Everyone knows the different cakes eaten around the world at Christmas – from rich fruitcake in Britain and light panettone in Italy to stollen in Germany – but less is known about what treats are enjoyed at Easter.
In Spain, Easter week or Semana Santa as it is known, is a very important time of the year, so you can be sure Spaniards will be celebrating the the special week with a delicious cake or two. Here are some of the traditional sweet offerings enjoyed.
– Monas de Pascua
The most famous Spanish Easter cake has to be La Mona de Pascua. This doughnut-shaped cake was typically made with marzipan and covered with boiled eggs, although these days chocolate eggs tend to be the decoration of choice.
‘Mona’ comes from the Arabic term for gift, and the cake is traditionally given to godchildren from their godparents, with the number of eggs symbolising the age of the youngster. It is usually enjoyed on Easter Monday when families get together to celebrate Easter, but you can expect to see Spanish shops full of these brightly coloured cakes throughout Semana Santa, or Holy Week.
These days, Monas de Pascua are elaborately decorated with chicks and feathers in celebration of spring, and are sweetened with chocolate glaze and almonds.
While Monas de Pascua hail from Valencia and Catalonia originally, you will find cafes throughout Madrid selling bartolillo madrileno. This is a triangular-shaped fried empanada with creamy custard filling and sprinkled with icing sugar.
– Bollos de Semana Santa
Spain also has its own variation of our famous hot cross buns. However, instead of sultanas, you will find these made with sesame seeds, almonds and cinnamon. They still have the famous cross symbol on the top though.
– Flores fritas
These ‘fried flowers’ are very pretty to look at, and even better to taste. They are delicate fried cookies that are typical of the Andalucia region. As the pastry dessert is very intricate, most people tend to buy these from bakeries instead of trying to make their own.
If you are spending Easter with your relatives, don’t forget to treat them to a delicious Spanish food hamper!