Christmas is always spent with my family in Portugal, eating traditional Portuguese food and desserts. By the 23rd I’m starting the first of 3 or 4 King’s Cakes. No matter how big I make it, it disappears in 24 hours.
I dedicate this recipe to my father who was my number 1 fan and who would eat my King's Cake for dessert, breakfast, tea and just one more slice before going to bed.
Although we eat it for Christmas and you can even find it in pastry shops all year round, King's Cake was traditionally offered to people on King’s Day (6th of January). Apart from it's ingredients, this cake has a very curious particularity – being an offering, in respect to the Three Wise Men, it has 2 things inside - a small gift wrapped in parchment paper (normally a little metal saint or a coin) and a dry broad bean. The person who gets the slice with the gift keeps it. The person who gets the dry broad been will have to pay for next year's cake. So you can imagine, as a child, how many slices we went through to get to the gift.
Basically, it’s a brioche dough to which you add dried nuts, dried and candied fruit and you shape it as a crown with a hole in the middle. In the past years, a new version has come up without the candied fruits because so many people don't like them. This new version is called Queen's Cake. If making the Queen's Cake, omit all the candied fruit. - Maria Teresa Jorge —Maria Teresa Jorge
Candied fruits and nuts are holiday classics that some people love to hate. This large king's cake strikes a nice compromise -- the bread is studded with just the right among of fruit and nuts so you get a little in every bite. The guests who love fruit and nuts will be satisfied but no one will be overwhelmed. Feel free to use only the fruits and nuts you like. The cake itself is an eggy, rich bread with the texture of a very good brioche. Try adding the Port with the milk. I needed some more moisture before my dough began to come together to form a beautiful silky, elastic dough. You also may want to divide the dough into two smaller king's cakes. – Stephanie —The Editors