Christmas is a time for coming together and enjoying the company of those we love. It’s also a time to enjoy some delicious baked goods, and what better way to do so than by exploring Christmas baking traditions from around the world. In this blog post, we shall explore the different types of cakes that are enjoyed at Christmas in countries such as Holland, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Russia, Japan, Alaska and we’ll finish in Ireland — thereby circumnavigating the globe in Christmas bakes!
Let’s start right here at home. We enjoy Mince and pies and Christmas bakes during the yuletide. The reason? These were traditionally baked as a celebration of the twelth night, with one mince pie traditionally eaten on each day of the Christmas holiday. Now let’s jump over the North Sea to Holland to see what is baked over there. The Dutch take Christmas seriously and enjoy baking all sorts of festive treats, including Stollen (a fruited bread) and Speculaas (spicy gingerbread).
Next up is Belgium. Over the festive season, Belgians like to enjoy baking or eating Speculaas, Gevulde koeken (filled pastry buns), and in particular speculoos biscuits. The Germans enjoy their Christmas baking too! From Stollen to Lebkuchen (a super sweet gingerbread) they have a lot of tasty cakes at this time of year. To wash it all down, Germans like to drink Glühwein (mulled wine) and eat Zwetschenkuchen (plum cake).
Moving south The Austrians enjoy their yuletide treats too! They bake Stollen, Vanille Kipferln (Vanilla crescent rolls) and and again, Lebkuchen. The Czech Republic also enjoy a festive treat, namely the Vánočka (Christmas Tree cake).
Let’s move ever eastwards over to Russia where they bake cakes such as Kulich (a sweet bread) and Persikovaya Tort (Peach tort). Paavola’s are also popular in Russia at Christmas time as well as Pryaniki (gingerbread).
Continuing on our merry way, let’s go to Japan and take a look at the types of cakes that are enjoyed over there during Christmas. There we shall find Castella cake which is very similar in texture to pound cake — super soft! Then we have Daifuku Mochi (glutinous rice with red bean paste inside) and Taiyaki (a waffle cake filled with a sweet filling).
Before we take our final stop back over in the Atlantic let’s just nip over the sea to Alaska. The Alaskans at Christmas enjoy their own special treats. These include the King cake and Krumkake (waffle). You’ll also find some Russian influence over in Alaska too so expect to find lots of sweetbreads and ginger cookies.
For our final stop on this epic journey, we’re going to Ireland where the locals enjoy Barmbrack (Fruit bread), Bailey’s chocolate cheesecake and of course mince pies too! The Irish at Christmas also enjoy baking some special St. Stephen’s Day treats like Boxty (potato pancakes) and Spotted Dog Cake which consists of iced sponge cake with lemon buttercream, topped with Christmas Pudding.
We hope you have enjoyed our journey into Christmas baking from around the world. Christmas is a time for spending with those you love and unlike last year (hopefully!) we should be able to see a lot more of the people we have missed. So why not use some of your downtime over the holidays to do some baking? If you are looking for some Christmas break why not do some baking? And, if you are looking for some inspiration when it comes to Christmas (or any baking) head on over to the guys at Anges-De-Sucre.