Mexicans continue the tradition of king cakes

Although you think of tortillas when you mention Mexico, every year on January 6th, Mexicans’ love of bread will appear on the cut oval brioche, decorated with candied fruit called king cake, to celebrate Epiphany

Mexico City-When it comes to Mexico, people think of tortillas, but every year on January 6, the Mexican love of bread will appear, cutting oval brioches decorated with candied fruit called king cakes to celebrate Epiphany.

Just a few hours before the Mexicans bought their first slice of bread, hundreds of shoppers packed the strong smell of freshly baked bread in one of Mexico City’s oldest bakeries to buy their king cake, called “Rosca de reyes”. Ideal Bakery was founded in 1927 and is located in the former San Francisco el Grande Convent in the center of the capital.

Among the crowd is Dalia Hernández, a 34-year-old housewife. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she is happy to return to the bakery after leaving last year.

Although the number of infections has risen again, so far, capital authorities have allowed companies such as Ideal to continue to welcome customers. However, Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum did cancel the tradition of cutting giant king cakes in the central square of the city for the second year in a row.

“I really miss the bakery,” Hernandez said. “Last year, only my husband came, but this time we all came because it is part of the family tradition.” She said that the cake tradition has always existed because they are “part of our culture and our identity as Mexicans.”

The king cake originated in France and Spain in the 14th century and arrived in Mexico with the conquest.

Chef Oswaldo Tapia of NTD Ingredients Company said that although this is a seasonal delicacy only eaten in early January, it is loved by all walks of life in Mexican society, so the demand has remained high.

“Rosca de reyes is a traditional food, and I think it is unlikely to disappear because Mexicans are bread lovers,” said Tapia, who has been baking for three years. Mexico has added its own style to make it oval and often filled with cream.

Traditionally, Mexicans decorate their king cakes with acitron, a candied element derived from a specific type of cactus. However, due to the impact on species, the government banned this in 2005. Other fruits are now replaced.

The baby statue representing the baby Jesus is hidden inside the cake. Those who find the figurines in their slices should buy tamales for everyone present on February 2nd (another Christian holiday).

On Wednesday, in the ideal bakery, 54-year-old business woman Ana Morales (Ana Morales) recalled that she used to run on the terrace of the building as a child. Her family lives on the upper floor of the building, so she is woken up by the smell of toast every morning.

“This place is charming and beautiful,” she said. “Today is a real rosca for a beautiful King’s Day.”

“The truth is, people who don’t eat rosca de reyes… don’t know Mexico,” Morales said. “This is the taste of Mexico. It is a tradition and privilege to be able to still taste bread.”


Associated Press video reporter Fernanda Pesce contributed to this report.