Bread shops, patisseries and supermarkets spent the last few days of this week baking and selling hundreds of thousands of the traditional 'roscón de Reyes' cake in Malaga province in an increasingly competitive market.
Traditional bakers along the coast, such as La Canasta, Lepanto and Pathelín, reported big numbers of preorders and brisk business on Thursday, one of their busiest days of the year ahead of the 6 January holiday
Long-established patisserie bakers in Malaga, Pathelín, expected to sell 14,000 'roscones' this year. "Nine of us work flat out as its a handmade product that we've got to dedicate ourselves completely to", explained owner, Francisco Sánchez.
New ideas to win business
Old traditions, such as hiding a small, lucky statue of a king in the dough and an unlucky broad bean, (where the finder pays for the cake), continue to be in demand, however, this year 'roscón' makers are reporting a rise in popularity of more contemporary statue designs such as the Minions and Batman.
El Corte Inglés department store bid to attract more customers this year by hiding 251 gold ingots in its 'roscones' across Spain. Each ingot weighs a gramme and is worth 47 euros except for one that weighs one ounce and worth 1,130 euros.
Innovation is even altering the traditional choice of either plain 'roscón' or one with fresh, whipped cream that eaters are faced with every 6 January morning, as makers increasingly offer truffle, nougat and marzipan fillings as well.