6. January 2009 09:50
King’s Cake (called Dreikönigskuchen throughout the Swiss German-speaking Cantons) is the first food tradition of the year. As it turns out, this recipe is simple to make and has many possible variations…allowing you to enjoy a fresh version for more than just one day!
Virtually everyone in Switzerland is in some way touched by the special bread overflowing from every bakery on January 6th.
Enjoying a King’s Cake is an old tradition with distinct Christian roots falling on the Festival of Epiphany. The cake itself is an odd-shaped bread consisting of 7-11 small rolls, which are often garnished with almond slivers, coarse sugar and sometimes raisins. One of the rolls contains a surprise buried inside, which allows whoever finds the hidden icon (mostly a plastic figurine) to be named king or queen for the day…and of course, also explains why these breads are sold with paper crowns.
The tradition in Switzerland can be traced back to the early 1300s, but its popularity waned considerably over the years and nearly disappeared altogether.
That is until large Swiss bakeries revived the tradition during the early 1950s and quickly flooded the market with mass-produced King’s Cakes…conveniently with a paper crown included! The bakers' marketing efforts were rewarded and the King’s Cake has now become the number one selling specialty item for bakers in Switzerland with over one million being produced – an astonishing number for such a small country…but also leaving everyone with pretty decent odds of being crowned king or queen for the day. More...