Friday, July 15, 2005

SHF # 10 - Bolo de Mel (Honey Cake)

From my mother's recipes I chose Honey Cake, a very typical Portuguese Cake. Thanks to Nic from Bakingsheet to host today's Sugar High Friday event and for having chosen honey as the theme.

The unusual thing in this cake is the use of olive oil as the fat ingredient and this is another of the Portuguese cakes that you will find everywhere. Every region has its own version of the recipe: Bolo de Mel da Madeira (Madeira Honey Cake), Bolo Podre (Rotten Cake or Putrid Cake). There are versions of Rotten Cake in all provinces of Portugal, each one a version specific to that particular province. The base of the recipe remain the same: olive oil, honey, eggs, flour, cinnamon, lemon zest and baking soda. Each area has variations in the spices they add (ground cloves and/or ground anise seed), and the addition of nuts (mostly walnuts and pine nuts) or dried fruits (raisins or citron). This unusual name was given because of the colour of the cake, a light brownish hue, but of course the cake is not rotten, it is very good indeed. My own cake has a deep brown colour due to the large quantity of cinnamon. It actually looks more like milk chocolate cake. The perfume is unmistakable though.

Mom's recipe is simply called Honey Cake but this was not the only recipe of this type (olive oil and honey) she had in the book, each with a different title, and I looked at several before deciding on this one. The other recipes include other spices and/or dried fruits or nuts.

I made 1/2 recipe only. The batter is quite liquidy and I was afraid it would not cook well, or that it would remain gooey inside but, as you can see in the pictures, it came out well, except that it got a little burnt on top, probably because I cooked it in my toaster oven and the top did not have enough clearance from the element. Since I had no indication of oven temperature I started at 350F (180C), but I think that 325F is probably better.

The cake is tender and moist and surprisingly not too sweet. The taste is subdued and I think that the next time I will add a little ground nutmeg or cloves. It needs a little kick.

Bolo de Mel (Honey Cake)

4 eggs
1 cup honey
1 cup olive oil
1 cup milk
Grated rind of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
250 gr. all-purpose flour
200 gr. sugar

Grease a loaf pan with olive oil. Pre-heat oven to 325F (160C).

Mix all the ingredients. This cake should not be mixed for too long. The batter will be fairly liquid and there might be little lumps of flour still floating around by the time you are ready to pour the batter in the pan.

Bake for about one hour on until a tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and wait for about 10 minutes before unmolding onto a rack.

You can eat it on its own or with a little cream. I tried mine with a little sweetened yougurt, as you see in the picture above, but actually prefer it on its own.


Tarzile said...

Ouch. Il a l'air délicieux, ce gâteau au miel. Miamm.


Ruth said...

Ana, what an interesting rationale for such a terrible name. It certainly looks good enough to eat, as they say.

Carolyn said...


Your new site design is wonderful! And your honey cake looks so good.

And what a lucky duck on that bungalow!

stef said...

ooh, that looks delicious! and i love the little history lesson.

FoodNinja said...

Loafy Goodness.... I like the new out lay as well.... cant wait to see what you do for the IMBB tea challenge...

Ana said...

Thanks for all the nice comments. I'm glad you all like the new template. I'm very happy with it too.

Liz said...

Great new template! Your cake looks pretty too. I love the idea of serving it with sweetened yogurt, sadly I don't think I'll bother trying it on my cake. :o)

Lori said...

It's the picture that does it for me. You can really see the texture -- it looks so moist and spongy. Excellent!


emily said...

I saw these cakes when I was in Macau and have been thinking about making them for a while now...but its your pictures that have convinced me to get cracking on it! They look gooooood.

Ana said...

Liz: Hey maybe with a little help your cake would taste better! I found that mine also needs a litlle kick and that's why I plan to add some nutmeg the next time I make it.

Lori: I'm glad you liked the picture.

Emily: Good luck with the cake. Hope you like it.

J said...

hi ana, that looks so moist and utterly delicious...cheers,j

Ana said...

Thanks J. It is actually not too bad!

Petit said...

That looks delicious. So many things to try from this months SHF - there goes my diet:-)

Dawna said...

Oh, yum! Honey cake is such a treat - and it keeps very well, too, if you can restrain yourself from eating it all at once! I also prefer honey cake without fruit or nuts, although a little spice is definitely a good thing. What a beautiful cake!

Amy said...

This sounds right up my alley--I love baked goods that use olive oil instead of butter and those slices look so moist and delicious!

Ana said...

Petit: I'm with you there. I'm keeping my eye in some of the recipes I want to try, but none of them are diet-friendly.

Dawna: thanks!

Amy: The cake is moist and tender and you don't "feel" the olive oil.

Jennifer said...

Ana this honey cake sounds really quite delicious - dense but light at the same time.

Thanks so much for joining in on SHF again this month!

Ana said...

Jennifer, you can count on me for Sugar High Fridays anytime. I have a terrible sweet tooth.

Elvira said...

Que maravilha, Ana! Há um sítio, em Alcáçovas (Alentejo) onde fazem um bolo de mel muito parecido. Obviamente, nunca resisto!