Magazine topic: 
Life around the world

King cake

by : 

It is no secret that the French have a great appreciation for food and one of my favourite things about living here in France is vast array of beautiful food on offer. There is a great enjoyment to be found in gathering a group of friends and sitting around a table to enjoy courses of yummy, home-cooked food and good conversation. At a recent get-together I discovered the tradition behind a specific pastry that is served at this time of year, the king cake, or in French, 'galette des rois', which is not only my new favourite treat but also one of the most fun things to eat.

But what is a king cake? This seasonal cake seemed to be popping up in all of the supermarkets and cake shops, along with the ingredients to make your own. Often round, the cake consists of a golden, flaky pastry, this puffy outer shell being filled with frangipane, a rich almond filling. It can be eaten hot or cold. This is the type of cake you will find in the north of France. In the south however they enjoy a different variation including brioche and fruit.

The king cake is eaten to celebrate the Christian feast day, Epiphany, on January 6th. However, the cake is enjoyed by many as a family tradition. There are different variations of the king cake in different countries, however this is not something I have really come across in the UK. Firstly, the youngest person in the room, often a child, sits under the table whilst the cake is being served. They decide in which order the guests are served their slices. There will be a slice left over which was traditionally given to someone less fortunate. A small token is hidden in cake which someone will find in their slice. This is often a plastic trinket (the cake I was served included a plastic cat!) The guest who finds this token in their slice is crowned king or queen. They must then wear a cardboard crown for the rest of the day and, along with whoever they choose as their king/queen, can boss the others around!

I really enjoyed being introduced to this custom. Yes, the king cake is delicious but it is also a great tradition, allowing family and friends to gather together to enjoy good food and good company.


Do you have any similar cakes for special days in your country? 


Stela.M's picture
Stela.M 16 February, 2014 - 19:42

Hi JoEditor!
i'm a 15 year old girl who lives in Albania.i have asked so many people here nd they dont know a singgle thing bout albania (except those who really are albanians just like me ).it is such a wonderful country ,with interesting traditions,exciting nightlife,breathtaing sceneries etc....i 'd like people to know more about this "diamond of balkan"...can u write an article about albania.....? i would be the best present for me and i would really appreciate that..
i'm looking forward to hearing from you
i hope u have a nice week
love stela <3 :)

0 users have voted.
JoEditor's picture
JoEditor 17 February, 2014 - 08:47

Hi Stela.M,
The bloggers who write in our Magazine section are working as Language Assistants for the British Council. This means that they are helping in the English departments at schools around the world. At the moment we don't have any Language Assistants working in Albania, so I'm sorry, but none of them have written about your country. :( In the future we hope to have a section where our users can write longer texts. When we have that I hope that you will tell us a lot more about Albania. 
Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team) 

0 users have voted.
Niluh's picture
Niluh 26 January, 2014 - 13:47

In my country, before Eid al fitr is held we always make lots of cakes or if it isn't possible to make them you could buy instead. Nastar is one of them, it made of wheat floor, eggs margarine, sugar, cheese and pineapple jam.

0 users have voted.
MALINE's picture
MALINE 25 January, 2014 - 20:08

In México in November 2nd we eat dead´s bread. Don´t worry it isn´t cannibalism, it´s just a bread made of flour,butter,orange and sugar.It receives its name because its shape,it has a few stripes on it resembling the bones and we eat it to celebrate the live of the people who has passed away.

0 users have voted.
ellen's picture
ellen 21 January, 2014 - 19:07

Wonderful photo.
Yes , in my country we cooked similar cakes for special days.
My similar cakes is combination:
4 egg
1 cup yogurt
2 cup sugar.
1 paket vanillia
raisins to taste
apple slices
bon appetit!

0 users have voted.