07 January 2010

Pão de ló

When I was a child, I remember spending a lot of time with my mom in the kitchen. I would watch her closely, absolutely fascinated by how she could combine different ingredients to make the yummiest of meals! I was my mom's helper, no one else ever wanted to help and for me, it came naturally. Day after day, I would ask what she needed, and found myself peeling potatoes, stirring the béchamel or pouring a thin string of olive oil for the mayonnaise. I treasured those moments and acquired an everlasting love for cooking (even though still to this day anything I try to replicate still never tastes like my mom's...!).

Baking was by far my favorite thing to do (maybe because I am such a sweet tooth!!), so my mom taught me how to make the simplest of cakes: pão de ló. A staple in Portuguese culinary, with as many varieties as there are regions in Portugal, the simplified version of this sweet cake only requires four eggs, same weight in sugar, same weight in flour and a tablespoon of baking powder. When my mom finally let me make this cake all by myself from scratch, I felt a tremendous sense of pride and I knew my love for cooking would last a lifetime!


4 large eggs
same weight in sugar (about 1 cup)
same weight in flour (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon baking powder

Separate egg yolks from whites. Beat yolks with sugar until creamy in consistency and color. Add flour and baking powder. Beat egg whites until they peak, then gently fold into the mixture (add a little bit first, as the mixture might be thick, then add the rest). Cook in greased bundt pan at 350 F for about 25 minutes. Enjoy!

P.S. I have struggled for a long time with the fact that my computer keyboard does not allow me to write accented letters... In case you haven't noticed, the Portuguese language is heavily accented!! After searching online, I found a table for Alt Key codes, and it has been a blessing!!! I am sure there is an easier (and faster) way to do it, but until then, I am sticking to this! Just press the alt key and the corresponding number on the table, and you get an accented letter!! You can find it here.


  1. Is this like Portuguese sweet bread? I grew up eating that and it's my favorite. I'll try this anyway, but I was just wondering. Where is Portugal is your family from? My grandfather and great grandparents came from near Lisbon.

  2. The finished product looks like pound it similar? The recipe is just about as simple, but oh my the taste is heavenly! I like the name of yours better...sounds prettier!

  3. what a sweet ( no pun intended ) story!! i think i will pass on to my daughter is how to make popcorn and mac and
    your cake looks a little like an angel food one, but more dense. i might try making it tomorrow!! thanks for the recipe!!

  4. Querida,

    Just go to this site. Type your entry in Portuguese by clicking onto the letters you need. Select all and copy when you are done. Paste text wherever you need it to be. Extremely simple.

    Boa Sorte! Beijinho

  5. Oh, yummy. It looks rather like what the English call a Maderia Cake, which is wonderful.

    I now have a French keyboard, so I can do all the accents, but I got really confused when I visited family in the UK and had to go back to QWERTY.

  6. Really enjoy your comments about cooking with your mom, Isabel! My love of baking is firmly rooted in my grandmother's gift . . . that's how she showed her love to others. Talk about a sweet tooth, we grew up with hand-dipped chocolates, candies of all kinds, pies, cakes--you name it. My Grandma was an entrepreneur, baking wedding cakes and boxing her signature chocolates for all the dentists in town, who gifted their customers with these each Christmas. Now that's an act I can't follow, but oh so many happy memories of her!

    Happy New Year Isabel!


  7. Thanks Isabel for the recipe.
    I too grew up eating this and I actually still live fairly close to a great Portuguese bakery so I get to eat it often.. I love this simple cake and I happen to have all the ingredients, so I'm off to make it!

  8. No one cooks/bakes like my mom did and my greatest gift was to one day overhear my daughter say the same thing...
    Can't wait to give the cake a try!!


  9. Well, your Pao de Lo recipe is baking in the over this Sunday morning. DH's grandmother was Portuguese and ahe always made masa for them at Easter and Christmas. I'm wondering how he will think this compares to the Portuguese Sweet Bread. It sure makes a pretty batter (the Pao de Lo).
    Also, I've really enjoyed getting the html codes for accent marks, math symbols, etc! Thank you for sharing that, too.

    Have a good weekend~

  10. So happy to have found your site as I searched for a recipe for Pao de Lo. I'm also from Portugal, but am now in Pittsburgh, PA. Great links for the accents. I'm sure my family will be happy to see properly written Portuguese!

  11. I just got your name from a person that is on my Azores Genealogy Group. I was asking if anyone had the recipe for Bola Pao, not Bola Pao de Lo-Cake. My mother use to make it because it was my grandmother's (my father's mother) favorite and because she always said once she passed on to make this in memory of her. I always like it too. It's made with lots of eggs, sugar, honey, cinnamon and oil. It's very dark-black and brown through it, thick, heavy and moist. My mother use to say it was called in English spoiled cake because the eggs with the sugar once baked turns almost black like it's rotten or spoiled. I can't find the recipe or what I have I'm not sure if it's correct. Can you help me?

  12. Linda, if you are reading this, I do not have your email address to reply to, and your profile is unavailable... Please send me an email, so I can reply!

  13. Nice cake one of my favorite the same as my grandma. Thanks for the tip for tip for the accents in portuguse

  14. Prazer em conhece-la virtualmente. Adoro o seu blog. Larissa (brasileira)


I so enjoy and appreciate your comments!! Thank you so much for stopping by!!!

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin