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Recipe Bolo do Mel – Madeiran Honey Cake


  • 45g or 1/3 cup finely chopped raisins, dates, or cranberries
  • 45g or 1/3 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 250g or 2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 45g or 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 113g or ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 55g or ¼ cup vegetable shortening
  • ¼ tsp ground star anise
  • 85g or ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 8 g or 1 package active dry yeast
  • 175g or ½ cup honey


  • Take 125g of flour and mix all the chopped nuts and dry fruits, so it is all evenly coated. Set it aside.
  • Meanwhile sift the remaining flour with the baking soda and ground cloves, cinnamon, star anise, yeast and set aside.
  • Now cream together the butter, shortening, and brown sugar until fluffy.
  • Add in the eggs, one at a time and mix well.
  • Now add the honey and give it one final stir with the hand mixer, making sure you scrape the sides of the bowl from time to time.
  • Add the sifted dry ingredients to this and fold gently using a spatula. At this point, the batter is quite loose.
  • Now fold in the fruits and nuts mixture that is coated with flour. The batter is now quite thick.
  • Transfer the batter to a large well-greased bowl, covered with a clean dry cloth, and allow it to rise in a warm spot for 2 hours. Note: The batter will rise only slightly, but it will become spongy and light.
  • Grease an 8-inch pan with butter and line with baking paper.
  • After 2 hours stir the batter down and transfer it to the greased pan. I used an 8” pan because I wanted a tall cake.
  • Using whole almonds make daisy type flower on the top of the batter which gives it its signature look.
  • Cover with a cloth and allow to rise again for 1 ½ hour.
  • Toward the end of the second rising, preheat the oven at 170 degrees C.
  • I made a baking strip using a thin muslin cloth dipped in cold water and wrapped it in aluminum foil to make a long strip. I then wrapped this strip around the baking tin so the cooking and rise of the caking are evener.
  • When the batter looks properly risen, bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until it begins to pull away from the edges of the pans and feel springy to the touch.
  • Cool the cake right-side-up for 10 minutes, loosen the sides with a knife and turn the cake out. Allow cooling before cutting.
  • These cakes keep well in the freezer for about six months if wrapped in foil and plastic wrap. The cake can be drizzled with Madeira wine before freezing and after defrosting.
  • In Madeira, the popular way to frost these cakes is to sift confectionery sugar on the top.

Enjoy 🙂

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