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Three Kings Tropical Bread with Coffee (Rosca de Reyes al Café) edit

Rosca_1 Rosca Rey de Reyes Tropical al Café

(Three Kings Tropical Bread with Coffee) Rosca Rey de Reyes, or Rosca de los Reyes, is eaten in México, Puerto Rico, and Portugal on Twelfth Night (January 6th), celebrated in the Catholic religion as the day the Three Kings arrived in Bethlehem bearing gifts for Jesus of Nazareth. A tiny ceramic doll, coin, or bean may be hidden in the bread, and traditionally the person who finds it throws a party on Candlemass (February 2nd), or is in charge of preparing the “Rosca” for the following year.

In this recipe we are using coffee to re-hydrate the dried fruits instead of the more commonly used port wine or dark rum, adding an innovative twist to the flavor combinations. Please note that this specialty bread involves a 2-day process, so be sure to set aside enough time for the steps involved.

Serves 8 to 10


For the lemon sugar:
3 tablespoons white sugar
3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
6 drops fresh lemon juice

For the coffee-infused fruit:
¼ cup sultanas (golden raisins) or dried mango, chopped
¼ cup candied orange peel, chopped
½ cup strong coffee (cold brew or espresso)

For the dough:
2 ¼ cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup warm water
1 envelope (2 ½ teaspoons) dry yeast
7 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
½ cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
3 eggs
¼ cup cashews, almonds, or walnuts

For the decoration:
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
Lemon sugar (recipe follows)
Fresh figs, cut into quarters, or pineapple chunks
Candied orange or lemon peel

Optional decoration:
Mango, or pineapple marmalade (optional)
1 bean wrapped in wax paper (Portuguese tradition)
1 tiny ceramic doll (Mexican tradition)


Day 1

Prepare the lemon sugar:
Combine the white and confectioners sugars in a bowl and mix well. Add lemon juice and combine with either a spoon or your fingers (the mixture should have a coarse texture). Put in a warm place to dry.

Prepare the coffee-infused fruit:
Place the sultanas (or mango) and the candied orange peel in a jar and add the coffee. Close with lid and allow to soak overnight in the refrigerator.

Day 2

Prepare the dough:
Sift the flour, confectioners sugar, and salt into a bowl and stir in the yeast. Make a well in the center. Over a low heat, gently melt the butter and water. Remove from the heat to cool. Add the orange and lemon peels, then add to the dry ingredients along with the eggs. Mix well.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Put in a clean bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place to rise for about 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.

[Note: When you let the dough rise, be sure to keep it away from drafts, in an area that is about 75-80˚ F. You don’t want the dough to get too warm.]

On a lightly floured surface, knead the nuts and coffee-soaked fruit into the dough, working the dough until it becomes firm and elastic again. [If the dough is still sticky at this point, add a little bit of flour and knead some more!]  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest while you prepare the cookie sheet.

Rosca_2 Grease a large cookie sheet with melted butter or non-stick spray. Place the dough on the cookie sheet, and using your hands make a cylinder of approximately 2 feet in length. Form the dough into a circle and pinch the two ends together with your fingers. Cover and let rest in a warm place for 30-45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F approximately 5-10 minutes before the dough is finished rising.

When the bread is ready to go in the oven, brush the surface with the egg-water glaze and decorate with the lemon sugar, fresh figs (or pineapple), and candied orange or lemon peel.

To follow the Portuguese tradition (optional):
Place a bean wrapped in wax or parchment paper under the dough.

To follow the Mexican tradition (optional):
Place 1 tiny ceramic doll under the dough.

Bake for 20 minutes and check the color of the bread. If it is already golden brown in color, cover it with aluminum foil and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Brush with warm marmalade for a nice gloss.

Serve when completely cooled. If you decide to hide a surprise in the dough, be careful with your cutting (and eating)!

Felíz Día de Reyes!


  • by Chef Melissa
  • January 06, 2008
  • 11:53 am


Picture of kelly kelly said on...
01.06.08 at 02:41 PM |

I am going to make this!  I will be a little late but I am going to do it next weekend.

Picture of Cris Cris said on...
01.07.08 at 05:43 AM |

Hi Melissa! Kristen just sent me an e-mail saying we were matched in the adopt a blogger event! I am so glad because you won’t believe this, I have friends in Panama! They are from David. Looking forward to hearing from you. Take care

Picture of George George said on...
01.07.08 at 09:12 AM |

Nice.  I always like learning different bread recipes.  this one in particular sounds really good.  I think I will have to give it a try.

Picture of melissa melissa said on...
01.07.08 at 10:35 AM |

Hola Kelly! This bread is oh so good that I bake it through the year and sometimes I keep a loaf in the freezer in case I have something special to share with guests of last minute dinner parties =)

Cris: Great! Gald to hear you have friends in David…I am heading to your blog right now. Happy New Year!

George: Thank you for your visit, yes, it is special indeed. The coffee ads a very nice touch! Let me know how do you like it!

Un abrazo,

Picture of Rachael Rachael said on...
01.08.08 at 12:25 PM |

I love that bread. We call it coronation cake, but its pretty similary (with the baby Jesus trinket inside and all)...I LOVE that you did it with coffee too…such a great twist!

Picture of Cooking Recipes Cooking Recipes said on...
01.14.08 at 03:39 AM |

Wow, you have a nice blog friend. Very informative contents, i also have blog similar to this. Would you mind if i ask you for a link exchange? Regards…

Picture of Anamika: The Sugarcrafter Anamika: The Sugarcrafter said on...
02.04.08 at 02:34 AM |

Hi Mellisa
Its my first time on your blog and i simply loved it. There is so much to learn in this world from different places. Its endless and your posts are wonderful , i simply stopped to browse. Greetings to you from Botswana.

Picture of melissa melissa said on...
02.12.08 at 09:01 AM |

Thank you Anamika for your visit! I just came back from your blog and I have to say you do a beautiful work, your cakes look delicious and so colorful! I’ll be back soon =)


Picture of Jimy .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said on...
04.01.11 at 12:07 PM |

What a great post i am love the way express your self and i thank you.

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