Celebrating Three Kings Day with a Pull-Apart King Cake Recipe

 

Already this year is whizzing by, and I've found myself woefully unprepared for one of my favorite winter celebrations -- Three Kings Day; also know as Epiphany or Twelfth Night.  

Each year, we enjoy a King Cake with a few close friends, and as per tradition, the person to find the baby in their piece of cake is crowned "king" or "queen" and will have good luck all year long.  With January 6 abruptly waking me this morning, shaking my shoulder and announcing, "I'm here!  Are you ready?", it's a good thing that my family-friendly version of the King Cake requires very little preparation or time.  

I published a post last year about my family's Three Kings Day traditions and have revived it here, for those who may have missed it. I've also added a quick new project tutorial, for those who are back for a second time around.


BACKGROUND:  For those unfamiliar with Three Kings Day, this Christian holiday celebrates the day that the three wise men brought gifts to the baby Jesus. The legendary visit later gave rise to the custom of gift giving at Christmas on the Feast of the Epiphany.  In these modern times, Epiphany is observed on the sixth of January.  


TRADITIONS:  In Germany, where my father's family originated, children go from house to house on Epiphany eve, singing carols and chalking the year and initials KMB (those of the kings, Kaspar, Melchior and Balthasar), near the entrance of each home. The festive Dreikonigskuchen or Three Kings Cake is also served that night to celebrate the occasion.



Today, I whipped up a super quick chalkboard to hang from our front door.  I got my inspiration from my friend Holly of 504 Main whose chalkboards made from silver trays never cease to catch my fancy when I visit her home.


Here's how I did it:


Supplies
1 silver tray (mine is just one of the cheap ones from the Dollar Tree)
Fine Sand paper
masking tape (painters' masking tape is preferable)
Krylon Chalkboard Paint (spray)
Hot Glue Gun
Ribbon
Chalk


Step 1:  Lightly sand the area of the tray that you will be spraying with chalkboard paint.




Step 2:  Mask off the edges of the tray.
Step 3:  Apply 1 coat of chalkboard paint.  Dry.
Step 4:  Apply a second coat of chalkboard paint.  Dry.




Step 5:  Remove tape.
Step 6:  Use a hot glue gun to attach some decorative ribbon or cord to the back of the tray for hanging.
Step 7:  Write something in chalk!





THE CAKE:  The tradition of the King Cake is popular in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, Greece, and Bulgaria, to name a few. In the United States, the King Cake is part of the Mardi Gras season's traditions. Each country has it’s own recipe for the King Cake, varying from the French Galette de Rois with Puff Pastry and Almond filling (my absolute favorite dessert EVER), to the Louisana version which more closely resembles a ring of frosted brioche. Despite regional differences, what these special cakes have in common is that they all have a small trinket (often a small plastic baby, sometimes said to represent Baby Jesus) inside, and the person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket has various privileges and obligations. The traditional trinket in the cake is a bean, still seen in some European and Mexican traditions but rare in U.S. King Cakes.

I’ve taken some major liberties with the Louisiana style King Cake, to make it more family friendly and fun to prepare as a group. Borrowing from the Mardi Gras tradition, we top our King Cake with sprinkles in green, purple, and gold: Green representing “Faith”, Purple representing “Justice”, and Gold representing “Power”. It is also said that these three colors represent the gifts of the Magi: Gold, Incense and Myrrh.  The cake is baked in a bundt pan, giving it its characteristic ring shape, representing a crown.

This tradition is a wonderful way to round-out the Christmas season, continue the joy, honor our culture, history, and for those of the Christian faith, to further celebrate the birth of Christ.


Pull-Apart King Cake
(adapted from my grandmother's recipe for monkey bread)
for a printable/downloadable copy, visit HERE


3 tubes refrigerator biscuits (small, buttermilk)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup melted butter (2 sticks), plus extra for buttering the pan
1 trinket  (we use a plastic baby, which I promise you does not melt)
purple, gold, and green sprinkles
icing (recipe below)


Preheat oven to 375.


Butter the inside of a bundt pan.


Open biscuit tubes.  Cut each biscuit in half and gently squeeze into a rough ball shape.  Children can do this with safety scissors.


In a medium bowl, combine sugars and cinnamon.
In a separate bowl, melt butter.


A handful at a time, dip biscuit balls in melted butter. 
Transfer to sugar bowl and toss to coat.


Place sugared biscuits in buttered bundt pan.


Be sure to embed your trinket into one of the biscuit pieces before dipping and rolling in sugar.  If serving a small group, and wanting to ensure that one guest gets the trinket, insert a toothpick in the area where it is hidden.  This way, you can be sure to serve from this portion of the cake first.


Continue until all biscuits have been buttered and sugared and placed evenly around the bundt pan.  Gently press down to help biscuits adhere to one another.  Pour remaining butter over the top of the biscuits.


Bake until biscuits rise and are golden brown (approx. 30 minutes).


Remove from oven and immediately invert cake on to a serving plate.


Drizzle with icing.
Icing:
  1. Melt 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of butter in a saucepan or microwave.
  2. Sift 2 cups of powdered sugar into a medium size bowl.
  3. Add the melted butter to the powdered sugar.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of milk.
  5. Beat until smooth and creamy, adding a little more milk if necessary.
Sprinkle one third of cake with purple sprinkles, another third with gold, and the last with green.

 Serve.

The guest that finds the trinket becomes
"King" or "Queen" for the day. 


DO YOU CELEBRATE ON JANUARY 6?
PLEASE SHARE YOUR FAMILY TRADITIONS.

WHAT TRADITIONS FROM YOUR FAMILY HERITAGE
HAVE YOU CONTINUED WITH YOUR CHILDREN?


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This post has been linked-up with:


504 Main

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