Skip to main content

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!


Post a Comment

You have something to add or would like to ask a question? I would love to hear from you!

Popular posts from this blog

A Typical Swiss Birthday Party

Birthday Cake - Helene Souza  / My son and I recently attended a birthday party here in Cocachimba , Peru. It was the birthday of one of the kids in the village and since it's such a small place, almost everyone is invited. To be honest, I don't like going to children's birthday parties - or grown up's birthday parties - because there is usually too much noise and fuss and chaos. My husband usually takes it on himself to accompany our son to these birthdays but this time he was away so I had to step in. If you've never been to a Peruvian birthday party, let me tell you one thing: it's loud and crowded! There is dancing and food and once in a while people are trying to say something above the deafening noise of the music. I guess, if you grew up with this it's probably normal and enjoyable but for me it was way too much noise. I could see all the children's ear go deaf in my minds eyes. Argh. Probably one of those cultural differences you

How to Spot a Swiss Person

As an expat one usually spots fellow expats right away. It's not only the language or the looks of people but rather the little peculiarities of life that seem so normal at home that give us away while abroad. Obviously, it's a cliche that all people from the same place (country, city, continent) behave in the same way and I am far from making that claim. However, growing up in a certain surrounding does rub off on people's behavior and some similarities can certainly be observed. This is also true for Swiss people. According to the Swiss stereotype, we are a clean, punctual and strictly organized people.  However, there are many exceptions like my Swiss friend who is always late or my brother whose room was a total mess while growing up. Yet, although they do not fit the description of a typical Swiss person, they still have some traits that give them away as Swiss. The same is probably true for myself - if I like it or not. 10 Signs you are dealing with a Swiss Person

Schätzli, Schnüggel and Müüsli - Terms of Endearment in Swiss German

Kiss -  Oliver Haja  / If you've ever been invited to the home of a Swiss couple, you are probably familiar with the most popular Swiss German term of endearment "Schätzli" ('little treasure') or one of it's many varieties like e.g. "Schatz" or "Schätzeli" . Obviously, this is not the only pet name used by Swiss couples (or parents for that matter). Like many other languages, Swiss German offers a wide variety of words and phrases that you can use to address your loved one. Swiss German Terms of Endearment What most of these pet names have in common is the ending "-li" which basically turns the thing or person a word refers to into something small or cute. For example "Haus" means house and "Hüüs li " means small house. Plus, this ending "-li" can also be added to first names as a means of endearment, e.g. Benjamin li , Esther li or Fabienne li . I tried to come up with a colle