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Friday, January 6, 2012

What is a "Rosca de Reyes"?



Our great friend and volunteer, Angeles Pineda, posted an informative link about the "Rosca de Reyes" on her Facebook page this afternoon, and got us wondering about the history of this bejeweled cake.

A Rosca de Reyes can also be known as a Roscón de Reyes, and its name translates literally into English as "King's Rope"--but is better known as "King's Cake". This is a traditional pastry in the Spanish speaking world, prepared to celebrate the Epiphany Holiday (which, consequently, is today, January 6!).

The Rosca de Reyes is prepared more like a bread than a cake, with flour dough that is kneaded into the shape of a ring or a crown. The dough is then topped with a simple butter-and-sugar frosting and an assortment of dried fruit, which are made to look like jewels and adornments. Some families hide a trinket in the cake, which represents the Christ Child; and whomever finds the trinket receives a blessing.

In Spanish the Epiphany holiday is called the celebration of the "Día de Reyes" (Day of the Kings) or "Los Reyes Magos" (the Magic Kings), and honors the journey of the Three Wise Men to visit Jesus after his birth, and the gifts they bestowed upon him.

The Día de Reyes is recognized with festivities that feature pastries like the Rosca de Reyes, and the giving of gifts to children. In some Hispanic traditions, children are given gifts on this holiday, rather than over the Christmas holiday in December.

This holiday is also closely linked to the February 2nd "Día de la Candelaria" celebration, during which time the person who found the Rosca de Reyes trinket must bring it to the nearest church and throw a party for their family and friends.

Many other European cultures also celebrate the Epiphany with a rosca-type cake. Will any of your families be celebrating this way? We'd love to hear about your family's traditions!

And, if it's not already part of your family's customs, try looking up a recipe online and experimenting with this festive holiday treat!

(photo from: http://www.experience-san-miguel-de-allende.com/rosca-de-reyes-recipe.html)

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