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Traditional Honey Cake of Madeira /trad. Xmas Cake of Madeira !

Ingredients
  • Excuse my English, please! You certainly will be a little frightened
  • when you see the quantities. My recipe is the traditional recipe
  • used since ever in the small villages of Madeira, where the cakes
  • always were baked at the big common oven of the village, because
  • nobody had an oven in his house. Because of the big families and
  • the expected visits, but also because the Honey Cake was thought
  • to be served all over the year, every family had to make several
  • cakes. Even if today the common ovens are less used, I left the
  • big quantities, because it is easy to transform the main ingredients
  • into smaller portions - I hope. I transformed the metric into
  • American measures, but left the metric in brackets (), for easy
  • control. Hope you enjoy!
  • 9 ounces (250 g) bread dough from the baker's shop
  • 90 ounces (2.5 kg) flour
  • 35 ounces (1 kg) sugar
  • 26 ounces (750 g) "banha", this is pork fat
  • 17 ounces (500 g) butter
  • 1 ounce (25 g) erva-doce, this is anise herbs, mashed and sifted
  • 1 3/4 ounce (50 g) canela, which is cinnamon
  • 1 ounce (25 g) cravinho da india, which are cloves in powder form
  • 17 ounces (500 g) walnut, cut into halves
  • 9 ounces (250 g) almonds, grinded in the cutter
  • 1 3/4 ounce (50 g) candied lemon peel, cut into cubes
  • 60 ounces (1.8 lt) pure honey
  • 5 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda, (dissolved in the Madeira Wine)
  • 1 cup of Madeira Wine
  • 4 oranges, first srape the skin and keep, then get the juice of them
Instructions

Bolo de Mel da Madeira. One day before making the cake buy the bread-dough at the baker's shop, pass a little bit of flour on the dough, put it in a towel and keep it in a warm place until next day. Put the bicarbonate of soda into the Madeira, dissolve. In a pan warm up the honey, join butter and pork fat (if not available, just use butter), dissolve. Let this mixture cool down. Sift flour into a bowl, join sugar, shape a crater and put the bread dough in the middle. Now work the flour-sugar-mixture into the bread dough. As soon as this is well joined, start to incorporate little by little the (tepid) honey-fat-mixture. Join (part of) the candied lemon peel, the cup of Madeira Wine, orange juce and raped orange skin, anise, cinnamon, cloves. Incorporate and knead thoroughly until the dough no more sticks on the bowl. Cover the dough with a towel and put it into a warm cover. Keep it in a warm place during 3-4 days. Divide the dough into parts of 250g or 500g or 750 g, depending on the forms to put into the oven. This cake is made in wide, round forms which are rather low. Before going into the oven, the cake is decorated with half-walnuts, sliced almonds and (the rest of) candied lemon peel. Grease the baking forms, bake about 50 minutes 355 F (180 C). Let cool down before taking out of baking form. In Madeira these honey cakes are made on 8 december, the day of Mary's Conception, because tradition says this cake only is good for Xmas if it is made on this day... It is custom to make enough of this cake in order to have some during all the year. Once cooled down and thouroughly wrapped into vegetable paper it remains good until next Xmas without loosing quality or taste. Seems a little bit long, but who knows? I think the cake is so good that it hardly survives so long ;-))

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