Bolo de Mel is a unique molasses fruit cake made in Madeira Island, Portugal. This cake is typically made around Christmas. Follow the recipe to learn how to continue this beautiful, tasty family tradition.
Bolo de Mel | 600 Year Old Dessert from Madeira Island, Portugal
- ½ cup water
- 1 pinch sugar
- 1 packet yeast 7g
- 5 lbs flour 2270g
- 26 oz lard 737g
- 26 oz butter 737g
- 36 oz molasses 1021g
- 5 cups sugar 1021g
- 4 tbsp baking soda 60g
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp Anise (Aniseed) 25g
- 6 tbsp cinnamon 50g
- 2 tbsp cloves (ground) 25g
- 1½ cup walnuts, chopped 180g
- 2 cups slivered almonds 250g
- 8 oz candied orange peel, diced 227g
- 8 oz dried cherries 227g
- 2 lemons zest
- 4 oranges juice and zest
- 1½ cups Madeira wine sub. Tawny or Ruby Port, or Cream of Sherry
- Warm the water to 100-115°F add a pinch of sugar and allow the yeast to hydrate for 10 minutes. After the yeast has hydrated for 10 minutes mix in a 1/2 cup of flour. Allow this mixture to ferment for about 30-60 minutes, while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
- In about an 8-12 quart pot, add the lard, butter, and molasses. Cook over low heat until the lard and butter have melted.
- In a large frying pan toast the walnuts and almonds for about 5-10 minutes or until golden brown.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and baking soda. Add the black pepper, aniseed, cloves, cinnamon, toasted almonds, toasted walnuts, candied orange peel, dried cherries and zest of the lemons and oranges. Once they are well mixed make a hole in the middle of the mixture and add the orange juice, fermented sponge/yeast starter and Madeira wine.
- Once the butter/lard mixture is cooled to 130°F or cooler, incorporate it into the rest of the ingredients. Stir until all the dry flour is incorporated. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and let sit for about 24 hours in a warm space.
- Butter the cake pans. Fill the pans about 1" from the top. Decorate the top of the cake with nuts. Bake in the oven at 350°F for 40-60 minutes, depending on the size of the cake, or until the internal temperature is 190°F.
- Let the finished cakes cool for 30-60 minutes before taking them out of the cake pan. Once cooled, wrap the cake in plastic wrap.