Cubans love celebration cakes. But there’s an art to getting them home in one piece.

Wander down any street in Cuba and chances are you’ll spot someone walking towards you, trying to balance a ridiculously huge cake.

You’ll spot people carrying cakes on the local buses too. That’s an even more precarious endeavour considering the state of Cuban buses. And Cuban roads.

Celebration cakes are an essential part of Cuban life. Not just for birthdays, but for graduations, weddings, even ‘Sweet 15’ festivities. 

Crossing a road with cake in Cuba
Bici Taxi in Cuba delivering a cake

Cakes are so integral to Cuban life that every child has the right to a state-subsidised birthday cake until they are 10 years old. 

The cakes are incredibly cheap – prices start from as little as 20 pesos (around $1USD). There’s a hitch though. Cuban patisseries don’t provide boxes.

Instead, Cubans are left to carry their elaborate celebration cakes home on a flimsy paper plate.

It’s quite the show watching them negotiate broken pavements and avoid reckless drivers, employing a high level of skill and élan.

Just don’t get in the way. Cubans have already got enough on their plate without having to deal with a clumsy and unpredictable tourist.

Anthony DePalma on Cuban cakes

Latin America expert and author of The Cubans, Anthony DePalma, talks about the crazy cake-carrying Cubans he came across in Havana.

Main image: Man carrying a cake home on a bus in Cuba (© Shutterstock)