The Traditions of our Easter Cakes and Treats.
Ahh Easter!! Easter Cakes, chocolate eggs and bunnies. To be honest I’ve never really understood the concept of an Easter bunny. Santa…Yes, tooth Fairy…Yes! But a chocolate laying bunny rabbit?? Where did that one come from? Maybe because many of the things I associate with Easter have their roots in the Christian celebration of Easter and the bunny rabbit just doesn’t ‘fit’ for me.
All around the world Christians celebrate this important event in their calendar to commemorate the death, (Good Friday), and celebrate the resurrection, (Easter Sunday), of Jesus. Whether you’re religious or not Easter signifies new life and beginnings.
From Easter chicks to Easter eggs these symbols of new life represent the resurrection/re-birth of Jesus. This is why they feature on so many Easter cakes and treats, from all over the world. The Catalonian Mona de Pascua cake is traditionally made with hard boiled eggs baked right into the sponge. A contemporary take on this cake is to decorate with jellied sweets, chocolate eggs and chicks. In the UK decorated hens eggs were given as gifts, until the first chocolate eggs were introduced in the 19th century. Even the shape of the egg is symbolic, representing the tomb that held Jesus’ body.
Easter Treats from Around the World.
Decorated cakes or breads are common place across the world at Easter. Hot cross buns are a firm favourite in many UK households. These spiced sweet buns, typically eaten on Good Friday, are marked with a cross to represent the crucifixion of Christ. As I’m from Caribbean descent my family always had Jamaican bun on Good Friday. More of a spiced loaf than a bun. A variation of the hot cross bun, it would be served with cheese throughout the day, as a snack. Also tastes fantastic lightly toasted.
Simnel cake also from the UK is a fruit cake with a layer of marzipan baked through the middle of the cake and another layer on the top. 11 marzipan balls decorate the top of the cake to represent the apostles (excluding Judas). There are many variations of these treats available nowadays, including chocolate hot cross buns studded with chocolate chips, and simnel cakes decoarated with mini easter eggs to replace the marzipan balls.
Other sweet ways in which Easter is celebrated around the world include crown shaped pastries made in Italy called Corona di Nove and cake like doughnuts, made without yeast in Spain called Rosquillas de Semona. Whilst this cake may not display any of the symbolism associated with Easter it is the perfect way to end the self-restraint of Lent.
Whatever you’re cooking up or taking part in this Easter, I hope you have a great time and I’d love to hear about any Easter treats specific to you and your country.