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Traditional Honey Cake of Madeira /trad. Xmas Cake of Madeira !
Bolo de Mel da Madeira

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
1.75 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
1.75 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

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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