The Kings Ring Cake (Rosca de Reyes)
The Rosca de Reyes is a mexican cake served traditionally once a year for the Epiphany, the Día de Reyes, which is commemorated on January 6th. This cake has the usual texture of the mexican sweet bread, halfway between bread and cake and is decorated with candied fruits; it is served with a nice mexican hot chocolate drink, made with authentic mexican chocolate.
The special feature of this cake is that in the cake itself you will find two types of figurines: one standing and a small infant Jesus; the guest who receives a slice where he finds the infant is blessed and typically will pay for the cake (or at least contribute partially) and should host the party for the Día de la Candelaria, on feburary 2nd.
Recipe for the Kings Ring Cake
* 5 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour
* 1 and 1/4 cups softened butter
* 7 egg yolks
* 3 beaten eggs
* 2 tablespoons zest of orange
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 tablespoons fresh yeast (25 g)
* 1 more egg to glaze
* Icing sugar (optional)
* Candied fruits (crystallized fruits)
* 1 Small infant and 1 small king plastic figurines (optional)
1) To make the dough we start by proofing the yeast: dilute the yeast with 2 tablespoons white flour and a pinch of sugar in 1/2 cup lukewarm water (yeast is happiest at 80°F), pour in a bowl and keep in a warm place for 10-15 minutes. The yeast should have made some foam or bubbles; if it didn't you need another pack of yeast...
2) Over a flat work surface place the flour, in the shape of a volcano, and at its center crater put the sugar, egg yolks, 3 eggs, butter, zest, salt (easy on the salt) and yeast mixture we did earlier; mix everything with your hands. Knead the dough for a few minutes until homogeneous and smooth and somewhat shiny (the mixture will be a little sticky but still well manageable with the hands) Leave the mixture on a slightly greased bowl in a warm place until the dough doubles in size; this can take up to a few hours.
3) Once the dough has doubled in size, place the figurines in if you chose to do this and some candied fruits, then knead the dough a bit more to finally shape it to the traditional ring shape and place on a greased baking sheet (make sure it is wide enough as our cake will increase in size), let stand in a warm place (until doubled in size again), finally glaze with the beaten egg and decorate with more candied fruit over the dough.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 40 minutes at 350 ºF [180 ºC]. Serve with some mexican hot chocolate...