Let them eat cake from Portugal

by guest contributor Andreia Nunes

Just a little to introduce myself and the recipe…I’m a working mother of four children. I live in Cascais, a beautiful city closed to Lisbon in Portugal. I graduated in Economy but I have a very creative side and since maternity I’ve been sewing and knitting a lot and I really enjoy doing it. Maybe one day I can make a living from sewing and knitting.

My creative side expands to the kitchen…I enjoy cooking and baking and trying new ingredients and recipes. I love a good tasty handmade meal. As you could imagine with four little ones around, I’ve to find a good balance between creativity and pragmatism. In this context I found this cake recipe among the 5000 recipes of O Livro de Pantagruel, which is one of the great classics of the Portuguese culinary manuals.

This book was first published in 1946 and its author Bertha Rosa-Limpo, opera singer in the ’30s and ’40s, wrote in the preface:

“This book will provide some moments of joy, because great cuisine contributes mightily to the positive atmosphere in the family.”

Well, she was absolutely right. Almost 50 years later, I can confirm that! The recipe I bring you today is one that we do so many times and have fun making it and eating it. And its easy for the children to help (my 2 year old son is the main enthusiast and assistant) and it’s affordable so, very appropriate for this time of crisis.

I hope you sincerely have some moments of joy making and eating this cake.

250 gr flour
250 gr brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter
200 ml milk
cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon zest
2 teaspoons baking powder

  1. Mix softened butter with sugar.
  2. Add the egg (I usually beat eggs in advance).
  3. Add cinnamon + nutmeg + lemon zest.
  4. Mix the milk alternately with flour and the baking powder.
  5. And it is now ready to bake. It is not a very big cake so I usually bake it in a 23x13x7 cm loaf tin.

P.S. Here’s a handy conversion tool for those in other parts of the world.

5 thoughts on “Let them eat cake from Portugal

  1. @Bern: Thank you! I used wheat flour (without baking power); cinnamon and nutmeg and lemon zest about one teaspoon of each (but actually I never measure it).

  2. This cake looks lovely but could you please post the measurements for the cinnamon, nutmeg and the lemon zest as well as what sort of flour you used? With thanks, Bern in Australia

  3. oh such a delicious cake! i have not tried it yet, but the photography inspires me to say this! i seem to not be able to bake a cake on my traditional oven… i have to figure out temperature… high, medium or minimum… and that’s it! congratulations on being here andreia! hugs to both of you! twiggs

  4. This is exactly why I read this blog — so many wonderful voices with lovely (and tasty!) ideas from all around the world. I love a recipe with a good story behind it. I cannot wait to make this! Thank you for sharing, Andreia!

  5. So very happy to see a guest contributor from Portugal (porque também sou portuguesa! 🙂 ). I’ll most certainly try this recipe in the coming weekend, and enjoy its outcome. Thank you for sharing it here. ^_^

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