Rosca De Pascua: Argentinian Easter Ring Cake

Close-Up Of Easter Eggs On Table
Efren Pael / EyeEm/Creative RF/Getty Images
  • Total: 4 hrs 45 mins
  • Prep: 4 hrs
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yield: 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
409 Calories
23g Fat
43g Carbs
9g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 409
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 29%
Saturated Fat 12g 59%
Cholesterol 174mg 58%
Sodium 466mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 43g 16%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Protein 9g
Calcium 134mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Rosca de Pascua is a sweet brioche-like bread, shaped into a ring and decorated with pastry cream, nuts, fruits, and even chocolate eggs. In Argentina, this cake-like bread is popular on Easter Sunday, though it is a close relative of the New Orleans-style king cake traditionally enjoyed during Mardi Gras in New Orleans, as well as many traditional European loaves of bread made during Easter.

You can start this dough in a bread machine to save time, and let it rise in the bread machine until you are ready to shape it (it will rise once more before baking). Normally this bread/cake is decorated with pastry cream and cherries before it goes into the oven, but I like to add some fresh pastry cream and the maraschino cherries (and other decorations) after it comes out from the oven.

Ingredients

  • For the Cake:
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (zest of 1 lemon)
  • 1 egg yolk (for egg wash)
  • For the Pastry Cream:
  • 1 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Optional: chocolate eggs (for decoration)
  • Optional: maraschino cherries (for decoration)
  • Optional: slivered almonds (for decoration)

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this Easter cake is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and baking.

Make the Cake

  1. Heat milk gently until just warm. Place the milk in the bowl of a standing mixer. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the yeast and let rest for 5 minutes.

  2. With the dough hook attachment, stir in remaining sugar and vanilla. Add 2 eggs, one at a time, until well mixed. Add half of the flour, the salt, and the lemon zest and mix well. Add the butter in small pieces and knead until they are incorporated, alternating with the remaining flour.

  3. Knead until flour is incorporated, adding extra flour if dough seems too wet. Knead until dough is smooth, shiny, and pulls away from sides of the bowl.

  4. Place dough in a greased bowl and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk. (Alternatively, place dough in refrigerator to rise overnight).

Make the Pastry Cream

  1. Place milk in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.

  2. Place egg and egg yolk in a medium heatproof bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the sugar and whisk until sugar is dissolved and mixture becomes pale yellow.

  3. Sift flour and add a pinch of salt into the mixture and whisk gently until incorporated.

  4. Pour milk into the egg mixture while whisking, and stir until smooth.

  5. Transfer egg-milk mixture back into the saucepan and return to heat, constantly whisking, until mixture starts to thicken and turn glossy. Cook, stirring vigorously, for 2 to 3 minutes longer.

  6. Remove from heat and whisk in butter. Let cool slightly and whisk in vanilla.

  7. Chill pastry cream in the refrigerator, covering the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a film from forming.

Shape and Bake Cake

  1. Punch down risen dough and roll out on floured surface into a rectangle, about 18 inches by 10 inches. Brush the surface of the dough lightly with water.

  2. Roll up dough lengthwise, tightly, into a log. Roll the log with your hands to lengthen it. Connect ends of the log to form a ring. Place ring carefully onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

  3. Whisk egg yolk briefly and brush over the surface of the dough. Let rise in a warm spot for about an hour or until almost doubled in volume.

  4. Preheat oven to 375 F.

  5. Place the pastry cream into a ziplock bag (or a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch round tip). Snip one corner off of the bag and pipe the pastry cream decoratively onto the top of the cake, reserving some pastry cream for later if desired. Add maraschino cherries and nuts to decorate (or add after baking if preferred).

  6. Place the bread ring in the oven, then lower the temperature to 350 F. Bake until bread is golden brown and sounds slightly hollow when tapped gently for about 30 minutes.

  7. Let cake cool completely before serving. Decorate with more pastry cream, cherries, nuts, and chocolate eggs.

Tips

  • If using a bread machine: Use bread machine yeast. Add the ingredients to the bread machine according to your individual machine's directions, and turn on the dough cycle. When cycle is complete, remove dough and shape into a ring, or refrigerate dough until ready to use.
  • When forming your bread ring, if you are concerned that ring will close in on itself, place a buttered oven proof bowl or metal ring in the center.