Bolo Rei

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Bolo Rei
Bolo Rei.jpg
Place of origin
Main ingredients
Dough, raisins, nuts, candied fruit
Cookbook:Bolo Rei  Bolo Rei

Bolo rei (English: literally King Cake) is a traditional Portuguese cake that is usually eaten around Christmas, from December 25 until the Dia de Reis (literally Day of Kings, a reference to the three kings) on January 6. It is a staple dessert in any Portuguese home during the holidays.[1]


Bolo rei recipe is from France which finds its way to Portugal during the 19th century when Confeitaria Nacional[2] opened as Portuguese monarchy’s official bakery in 1829. The Confeitaria was the first to introduce this recipe to the country.

The cake itself is round with a large hole in the centre,[3] resembling a crown covered with crystallized and dried fruit.

The bolo rei is baked from a soft, white dough, with raisins, various nuts, and crystallized fruit. Also included is the characteristic "fava", and tradition dictates that whoever finds the fava has to pay for the bolo rei next year.[4] A small prize (usually a small metal toy) was also included within the cake. The inclusion of the prize has been discontinued since mid-90s.


In 2009, a giant Bolo rei measuring about 70 meters and weighing around 200 kilos was baked for the town of Olhão by pastry chef Felipe Martins of Pastelaria Kubidoce.[5]

The Bolo rei baked from Pastelaria Aloma[6] in Lisbon, Portugal is the most famous version of this pastry cake in 2012.[7]

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