top to allow steam to escape while baking. I made the holes in the decorative lines so they were hidden.

Galette des rois pattern

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown all over. Combine the powdered sugar and tablespoon of hot water in a bowl and remove the galette and brush the glaze over the top. Return to the oven for another 1-2 minutes to create that shiny surface.

Galette des rois

Allow the galette des rois to cool to room temperature or serve warm.

Galette des rois 1

Serve slices.

Slice of galette des rois

And whoever gets the trinket . . .

feve in galette des rois

. . . gets the gold crown!

galette crown

Honestly, adorable!

King cake

(images by HonestlyYUM)


Still love this recipe. I have failed to realize that I supposed to roll out the puff pastry even though it comes in a flat sheet. This time I rolled it out and went with a 12” diameter, as again, I didn’t follow instructions very well. Hoping it will still be okay. The filling definitely wasn’t as thick as in galette’s past (when I didn’t even roll it), but this extra space allowed me a great space to seal and not one bit leaked! We are using it tomorrow for our Dessert Auction at church. We will have 12 pieces available for purchase. The piece with the “Bean of Blessing” (my pinto bean) will get to choose from a dessert of their choice from the auction. We thought it would be a fun way to introduce this great recipe and add a little fun to the auction!

I have been using Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry, as that is what my local store carries. I’ve noticed it puffs up when baked, but falls when cooled. I’m thinking that might be normal. Can you confirm? Also, yours looks amazing compared to mine. Do you put it in any type of pan to add uniformity to the shape? Thanks again!

Thank you! I use DuFour but yes there is some puffing and then sinking with any puff pastry so totally normal! Glad you love it!

Looks beautiful! I like the orange zest addition, the step by step pictures, and that the filling looks nuttier than just creamy. The ingredients don’t list the two eggs, but you do say to beat them in later.
Thank you for sharing!

I thought the recipe called for cream also, but then decided that she meant to “cream” the butter into the mixture. My family really liked this. I used a cashew as our trinket. One thing I would like to see in here is a better explanation on how to properly seal puff pastry. Apparently, I didn’t do it well enough and lost a lot of filling.

Glad your family enjoyed this!! To get a good seal, you need to make the puff pastry moist with water and press gently. Fluting with the knife helps.

I see cream mentioned in the recipe instructions but do not see it mentioned in the list of ingredients. What amt and type of cream should be used?

Just stumbled across this recipe….don’t know if you are interested.

Looks amazing, I would love to try it. The recipe doesn’t say how much cream.

Drop dead gorgeous. I love simple flavored desserts like this. I’m definitely going to make this.

Wow I love everything about this recipe! The pastry and almond combination is just a dream. It’s going on the ‘to cook’ list!

i love this tradition – i’m getting my first one this weekend!! i’m really impressed you made this from scratch – it looks incredible! nice work and adorable photos!! i love the “bean” and your little model :D.

Does the filling taste like cake? Seems like with all that crust it would be a pie?

Ya it’s more like a pie, the filling is simply butter and almond flour so the filling is not really a cake.

In Balears we have this tradition too, but there’s two figures: a king and a bean, so the one who gets the bean it is suposed to bring the cake the next year, and the one who gets the little king is crowned!

Oh I love that the person who gets the bean has to bring the cake the next year– never heard of that tradition!

Beautifully done! I’ve always wanted to make a Galette Des Rois, but haven’t gotten around to it. This is inspiring me to give it a shot!

Glad this inspired you– it’s actually pretty easy with pre-made puff pastry, so hope you give it a shot!

Oh the design looks beautiful! I remember back in grade school one of my teachers was from New Orleans and she would make King’s Cake every year with a ceramic baby in it! Who ever got the baby got a homework pass… but no crown!

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