January 6th ~ la fête du roi in France

Eat cake like a king!

If you are in France (or Louisiana, hello N’awlins!), it’s again time to celebrate  … oui …  bien sûr … more food! Don’t you love it? This time it’s all about a rich, almond cream (frangipane) enveloped by layers of light, flaky pastry (feuilleté).

Another joyful opportunity to bring friends and family around the table to share La Galette des Rois/The Kings’ Caketakes place on the first Sunday of January or January 6th and recognizes Epiphany, the arrival of the three wise men (Magis). The history of this special pastry can be  traced to Roman times.

If you read my Love in Provence series, Kat first finds out about the tradition in Book #2, Promises to Keep.

During the French Revolution, the name was replaced with ‘Gâteau de l’Égalité’ (equality cake), as the word ‘king’ was a little out of fashion!

It’s so popular, many patisseries make the scrumptious cake through the entire month of January.

The cake is cut in the specific number of slices for the people present, with one extra symbolic slice for the first poor person passing by. The youngest child  (or the most innocent adult, if no children are present, which can result in great hilarity) goes under the table and calls out who will receive each slice to ensure fair distribution. The greatest excitement comes when one person discovers la fève (a lucky charm) hidden in a single slice. Just don’t accidentally bit down on it … they’re usually a small porcelain or plastic trinket!

Bon appétit!


Click here to read an excellent account of the history and traditions of this special fête by my friend, Margo Lestz.

NEWS FLASH! The ebook of Drawing Lessons is on sale for January ~ $.99 ~ I love it when Amazon offers our books to more readers by putting on promotions. If you haven’t read this engaging story, set around Arles and the Camargue, now’s your chance! If you are one of thousands who have read and enjoyed it, pick up a copy or two for friends. It’s so easy to gift from Amazon. Happy reading! Bonne lecture! Eat it with cake. 🙂

About Patricia Sands

Family, writing and travel are my passions ... okay, and chocolate ... and I'm seldom without a camera. I write women's fiction and keep in touch with readers by a monthly newsletter that also has giveaways and contests. Come and join us by signing up on the right. See you there!


  1. On January 6th in Spain, we celebrate Dia de los Reyes, or Three Kings Day with a roscon de reyes, or kings’ cake. The ring-shaped pastry is decorated to look like a crown that a king would wear. So it is very similar. I love these traditions.

  2. Love me some King cake!!! Mardi Gras has the best dessert.

    Thanks for sharing the history or this tradition.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Patricia Sands says

      I can only imagine the desserts at Mardi Gras. Is the King Cake like the French one?

      • I’ve never had the French one, but I believe they’re pretty close. The description sounds the same. The King cakes here come with a plastic “baby” somewhere inside so you have to be careful when you eat it.

        Sometimes the filling is cream, sometimes it’s fruit, sometimes it nuts and jam (like pecan pie) but it’s always good.

        Some day I hope to try the French one.

        Patricia Rickrode
        w/a Jansen Schmidt

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