For many Christians, Easter means the end of a long and gruelling 40 days of Lent, giving up your favourite thing, whether it’s chocolate or Facebook! In many Spanish regions this is when they traditionally make La Mona de Pascua cake – a delicious end to the abstinence and a symbol of spring!
Easter week in Barcelona, known as Semana Santa (Holy Week), would not be complete without making La Mona de Pascua cake. Godparents traditionally give it to their godchildren hence the word Mona – the Moroccan term meaning gift.
There are two types of La Mona de Pascua cake. The traditional cake takes the form of a gigantic doughnut topped with boiled eggs (the amount of eggs depends on the age of the godchild). Why the eggs? The most dedicated of Catholics would go without meat or eggs over Lent, so eggs were saved and used in the cake on Easter weekend.
The more recent version of La Mona de Pascua isn’t quite so eggy! As baking techniques improved, bakers started to make chocolate eggs and put a layer of apricot jam inside the cake. Today La Mona de Pascua is decorated with a chocolate glaze, almonds, chocolate eggs, colourful feathers and cartoon characters. It’s so popular that Catalonia’s bakeries can expect to sell 600,000 of this festive speciality by Easter Monday.
Here’s our take on how to make La Mona de Pascua cake.
La Mona de Pascua recipe
150g of sugar
150g of flour
20g of almond flour
5g of yeast
2 beaten egg whites
50g of butter
For the filling
300g of apricot jam
250g of dark chocolate
125g of butter
1) Beat the eggs and sugar together in a bowl.
2) Mix the flour and yeast together in a separate bowl.
3) Gradually pass the mixture of flour and yeast through a sieve and add it to the egg and sugar mixture.
4) Stir constantly while adding the almond flour.
5) Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until they form peaks.
6) Once they are half whisked, add 50g of sugar, once whisked blend in with the flour and egg mixture.
7) Turn the final mix out into a greased and flour sprinkled mould.
8 ) Place in the oven at 180 ºC for about 40-45 minutes.
9) Remove the sponge, allow to cool, cut in half and spread with the jam filling.
10) Finally, stir and melt the chocolate and butter together, cover the sponge with the chocolate and allow to cool. Why not try adding your own final touch? Some decorated eggs? A few feathers? Maybe a few miniature chicks? Go nuts!
Let us know how your Mona de Pascua turned out. Tell us how you spent your Easter and how the cake went down!