Coca de San Juan: Discover How to Make this Traditional Pastry

Coca de San Juan: Discover How to Make this Traditional Pastry

Coca de San Juan is a delicious and festive Spanish cake that is traditionally eaten on the night of Saint John, which falls on June 23 or 24 in the Gregorian calendar. This night is also known as La Revetlla de Sant Joan (the Verbena of Saint John) in Catalonia, and it is celebrated with bonfires, beach parties, and good wishes. Coca de San Juan is one of the most popular foods in Catalonia for this occasion, and it is usually served with sweet or sparkling wine, such as cava.

What is Coca de San Juan?

Coca de San Juan is a type of flatbread that has a round shape and a hole in the middle. It is made with flour, sugar, eggs, butter, milk, yeast, and various toppings, such as candied fruits, pine nuts, aniseed, cream cheese, or hair of angel (a type of candied fruit). The name coca comes from the Catalan word for cake or pastry.

The origin of this Catalan Pastry can be traced back to ancient times when people made circular cakes to symbolize the sun. The night of Saint John was considered a time of magic and mystery when fairies would visit humans and leave their hair behind. The hair of an angel was believed to be a sign of good luck and protection from evil spirits.

How to Make This Festive Spanish Cake?

Making coca de San Juan at home is not very difficult if you follow some simple steps. Here are some tips and tricks to help you prepare this tasty cake:

  • Use strong flour (type 00) for a better texture and flavor.
  • Dissolve the yeast in warm milk before adding it to the flour mixture.
  • Let the dough rise until it doubles in volume.
  • Shape the dough into an oval or round cake with a hole in the middle.
  • Brush some beaten egg over the top of the cake.
  • Arrange your favorite toppings on top of the egg wash.
  • Sprinkle some sugar over them for extra sweetness.
  • Bake the cake in a preheated oven at 180°C (350°F) for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Let it cool completely before cutting into slices.

Variations of Coca de San Juan

There are many variations of this Spanish Cake that you can try depending on your preferences and the availability of ingredients. Here are some examples:

  • Coca con mazapán: This version has a thin layer of caramelized sugar on top before adding the toppings. You can use regular sugar or aniseed sugar for this effect.
  • Coca con crema pastelera: This version has a layer of whipped cream cheese between two layers of dough. You can use store-bought cream cheese or make your own with butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract.
  • Coca con cabello de ángel: This version has pieces of candied fruit instead of toppings. You can use any fruit you like, such as melon, orange segments, cherries, apricots, etc.
  • Coca con piñones: This version has pine nuts instead of toppings. You can use whole or chopped pine nuts for this effect.

Tips for Serving This Spanish Cake

Coca de San Juan is best served at room temperature so that you can enjoy its softness and moistness. You can also reheat it slightly if you prefer it warmer.

You should serve the cake with chilled wine or sparkling wine to complement its sweetness and richness. Some popular choices are cava (a Spanish sparkling wine), vermouth (a fortified wine), or sherry (a dry white wine).

Serve coca de San Juan with some cold drinks such as water or soda water to balance its flavor.

Eat Coca de San Juan with your hands by tearing off pieces from one end and dipping them into your drink.

Do not eat too much coca de San Juan because it is very sweet and filling.


This is a traditional Spanish cake perfect for celebrating La Revetlla de Sant Joan with friends and family. It is easy to make at home with simple ingredients and techniques. Coca has a round shape with a hole in the middle that makes it unique and fun to eat. It comes with various toppings that add different textures and flavors to its taste buds.

Coca de Sant Joan

Coca de San Juan: Discover How to Make this Traditional Pastry

Coca de Sant Joan is a traditional Catalan pastry that is often enjoyed during the celebration of Sant Joan (Saint John) in Catalonia, Spain. It's a sweet flatbread topped with various ingredients, and it's especially popular around the summer solstice. Here's a basic recipe for Coca de Sant Joan:
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Risin Time 2 hours
Course Dessert
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 10


For the Dough:

  • 4 cups All purpose flour
  • ½ cup Warm milk
  • ½ cup Warm water
  • ½ cup Olive oil
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 1 packet Active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 tsp Salt

For the Topping:

  • 1 cup Candied fruits (mix of orange peel, citron, etc.)
  • 1 cup Pine nuts
  • Sugar for sprinkling
  • Lemon zest (optional)


  • In a small bowl, combine the warm milk and warm water. Stir in the sugar and sprinkle the yeast over the liquid. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes, or until it becomes frothy.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture and olive oil.
  • Mix the ingredients until a dough forms. Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 5-7 minutes, or until it becomes smooth and elastic.
  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm place for about 1-2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Punch down the risen dough and roll it out into a large circle on a floured surface. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Arrange the candied fruits and pine nuts on top of the dough. Optionally, sprinkle some lemon zest over the toppings.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. While it's still warm, sprinkle sugar over the top.
  • Slice and serve the Coca de Sant Joan at room temperature.
Keyword dessert

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