No celebration would be complete without a feast. Traditionally, the family and perhaps neighbors in the community would all help prepare a home-cooked array of dishes for the reception. However, this has largely shifted over to the practice of hiring a caterer to provide the meal -- another aspect that makes the quinceañera similar to a wedding.
As researchers have pointed out, the kinds of food at a quinceañera celebration will reflect the particular culture, as well as the social class and financial resources of the family. Mexican-American quinceañeras will usually include a variety of foods, including enchiladas, tamales, chicken mole, and staples like rice and beans [source: Candelaria].
Of course, another essential element to a classic quinceañera is the cake. Large and often elaborate in design, the cake is a centerpiece of the celebration. Common varieties of cake for a quinceañera include almond meringue cake, or a spongy cake known as tres leches, which, as its name implies, is made with three types of milk [source: Castella].