20 Days of Chill - Once Upon a Time / Three Kings Cake

Welcome back to 20 Days of Chill.

Today's theme is 

Once Upon a Time

Why do all these recent prompts remind me of Mafia movies featuring Robert De Niro, when they might as well bring up memories of fairy tales?

Well, today let's go for a more classic version:

Once upon a time there was a little girl, and she was three years old. It was January 6, Three Kings Day aka Epiphany.

In Switzerland people eat Three Kings Cake. It tastes more like a sweet bread. Either way, it's yummy, and it's exciting, because in one of the rolls there is something to find for the lucky person: a miniature king is baked into one piece of the cake. The person who bites into it gets to wear the crown and be queen or king for the rest of the day. Typically that meant this person could ask for their favorite dinner, TV show or even determine their own bedtime!

These are the rules.

The parents explained this to their young daughter who had one look at that cake and explained 

"I'm going to be the king!"

They were like "you know, you might, but you might not - there's eight pieces, and only one person can be king!"

"When I'm king I want pizza, and five bedtimes stories, and I want to wear my pretty jammies, and, and,... " 

She was excited. There was so much she wanted to happen.

And lo and behold! 

The little girl chose her piece, began to chew, and it didn't take long, and she produced the tiny king.

"See! I'm the king, I'm the king, hooray!"

You have guessed right. That little girl was me, and this moment was so remarkable and memorable because I very rarely win. No kings, no sweepstakes, not anything. 

I guess that's the universe's way to tell me I can't rely on my luck, but I need to work for what I want?

Going through my photo library it looks like I got lucky in 2013, but my people didn't treat me right:

I'm looking at the chores and I feel like no matter who wins today, I'm going to do pretty much the same things. Plus we urgently need to take a trip to the recycling center. So much glass and cardboard to get rid off!

In 2018 I finally got my victory. The difference was, I had my girlfriend over. She knows how to treat a queen!

So it's now 2022. 

Unlike in other years, where the daily grind caught up with us in the first week of January already, my teenager is still on Christmas break, and we made our own Three Kings Cake. 

Here's the recipe, it is very similar to the one for Grittibänze, the little breadmen we bake for St. Nicholas Day, on December 6:


1 kg (8 cups) flour - cake flour is fine, if you can find anything finer ground, even better
6 tablespoons white sugar
2 - 3 teaspoons salt
150 grams (10 tablespoons or 1.25 sticks) melted butter
0.5 liters (2 cups) whole milk, warm
60 grams (19.25 teaspoons) fresh yeast or 14 grams (1.75 tablespoons) dry yeast

1 egg
hail sugar
flaked almonds 

Attributes that make the cake authentic, but can be improvised if not available:

A tiny plastic king (use a hazelnut or an almond, even a piece of dark chocolate will work) and a shiny golden crown (make your own, or you may find something comparable at a costume shop or the dollar store?)


Mix flour, sugar and salt, form a well. Dissolve yeast in a little milk, pour in with remaining milk and butter. Knead into a smooth dough. Cover and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size. It usually takes about an hour. 

Form a ball from a quarter of the dough, place it on the baking tray lined with baking paper. Cut remaining dough into 8 parts, form balls, hiding the king in one ball. Arrange dough balls with a little space around the center. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise for another 30 minutes.

Brush cake with egg yolk, sprinkle with flaked almonds and hail sugar. Bake in the lower part of the oven preheated to 180°C (350°F) for 25-30 minutes.

There you go - will you give it a try? Do you have some kind of Three Kings tradition where you live? Let me know.

Head over here to read my fellow bloggers' posts.


  1. What a great story from your childhood! I love traditions like that. Even cooler that you are continuing the tradition and that your son is taking part in it as well! The cake sounds pretty delish!


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