Portuguese Almond Cake (Toucinho do Céu)

The name of this Portuguese dessert translates to "heaven's lard" or "bacon from heaven," and it'll turn you into a believer

Bakers in Portugal make over 200 different types of pastries and other baked goods, and most of them can trace their origins to the time of the arrival of the Moors. By the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, convents were employing women and nuns to make sweets to help support their abbeys and charity work, and sold everything from behind cloistered gates. Even today, many of the desserts still have names with religious connotations like toucinho do céu, which means "heaven's lard" or "bacon from heaven." The name is two-fold, because it uses pork lard to make the cake and also because it is an unbelievably delicious treat — and one of the most popular and traditional Portuguese desserts in existence.

This recipe comes courtesy of EasyPortugueseRecipes.com.

6
Servings
489
Calories Per Serving
Deliver Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup water
  • 1 1/4 Cup sugar
  • 1/8 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 Cup ground almonds, skinless
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (plus extra for greasing the pan)
  • 5 Egg yolks
  • 2 Whole eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon almond extract (or Amaretto)
  • 1 Teaspoon orange zest, finely grated
  • 2 Tablespoons pork lard
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.

Line a cake mold with parchment paper. Grease with butter and dust lightly with flour.

Bring the water, sugar, salt, and pork lard to a boil in a big saucepan. Add the ground almonds.

Stir gently but constantly, over medium-low heat, until the almond mixture starts to thicken and you can expose the bottom of the pan by stirring, or about 2 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter. Mix until the butter is melted and blended well.

In a medium bowl, lightly whisk the yolks and eggs. Pour into the almond mixture and mix with a spatula.

Add the amaretto and orange zest and stir well.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cake is firm in the center and the top is lightly golden brown, or about 28-30 minutes (if you over-bake it, the cake becomes chewy).

Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool. After the cake has cooled for about 20 minutes, invert the cake onto a platter. Lift off the pan, peel off the parchment paper, and invert the cake on a serving plate with the topside up.

Cut the cake into wedges. Serve at room temperature and enjoy.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
33g
47%
Sugar
1g
1%
Saturated Fat
7g
29%
Cholesterol
57mg
19%
Carbohydrate, by difference
31g
24%
Protein
18g
39%
Vitamin A, RAE
30µg
4%
Vitamin B-12
2µg
83%
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
4µg
4%
Calcium, Ca
21mg
2%
Choline, total
1mg
0%
Fiber, total dietary
6g
24%
Folate, total
31µg
8%
Iron, Fe
3mg
17%
Magnesium, Mg
22mg
7%
Niacin
3mg
21%
Phosphorus, P
162mg
23%
Selenium, Se
14µg
25%
Sodium, Na
152mg
10%
Water
51g
2%
Zinc, Zn
4mg
50%

Portuguese Shopping Tip

Plan out and shop for a week's worth of dinners. Keep essential oils, spices, and herbs in your pantry at all times.

Portuguese Cooking Tip

Applesauce and plain yogurt are good fat substitutes in most recipes. For maximum texture and flavor, replace no more than half the amount of the fat listed in the recipe.