A delicious puff pastry confection filled with almond frangipane. This recipe for vegan king cake (galette des rois) is a keeper. Serve it warm, whilst the pastry is still beautifully crisp and flaky and you’ll wonder why you’ve never made this super easy bake before.
What Is Galette des Rois?
King cake is a traditional French bake enjoyed during the celebration of Epiphany. The French know it as galette des rois, or sometimes gâteau des rois. However, similar confections exist across Europe, especially in Portugal, Spain and Greece. It’s also known as epiphany cake, three kings cake, crown cake and twelfth night cake.
In France there are two types of King cake. One is made from leavened dough, the other is made from puff pastry. The South of France favours the yeasted variety, but in the North and Paris in particular you’ll find the pastry version gracing the windows of patisseries during January. That is the version you’ll find in this recipe.
The pastry version consists of two layers of puff pastry filled with a mouthwatering almond frangipane. Traditionally, the edge of the cake is scalloped and the top is scored with a spiral or zigzag pattern.
A fève is hidden inside the galette. Whoever gets it is considered to be the king (or queen) for the day. Originally the fève was a fava bean (broad bean), which is what fève actually means. It’s used to represent the baby Jesus. These days it tends to be a porcelain figurine hidden inside or, quite often, an almond.
Although we generally associate king cake with christianity, it was in fact the romans who started the tradition during Saturnalia. This was a public holiday to honour the god Saturn, with plenty of feasting, gifting and merrymaking for all. Saturnalia covers the winter solstice in December and is the precursor to our Christmas celebrations.
What Does Galette des Rois Taste Like?
If you like almonds and the flavour of marzipan, you’re going to love galette des rois. It reminds me most of an almond croissant. If you’re anything like me, you find these irresistible. The ratio of filling to pastry is much higher though and the gateau des rois dough is not a yeasted one. It’s a crunchy, flaky puff pastry.
What Is Epiphany?
Epiphany also known as Three Kings Day is a Christian feast day which always falls on the 6th of January. According to tradition, it’s the date that the three kings (Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar), also known as wise men or magi, visited the baby Jesus and presented him with the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Some christians also celebrate it as the day that John the Baptist baptised Jesus.
The word epiphany is derived from a Greek word which means to reveal. Thus Epiphany is the day that the baby Jesus was revealed to the world.
In some Christian cultures, Epiphany is celebrated as Christmas instead of the 25th of December.
It’s not the same as twelfth night, however, which is Epiphany Eve and falls on the 5th of January. According to tradition, this is the night that the wise men arrived in Bethlehem. If you’d like to celebrate this with cake, try my twelfth night cakes with lemon and marzipan.
Vegan King Cake
So to the gâteau itself. Traditionally king cake is made with buttery puff pastry, eggs, sugar and almonds. It’s delicious. My vegan version is equally delicious even though I’ve made it without butter or eggs. It’s also really quick and easy to prepare. Assuming, that is, that you buy the puff pastry rather than make it yourself.
If you buy a puff pastry sheet, it’s even easier.
For the vegan frangipane filling, I’ve swapped the butter for extra virgin olive oil and the eggs for aquafaba. Aquafaba is the seemingly miracle water leftover from cooking chickpeas and other beans. Just drain the liquid from a tin of chickpeas and you have aquafaba. It has very similar properties to egg whites and it makes a good egg substitute in many bakes.
Take a look at my brown sugar aquafaba meringues if you don’t believe me.
All you need to do is mix the frangipane ingredients together and you have a most delicious almond cream filling. I’ve added some grated orange zest for additional flavour, but traditionally it’s just almonds and maybe a little rum.
This vegan galette des rois is quite rich, so a little goes a long way. My recipe is for a twenty centimetre (eight inch) cake which gives eight modest slices. But if you think the slices are too small, you can always have a second one. Or just make a larger cake.
For This Vegan King Cake You Will Need:
Vegan friendly puff pastry.Ground almonds. I usually grind my own almonds for baking. But for this I went with ready ground as the meal is finer, which results in a creamier filling.Golden caster sugar. Golden sugar is less refined than white sugar and more likely to be vegan. Thankfully it’s much easier to get hold of these days.Extra virgin olive oil. Don’t use your best for this one, but something with a bit of flavour is a bonus.Aquafaba. The water from a tin of chickpeas is best for this. It won’t colour the frangipane and the flavour isn’t as obtrusive as some beans.Arrowroot for binding and stability. You can use cornstarch instead.Sea salt. A pinch of salt helps to bring out the king cake’s flavours and just this small amount really makes a difference.Flavourings. I’ve gone with almond extract, rum and a little grated orange zest. The almond extract is needed to give a subtle but distinctive almond flavour. You don’t, however, need very much of it. The rum is traditional but entirely optional. I didn’t want it to be overwhelmed so I’ve only used a small amount. The orange zest isn’t traditional, but I highly recommend it.
Vegan King Cake: Step-by-Step
Although I’ve divided the process into nine easy steps, there are really only two main ones. First make the vegan almond frangipane, then prepare the pastry.
Step 1. Mix Sugar & Olive Oil
Traditionally you cream butter and sugar together to make frangipane. Creaming doesn’t really work with oil, so use a whisk to thoroughly combine the sugar and olive oil. Use a medium sized mixing bowl for this.
Step 2. Add Wet Ingredients
Add the aquafaba, almond extract and rum, if using. Also add the salt at this point to ensure it dissolves and gets well distributed. Whisk everything together thoroughly.
Add the arrowroot or cornstarch at this point and whisk again until the mixture has thickened slightly and there are no lumps remaining.
Step 3. Add Almonds
Use a spoon or spatula to stir in the ground almonds and orange zest, if using. Mix into a paste, then set aside.
Step 4. Cut Pastry Circles
Using a round plate or tin as a guide, cut out two 20 cm (8 inch) circles from the pastry sheet with a sharp knife.
If you buy a 320 gram ready rolled sheet of vegan puff pastry, the sheet isn’t quite big enough to get two decent sized circles out of it. This means you’ll need to roll it out lengthways to stretch it a bit. It’s very easy to do. Just keep the sheet on the paper and run a rolling pin over it a few times. And don’t worry about the pastry becoming too thin, the sheets are usually quite thick.
Step 5. Add Frangipane Filling
Keeping one pastry circle on the original pastry paper, spread the frangipane over it, leaving a 1 ½ cm (½ inch) gap around the edges. Try and get as even a layer as possible.
Step 6. Cover With Pastry Top
Peel the second pastry circle from the paper and place it over the frangipane. Use your fingers to seal the two circles together. Make sure you press down firmly, so that the filling cannot escape.
In order to create the traditional scalloped edge, press down with your first and middle fingers and use a knife to cut into the gaps. See the image below.
Using a sharp knife, lightly score the top of the pastry to look like the spokes of a wheel or use a zig zag pattern.
Use some of the leftover scraps to make cut out shapes for the top. It’s not in the least bit traditional, but I like the effect.
Gather together all remaining scraps, roll into a rectangle and make cinnamon swirls with them. Delicious.
Step 8. Glaze The Pastry
Mix a little plant milk with some maple syrup and use this to glaze the top of the cake. It’s not as effective as egg yolk, but it makes quite a good substitute.
Step 9. Bake The Galette
Cut the original paper that the galette is sitting on so that it fits on a baking tray. Transfer the whole thing to the baking tray.
Pop the galette into the top half of the oven and bake for approximately thirty minutes. If it’s not risen, flaky and golden brown, return it to the oven for a further five minutes.
Place on a wire rack to cool a little. When the galette is still warm, but no longer hot, peel off the paper, transfer to a plate, slice and serve.
Vegan King Cake: Make It Your Own
The orange zest I’ve used is optional. For a more traditional King cake, flavour it with almond extract only. I’ve gone for a fairly subtle almond approach. If you like a strong almond flavour, go ahead and add a further quarter teaspoon to the mix.
Many king cakes contain rum, but not all. I’ve only used a tiny amount in this recipe, but feel free to omit it altogether or go for a tablespoon rather than a teaspoon.
For a lemony zing, swap the orange zest in this recipe for lemon zest.
Many people like to use vanilla extract as well as almond. So if you like that idea, omit the orange and use half a teaspoon of vanilla extract instead.
Other Almond Bakes You Might Like
Keep in Touch
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make this vegan galette des rois, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. And do please rate the recipe. Have you any top tips? Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #nanorecetas, so I can spot them.
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Vegan King Cake – The Recipe
Vegan King Cake
A delicious puff pastry confection filled with almond frangipane. Serve warm, whilst the pastry is still beautifully crisp and flaky and you’ll wonder why you’ve never made this super easy bake before.Prep Time20 minsCook Time30 minsTotal Time50 minsCourse: Afternoon Tea, DessertCuisine: FrenchKeyword: almonds, aquafaba, frangipane, gateau, pastry, twelfth night, veganServings: 8 slicesCalories: 395kcalAuthor: Choclette @ Tin and ThymeIngredients60 g golden caster sugar40 ml extra virgin olive oil (mild tasting is better than a gutsy flavoured one for this)50 ml aquafaba (chickpea water)½ tsp almond extract1 tsp rum optional1 pinch sea salt (I used Himalayan rock salt)1 tbsp arrowroot (can use cornstarch instead)½ orange zest only125 g ground almonds320 g vegan puff pastry sheetGlaze1 tbsp plant milk1 tsp maple syrupInstructionsIn a medium sized bowl, whisk the sugar and olive oil together.60 g golden caster sugar, 40 ml extra virgin olive oilAdd the aquafaba, almond extract, rum (if using) and salt and whisk again.50 ml aquafaba, ½ tsp almond extract, 1 tsp rum, 1 pinch sea saltAdd the arrowroot and whisk again until the mixture has thickened slightly and there are no lumps remaining.1 tbsp arrowrootAdd the orange zest and stir in the ground almonds until everything is well mixed into a paste.½ orange, 125 g ground almondsSet the oven to 180℃ (160℃ fan, 350℉, Gas 4).Roll the pastry sheet out lengthways so that it’s big enough to make two circles of about 20 cm (8 inches).320 g vegan puff pastry sheetCut the pastry out with a sharp knife using a suitable sized plate or other round object as a guide.Keeping one pastry circle on the original pastry paper, spread the frangipane over it, leaving a 1 ½ cm (½ inch) gap around the edges.Cover with the second pastry circle, sealing the edges with your fingers. As you press down along the edge with your fingers, use a knife to cut into the gaps, creating the traditional scallop effect. To see this in action, see my image in the actual post.Score the top lightly with a sharp knife to create a spiral or zigzag pattern.Mix the milk and maple syrup together for the glaze and brush over the top of the galette.1 tbsp plant milk, 1 tsp maple syrupCut the paper the galette is sitting on to size, then transfer to a baking tray.Bake in the top half of the oven for thirty minutes or until the galette is well risen, flaky and golden brown.Place on a wire rack to cool a little. When the galette is still warm, but no longer hot, peel off the paper, transfer to a plate, slice and serve.NotesI cut out shapes from some of the pastry scraps and used them to decorate the top. This is not in the least bit traditional though.It’s quite rich, so a little goes a long way. But if you think the slices are too small, you can always have a second one.Please note: calories and other nutritional information are per serving. They’re approximate and will depend on exact ingredients used.NutritionCalories: 395kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Sodium: 106mg | Potassium: 45mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 26IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 2mg Tried this recipe?Please take a photo and mention @choclette8 or tag #nanorecetas on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.
I’m sharing this recipe for vegan puff pastry king cake with Sew White for #CookBlogShare.