Classic bake from Germany for the day of the Three Wise Kings – it’s called “Dreikönigskuchen” (Three King’s Cake) and has a little surprise hidden.
For the dough:
3–4 tbsp. raisins
1–2 tsp. rum (optional)
0.74 oz. (21g) fresh yeast
1 1/4 cup (300ml) lukewarm milk
3 tbsp. sugar
4 cups (500g) all-purpose flour
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup (60g) butter, at room temperature
1 almond or hazelnut
For the decoration:
1 medium egg
pearl sugar crystals and/or sliced almonds
1. Mix the raisins with the rum and let soak for at least 30 minutes or overnight (optional). If kids should eat the cake, you can skip the step with the rum and use the raisins plain.
2. Crumble the yeast and add to a small bowl, mix with some lukewarm milk and a little of the sugar until the yeast has dissolved. Add the flour to a large bowl, make a well in the center, and pour in the yeast milk. Let stand for about 5 minutes, then add the remaining milk, sugar, lemon zest, salt, and butter and knead everything for about 10 minutes until you get a nice and smooth dough. Right before the end of the kneading time, add the (soaked) raisins and knead in. Cover the dough in the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place for about 2 hours until doubled in size.
3. Knock the air out of the dough, weight out 8 portions of dough with approx. 3.2 oz. (90g) each and shape each dough portion into a ball. Shape the remaining dough into a ball as well and “hide” the almond or hazelnut in one of the balls. Make sure that the raisins in the dough are not sticking out of the surface of the balls, otherwise, they will burn during baking. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment, place the large ball in the center and arrange the smaller balls around it. Cover everything with a kitchen towel and let it rise for another 30 minutes.
4. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Whisk the egg and then brush the risen dough balls with it, sprinkle with some pearl sugar crystals and sliced almonds, then bake in the lower third of the oven for about 28-30 minutes. If the king cake gets a little dark towards the end of the baking time, simply cover with some aluminum foil and continue baking. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
Keywords: King's Cake, Dreikönigskuchen, raisins, Three Wise Kings