Spanish Easter Cake

How to make a Spanish Easter Cake.

The cake consists of pastry with either a hardboiled egg or a chocolate egg encased within. It is a celebration of Easter and the ending of Lent.

‘Mona’ in Spanish means female monkey and it can also mean ‘cute’. This cake is not shaped like a monkey, and is not particularly cute, so why the name? It turns out that the name comes from the Arabic word ‘munna’ or ‘mouna’ which means “provision for the mouth”.

Traditionally this cake is eaten on Easter Monday, when families would gather in the afternoon to chat and eat. This has become known as ‘Dia de la Mona’.

You can keep the Mona savory by using a hardboiled egg. Traditionally this is painted a bright colour or painted decoratively. Or the prefered sweet version, that is coated with icing a contains a small chocolate

Ingredients: Makes 4:

 500g/ 17oz All Purpose Flour.

 2 Teaspoons of Dry yeast.

100ml/ 3.5floz Warm Milk.

100g / 3.5oz Melted Butter.

80g/ 3oz Sugar.

1 Egg.

1 Pinch of Salt.

Grated Rind of One Orange or Lemon.

For a Savory Mona – To finish the Easter Dough – 1 Yolk + 1 Tablespoon Milk + hard boiled egg.

For a Sweet Mona – icing, coloured sprinkles, or chopped nuts + chocolate egg.

Method:

  1. Warm the milk either in a saucepan or in a microwave, just warm not too hot.
  2. Add the yeast to the milk, and stir.
  3. Leave for 5 minutes, in which time the milk will become frothy.
  4. Sieve the flour into a large bowl.
  5. Now add the milk, sugar, egg, rind,salt.
  6. Melt the butter and add to the bowl.
  7. Next mix all the ingredients until they are fully combined.
  8. Cover the bowl and leave to rise for 2 hours in a warm place.
  9. Then using clean hands place the dough onto a clean, floured surface.
  10. Divide the dough into 4 pieces.
  11. Now form the dough into a circular mountain shapes, and make a ‘ shallow hole’ at the top, for the reason this will hold the egg when cooked.

You can also make a plait shape, or whatever shape you like.

Leave them to stand and ferment for 20 mins.

Preheat the oven to 170c/ 325f/ Gas 3.

If you are preparing the savory version, brush the cakes with the egg and milk mix.

Line 2 baking trays with baking paper, or grease using butter.

Carefully move the ‘monas’ on the tray.

Place the baking trays into the oven for 25-30 minutes.

Check that the cake is cooked by inserting a small knife, if it comes out clean, the cake is ready.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

For a sweet version, make some icing for your Mona.

To make the Icing:

1 Cup of Icing Sugar.

2-3 Tablespoons of Milk.

1/2 Teaspoon of Vanilla Essence.

METHOD:

  • Sieve the icing sugar into a small bowl.
  • Next add the milk and vanilla then stir.
  • Use immediately.

Using a knife, coat the tops of the cakes with the icing.

Decorate as desired, with coloured sprinkles, chocolate pieces, mini marshmellows, sweets.

Finally add the decorative eggs.

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