Couronne des rois

Kings Cake from Provence

  • Author: Delphine Fortin
  • Prep Time: 2 hours 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hours 55 mins
  • Yield: 8-10 servings 1x
  • Category: Breads and Brioches
  • Cuisine: French


Celebrate January with a colorful tradition from Provence: the Kings Cake – a delicious brioche style cake decorated with candied fruits



For the pre-dough:

  • 1/2 cup (12 cl) milk
  • 0,5 oz (15g) fresh yeast
  • 1 1/4 (150g) cup flour

For the dough:

  • 2 1/4 cups (270g) flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (240g) butter, softened at room temperature
  • Orange zests
  • 1 Tablespoon rum
  • 1 Tablespoon orange flower water

For decoration:

  • 1 bean (hidden in the cake)
  • 1 yolk
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 2,5 oz (70g) candied fruits
  • 1/2 cup (100g) pearl sugar


  1. For the pre-dough: warm the milk (at 86°F). Pour the milk into the bowl of a stand mixer and dissolve the yeast. Add the flour, mix quickly, and let set for about 1 hour, covering the bowl with a tea towel.
  2. For the dough: pour the remaining flour on top of the pre-dough, then add the salt, sugar, and beaten eggs. Knead the dough in the bowl of a stand mixer (or by hands) for about 5 minutes on low speed, and 5 minutes on medium speed.
  3. Add the diced butter, softened at room temperature, the orange zest, and the rum. Mix again for 5 minutes, until smooth and elastic. If not, add a little bit of flour.
  4. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave for 1 more hour at room temperature, until double in size.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Form a bowl with the dough and flatten it with your hands onto a lightly floured surface into a circle of about 8-10 inch (20-30 cm) in diameter.
  6. Make a hole in the center of the dough with the help of your finger, then gradually expand the center hole, slightly chalking the edges to prevent the dough from sticking. Do not forget to hide the bean inside the dough, from below the dough, closing the edges around.
  7. Transfer the dough onto a baking tray covered with parchment paper, then brush with the egg and milk mixture. Sprinkle some candied fruits and pearl sugar.
  8. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the kings cake is golden brown. Tips: you can place a glass in the center of the cake while baking, to keep a regular shaped circle.