Azorean Spice Cake 24.000

Vanessa Courtier

Dec 16, 2009

This rich, yeasted fruitcake is a Portuguese-Guyanese Christmas specialty. It's very easy to make; the long resting/rising time for the firm batter makes for a particularly mellow cake.

Make Ahead: The batter needs 2 to 3 days' resting time at room temperature to proof. The baked cakes can be wrapped well and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Servings: 24 - 36
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 ounce (1 packet; 2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • Scant 4 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • Generous 1/2 cup molasses, warmed (it can be added to the cooling butter)
  • Scant 1/3 cup honey, warmed (it can be added to the cooling butter)
  • 1 1/3 cups blanched almonds, chopped
  • 4 cups walnut pieces, chopped
  • Scant 1/2 cup mixed candied peel


Combine the flour, sugar, yeast, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, ground ginger and baking soda in a large bowl; mix well. Add the butter, molasses and honey. Knead the dough (in the bowl) until everything is well mixed. Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and let it sit at a cool room temperature for 2 to 3 days.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use nonstick cooking oil spray to grease two 9-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with parchment paper and use the spray on the paper.

Knead the nuts and candied peel into the dough. Divide the dough evenly between the 2 prepared pans, flattening it into the bottom of each. Smooth the tops, moistening your hand with a little water if necessary. Bake both pans on the middle rack for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the cakes are set and firm. Remove from the oven and let cool until just lukewarm, then run a rounded knife around the inside edges of the pans to release the cakes; transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely before serving or storing.

To serve, cut into thin wedges.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "Warm Bread and Honey Cake," by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra (Interlink, 2009).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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