A light and flavorsome cake with no-fuss preparation, Portuguese Honey Cake (locally known as Bolo de Mel) is an excellent treat for afternoon snacks or after-meal dessert. Serve it with coffee, tea, or even with a glass of wine!
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First, this is not the same as Madeira’s Honey Cake, which uses lard and more spices.
This moist honey cake uses fewer ingredients and is perfect for making when you’re short of time.
The spices are so subtle that it only complements the overlying sweetness from the honey — simply delicious.
IF YOU WANT MORE PORTUGUESE RECIPES, THEN YOU WILL LIKE THESE POSTS!
- Flour – you only need all-purpose flour for this bolo de mel recipe.
- Olive oil – I strongly suggest using mild extra virgin olive oil.
- Eggs – at room temperature.
- Baking powder – just use your favorite brand.
- Honey – go for whatever flavor you like; I always reach for the fruity flavored ones.
- Cinnamon powder – use what you have on hand.
- Butter – softened
- Almonds – you would only be using it on top of the cake, not on the batter.
- Brown sugar – you can replace brown sugar with white sugar, but the cake will have a lighter color.
The same goes for if you use a darker shade of brown sugar, you will have a deeper color for your cake.
- Anise – if you cannot find anise or anisette powder, you can use fennel seeds instead. You have to ground the seeds into powder form, though (yep, time to use your mortar and pestle for this one).
Both spices have a bit of licorice taste and aroma. The same flavor you get from liquors like Ouzo (Greek) or Sambuca (Italian).
Start by preheating your oven to 180°C (350°F).
Grease the cake pan with softened butter and sprinkle some flour. Set aside.
Using a medium-sized bowl, sift and mix the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon powder (photo 1).
On a separate large bowl, cream the egg yolks with the brown sugar.
Add the softened butter, olive oil, honey, and anise powder. Mix to combine thoroughly.
Add the dry ingredients and mix just enough to combine (photo 2).
Using a medium-sized to a large bowl, beat the egg whites until they’re stiff.
Fold a third of the beaten egg whites into the cake batter (photo 3).
Add the remaining egg whites and continue folding to combine.
Pour the cake batter into the greased cake pan and tap it into the counter to remove bubbles.
Sprinkle some almonds on top (photo 4).
Place the cake pan in the lower half of the oven for thirty-five to forty minutes.
Remove from the oven and set aside the honey cake for at least five minutes.
Serve, and sprinkle some more almonds on top, if desired.
- Add some salt if you are using unsalted butter.
- Make sure that your sugar had dissolved when you’re mixing it with the egg yolks.
- If you cannot find anise powder, buy the seeds and ground them using a mortar and pestle.
- To get a deeper color for your honey cake, you can use a darker shade of honey; the same goes for brown sugar.
- Remember to tap the pan on your counter before placing it in the oven. It helps in removing bubbles from your cake batter.
- Place your cake pan in the lower part of the oven to prevent the almonds from browning too much.
- Fennel seeds. If you cannot find anise seeds or powder, fennel seeds ground into powder are an excellent substitute.
You can keep it at room temperature for 5 to 6 days, but not in direct sunlight.
However, if you want to keep it fresher, I suggest storing it in the refrigerator instead. Just stash it in an airtight container, then place it in the fridge for more extended storage.
Just make sure you place it in a tight freezer-free container first.
Bolo de Mel Recipe (Portuguese Honey Cake)
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Grease and flour an 8-inch cake pan; then set aside.
MAKING THE HONEY CAKE BATTER:
- Sift and mix flour, baking powder, and cinnamon into a medium-sized bowl.
- Using a separate large mixing bowl, cream egg yolks and sugar.
- Add the softened butter, honey, olive oil and aniseed powder. Mix.
- Add the sifted dry ingredients. Mix until just combine.
- Using a separate medium bowl, whip egg whites to stiff peaks.
- Fold beaten egg whites into the cake batter.
BAKING AND SERVING BOLO DE MEL:
- Pour cake mixture into greased and floured pan.
- Tap cake pan on the counter to remove bubbles on the mixture.
- Sprinkle with sliced almonds on top.
- Place cake pan in the lower part of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a dry toothpick comes out when you test the center.
- Remove pan from the oven and set aside for at least 15 minutes.
- Transfer into a serving plate.
- Slice and serve individually, sprinkling with more sliced almonds, if desired.
- Cook’s Tip #1: Do not forget to add some salt if you are using unsalted butter.
- Cook’s Tip #2: When mixing the egg yolks with sugar, make sure that your sugar has been dissolved.
- Cook’s Tip #3: A darker shade of honey and brown sugar will result in a deeper color of this simple honey cake.
- Cook’s Tip #4: Tap the cake pan on top of your counter before placing it in the oven to remove bubbles from your cake batter. You will not remove all the bubbles, but this trick will surely lessen them.
- Cook’s Tip #5: The lower part of the oven is the best place to bake this honey cake. It ensures that your sliced almonds will not get too dark too soon
- Variation #1: Fennel seeds ground into powder are a good substitute for anise seeds. If you can only find anise seeds, you need to ground them to use in this recipe.
- Variation #2: You can replace brown sugar with regular white sugar, but keep in mind that it will change your cake color.