Have you decided on your Christmas cake this year?
The standard Christmas cake in Japan is a strawberry sponge cake topped with a Santa Claus candy.
On the other hand, the Dutch Christmas cake is Stollen called Kerststol, which is more like a bread than a cake.
The different food cultures of each country are very interesting. I tried to find out what kind of Christmas cakes are standard in Europe.
Christmas cake in Europe
Stollen (Germany, Netherlands)
Stollen is a sweet bread that originated in Germany and is called Stol in the Netherlands, and the Stol that is eaten at Christmas is called Kerststol. (Kerst = Christmas)
The Stollen filled with liqueur-soaked dried fruit and almond paste is a long-term bread that leave the food out for 2 to 3 weeks after baking to enrich the flavor.
Bûche de Noël (France)
Bûche de Noël is a traditional French Christmas cake shaped like a stump.
Bûche means firewood and stumps, and Noël means Christmas.
There used to be a custom of burning firewood in the winter to ward off evil, but now the culture of burning firewood is lost and cakes have replaced that.
Unfortunately Bûche de Noël cannot be found in the Netherlands. Buy a cake pan from Amazon and make your own.
Christmas pudding (UK)
Christmas pudding is a traditional British Christmas dessert, a long-lasting cake filled with dried fruit, spices, rum and brandy.
It’s more delicious if you warm it up before eating or pour brandy over it and flambé it.
Panettone is a traditional fermented sweet bread made with dried fruits and originated in Milan, Italy.
In the Netherlands, you can buy panettone at Italian grocery stores.
Pandoro is also a famous Italian sweet bread for Christmas, it’s like Panettone without dried fruits.
Pan de Oro means Golden Bread in Italian. In the past, sweet bread made with plenty of butter, eggs, sugar and honey were the highest quality bread that only kings could eat, so the name may have been given.
Kouglof is a sweet bread that Marie Antoinette loved and originated in Austria. (or France)
The oblique undulating shape is characteristic, and when viewed from the side, it looks like a crown.
Kouglof is one of the common sweet bread in Europe, but it is called differently depending on the country. It is Tulband in the Netherlands.
You can buy Tulband at supermarkets such as ah.
Also you can bake it by yourself, find Tulband Mix at ah too!
You can buy a cake pan at Bol.com.
Roscón de reyes (Spain, Portugal)
Roscón de reyes is a Spanish sweet bread with a colorful topping that looks like a crown. It is common to eat it on January 6th.
Portugal has a same sweet bread, called Bolo rei. It’s also common to eat after New year, but sometimes eaten at Christmas.
When I researched other countries, I found that Norway had bread, Denmark had bread, Greece had bread… So sweet bread are the most common Christmas cake in Europe.
There was a culture of baking large amounts of sweet bread before Christmas for guests visiting between Christmas to the New year. Therefore it is still customary to eat bread and ginger cookies that can be stored for a long time at Christmas.
I have no plans to have a party at my house, but I will eat Christmas bread.
Don’t forget to prepare the sweet bread, everyone too!