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Three Kings Cake

In Switzerland, January 6th is called 'Dreikönigstag' which simply translates into Three Kings Day. According to Christian tradition, this was the day the three kings went to visit baby Jesus in Bethlehem and brought him precious gifts. From a biblical perspective it is unlikely that there were exactly three kings and that their visit took place in January.

Today, Three Kings Day isn't really about the biblical story anymore but rather about the traditional Three Kings Cake, called 'Dreikönigskuchen', that everyone in Switzerland eats on that day.

Three Kings Cake

What is  a Swiss Three Kings Cake?

Three Kings Cake is actually much like a sweet bread called 'Zopf' that Swiss people eat on Sundays. Therefore, the taste of the cake is not very special but its shape makes it interesting.

Three Kings Cake is made from six balls of dough that are stuck to a bigger central ball of dough and then baked into one piece. Before baking, a 'king' is hidden in one of the seven pieces. This 'king' is usually a whole almond or other nut.

Now, whoever gets or chooses the piece with the king inside is crowned king for a day. Usually, the king (or queen) receives a paper crown and certain privileges for the day. Children may be exempt from chores for a day or get to go on a fun trip; grown ups are 'honored' in other ways if they become the king.

It's actually quite a nice tradition in my opinion and the bread is tasty and goes well with some honey or strawberry jam. After all, who does not want to be queen or king for a day?!

Recipe for Three Kings Cake

I took this opportunity to refresh my baking skills and made a Three Kings Cake using the following recipe.

  • 1/2 cube of yeast
  • 250 ml milk
  • 50 g butter
  • 1/2 kilo flour
  • salt
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 80 g raisins
  • almonds
ready for baking


  1. Dissolve the yeast in warm milk. Add the butter and stir till butter is completely melted. 
  2. While you wait for the butter to melt pour the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl and mix well. 
  3. Add the milk-yeast-butter mixture, one whole egg and the raisins to it. Stir well and knead until the dough is nice and smooth. 
  4. Cover dough and let it raise for half an hour or until it has doubled in size.
  5. Once the dough has risen, cut it in 7 pieces and form balls. Important: don't forget to add a whole almond to one of the balls! Place one ball in the center and then stick the other six to it in a circular way. You may want to moisten the connection a bit so they'll stick better. 
  6. Break the second egg, beat it and use a brush to cover the Three Kings Cake. You can add almond splits for decoration if you like. 
  7. Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and bake for 30 minutes.

finished Three Kings Cake

Nothing beats fresh Three Kings Cake but it actually remains good for a few days. Enjoy!



  1. It's actually on January 6, not February 6.

    1. You're absolutely right of course. This is an older post so I'm surprised no one has noticed yet... thanks for letting me know I already adjusted it!


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