Also called epiphany cake. The typical French galette des rois made with a mix of puff pastry and almond cream filling called frangipane is here flavored with dark chocolate, actuallly cocoa powder. Very tasty.
Although there are many different kind of cakes served as king cake depending on where you are in France, the most common one, and the one served in Paris is a puff pastry cake with a frangipane filling called galette des rois à la frangipane. Two crispy and buttery discs of puff pastry are filled in with a light frangipane, which is actually a blend of almond cream and pastry cream. This cake come from the very Parisian Pithivier which is an old cake recipe, almost the same, except it’s filled only with almond cream. The word galette usually describes flat round buckwheat crêpes (I have to prepare this recipe for you, it’s delicious). In South France, kings cake is a generous brioche, a circular yeasted cake, with candied fruits.
French king cake always have a lucky charm inside. In the old times it use to be a coin then a bean. It’s now a porcelain figurine. Whoever gets the charm is the king (roi) of the day and is lucky enough to have the right to wear the gilded paper crown gave with the galette by the baker (or made by the kids, even more fancy!). So make sure your guests are aware of this tradition so that they won’t eat the charm or even break their teeth! To know more about the tradition of eating king cake at epiphany, read this article.
Today’s recipe is a bit different form the classic frangipane galette des rois. The almond cream is flavored with cocoa. You may also add a bit of alcohol (such as rhum) or a few drops of bitter almond essence (extract) to intensify the almond flavor. As chocolate and oranges goes well together, you can also add to the frangipane some cubes of candied orange. I tried it and it works quite well!
As long as you follow the instruction, which means carefully assembling the two dough together, this recipe is quite easy.
Preparation time: 20 min
Baking time: 30 min
Quantity: 8 shares
Specific equipment: eventually piping bag and pastry brusk (but you can dou without)
Chocolate almond cream
100 gr unsalted butter at room temperature
100 gr caster sugar
100 gr almond flour
45 gr cocoa powder (sugar free)
250 ml milk
2 egg yolks
50 gr sugar
25 gr flour (may be replaced by cornflour)
2 rolls puff pastry
1 egg beaten to glaze
1 lucky charm and 1 crown
Prepare pastry cream and almond cream. Mix them together to get a frangipane cream. Assemble the two pastry puff disks with the frangipane filling carefully following the instructions.
Preheat oven to 180°C (375°F).
First prepare the pastry cream
Bring the milk to the boil. At the first broth, remove from the heat. Blanch egg yolks with sugar. Add flour and stir. Pour in the hot milk into the egg-sugar-flour mixture constantly whisking. Pour back into the saucepan and heat rapidly while whisking energetically. When the mixture thickens, continue to whisk, for about 1 minute from the time it starts to boil. When the pastry cream is ready, remove it from the heat and pour it in a bowl so that it will stop cooking. Cover with plastic wrap, with the plastic touching the surface of the cream so that the cream will stay evenly, without an harder part on the top. Let it cool down.
Then prepare the almond cream
Mix together butter and sugar (it’s called cream) using a spatula until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix. Then add the dry ingredients (almond flour and cocoa powder) and fold until all ingredients are well combined. That’s all.
Make the frangipane. Fold the pastry cream and the almond cream together to get what’s called a frangipane, here flavored with chocolate.
Then assemble the cake
- Place a first disc of puff pastry on a baking tray covered with a sheet of parchment paper.
- Using a piping bag (or not, you can spread evenly with a spatula as well) cover the puff pastry with a thick layer of frangipane making sure to leave a margin on the outside (about 2 to 3 centimeter – 1 inch).
- Don’t forget to place the lucky charm somewhere in the frangipane filling.
- Glaze the marging with water or a beaten egg using a pastry brush (if not your fingers!).
- Cover with the second disk of puff pastry, then press all around so that the two pastries are well sealed together.
- Using the back of a knife, pinch the edges of the two pastry discs, making a small incision every 1 centimeter, all around. This is to make sure the filling don’t run away while baking.
- Glaze with beaten egg and refrigerate for about 15 mn.
- The decorate making strips, rounds, flowers… the top of the cake still with the back of a knife or with a fork. Glaze once more.
- If needed, refrigerate once more. It’s important that the cake is not too warm when placed in the oven to get nice layes of puff pastry just as on the picture below.
Bake at 180°C (375°F) for 30 minutes.
This cake is usually served warm or at least at room temperature.