New Year’s eve cake from Igualada

Last year we started with the tradition of the Igualada area: New year’s eve cake. And we continue this year. It is a spongy cake, sweet, very good. Glutenfree, with orange and almonds. If you want yours, please order it for Sunday 31st.

Coca, coc or fogassa is a word that applies to a wide range of cakes, cakes and rolls. The Catalan word coca comes from the word kok of the Dutch in the Carolingian era, ie the fràncic, and has the same roots as cake or Kuchen. The same word, with a similar meaning (‘pastel’) exists in Occitan.

Regarding its theoretical origin, according to Eliana Thibaut Comalada, coca is invented thanks to the use of masses of bread that had not been cooked (that is, the yeast had not risen). Instead of getting rid of these masses, the housewives cooked them flat, usually sweetened and served as dessert. This practice means that Balearic bread cake, Catalan nude cake and Safor corn cake are the most basic cakes, they must be the oldest, which come to develop this tradition with the “added” condiments.

The recipes vary from town to town and admit many variations, they can be distinguished according to the following classification:

  • Sweet or savory. According to the ingredients and condiments. The cake without any addition, as corn cakes are called bare cake.
  • Open or covered. The covered cake: it is a stuffed cake, sweet or savory
    Open or flat cake: the typical cake that carries the filling on top, be it sweet or savory. Most recipes are of this type.

Coca, especially in its savory variant, is to be found in many places in the Mediterranean. The most obvious is the Italian pizza. Other countries also have cakes similar to a savory cake, for example Pissaladière de Provence, lahmacun of Armenia and PIDE of Turkey. In France we find a covered cake called “Bouchée à la Reine”.

As more distant relative, in Spain  the empanadas could be considered a covered coca. In Africa there are also fried dumplings and in Asia we find spring rolls and the nem.

Although sweet coca is less frequent outside of Catalonia, sweet covered cakes can be found anywhere in Europe, especially with candied fruit. Coca de reyes or roscón de reyes is traditional in Spain, Portugal and France, a tradition that goes back to classical Greece. We will talk about this in the next post.

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