Bolo Menino


Rich Sponge Cake

This is a rich, traditional sponge cake, served at Christmas time, using 20 eggs. Menino (Child) refers to the baby Jesus. Two recipes are presented here: one by Alzira d’Assumpção and a historical one “Bolo Menino de D. Amalia”.

Bolo Menino from Alzira d’Assumpção

20 egg yolks

10 egg whites

9 oz | 250g biscuit crumbs

10½ oz | 300g pine nuts, roasted and ground to powder

1 lb 5 oz | 600g sugar

1 coconut, grated (or oz | 170g desiccated coconut, soaked in coconut milk)

2 tsp baking powder, dissolved in a little milk

Beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale and smooth.

Beat the egg whites to stiff peak stage, then fold into the egg yolk mixture.

Stir in the biscuits, coconut and pine nuts, and then the dissolved baking powder.

Pour into a mould and bake in an oven, preheated to 180°C for about 30 minutes, checking by piercing with a skewer which should emerge clean.

Invert the mould to a cake rack and sprinkle with icing sugar.

Adapted from Bolo Menino de Dona Amália, recorded by Sedaliza Luiz, via Alzira d’Assumpção.     Read the original recipe | Leia a receita original

5 egg whites, 10 egg yolks

8 oz | 225g sugar

3½ oz | 100g pine nuts

2½ oz | 75g almonds

2½ oz | 75g grated coconut

2½ oz | 75g bread or Marie biscuits

4½ oz | 125g butter, melted

If using bread, toast in the oven.

Roast the pine nuts, almonds and coconut until golden brown, then process these, and the toast or Marie biscuits in a blender.

Beat the egg whites to the peak stage.

In a separate bowl, cream the yolks and sugar, then fold in the beaten egg whites and lastly the ground ingredients.

Pour the mixture into a baking tin and cover it with a flat metal tray to prevent burning.

Preheat the oven to 180°C and bake for about half an hour, testing with a skewer until done.

Drizzle the melted butter over the hot cake and stab with a skewer to allow the butter to sink in.

When the cake is lukewarm, tip it onto a plate and when cool, sprinkle icing sugar on top through a sieve.

Variation attributed to Mary Pereira, a neighbour of Sedaliza Luiz when she lived next to the church in Sto António: Instead of adding the butter after cooking, do so before but mix gently so that it does not all sit at the bottom.
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