Cuban Snacks, Wedding Cake and Desserts

Favorite Desserts:

Flan: a delicious egg custard with caramel sauce.






Tocinillo del Cielo: "bacon from heaven'; a light version of flan but sweeter








Turones: almond candies imported from Spain (comes in chocolate, nougat, cream, walnut, honey, fruit and egg.

La Cubanita Bars: a type of cookie with coconut or fruit base.



Snack Foods:

Chicharrones - fried pork skins

Plantain chips - latin American potato

Yuca chips (pronounced yoo-kah)

Meringues - egg white sweet dry puffs



Pasteles or Pastelitos; similar to American turnovers: guava, guava and cream cheese, cream cheese, coconut and ham and meat


Not spicy: meat is mixed into the dough and wrapped in banana leaves.



The traditional Cuban wedding cake often included something extra. During the baking process, the baker would place colorful ribbons in the cake, so that the ends of the ribbons hung out of the finished cake. Attached to the end of one of the ribbons was a simple ring.

Before the cake was cut, the bride would gather all of the unmarried girls at the wedding, and allow each to pull one of the ribbons from the cake. Tradition had it that the girl who pulled the ribbon with the ring on the end would be the next one to get married. It is the same concept with the bride tossing the bouquet at an American wedding.

Some families also had the baker attach a tiny thimble to the end of one of the ribbons. The girl who pulled out the thimble was said to be condemned to live the life of an old maid!





Polvorones actually came to Cuba from Spain, specifically from the town of Esteppa in the province of Seville. They were traditionally made at special times when the farmers would bring their pigs to market for slaughter. (The cookies were made with pork lard.) They also were a traditional treat for Christmas.


The bakers of Seville produce some of the best pastries in all of Spain. Their fame foes as far back as Renaissance times. Many of their cooking techniques and ingredients actually came from the (Moors) Moroccans, who once occupied Spain. The use of honey, almonds and pine nuts in many of their baked goods are examples of the Arab influence.


Polvorones get their name from the Spanish word polvo, or dust. They got this name because they break so easily. To protect these delicate cookies, many pastry shops sell them wrapped in tissue paper. Spanish polvorones are made with almonds. In Cuba, where almonds were scarce, the almonds were omitted from the recipe. Polvorones are not unique to Cuba - they are also enjoyed in several other Latin countries including Puerto Rico.




1 cup creamy white lard or shortening (such as Crisco)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla or almond extract



Preheat oven to 350F

In a large mixing bowl (or Kitchen Aid) beat shortening, sugar and vanilla until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.

Combine flour and salt.
Add flour mixture to shortening mixture all at once an mix until dough clings together.
Gather dough by teaspoonfuls, shape gently into small balls and roll into additional granulated sugar.

Place a slight indentation with your thumb on each cookie.

Place on un-greased baking sheet for 20 to 25 minutes.
They should still look pale in color when removed from the oven.

Makes about 1 to 5 dozen polvorones.