Pão de Ló de Alfeizerão – Portuguese Sponge Cake Alfeizerão Style

This is a cake which was once served to a King of Portugal has become the traditional cake of AlfAlfeizerão and is famous throughout Portugal.

In Portuguese tradition, it is said that this cake has its origins from the Monastery of Stª. Maria de Cós, a nuns convent which was founded in the Twelfth century by Abott D. Fernando in Cós, Alcobaca, Portugal.

Around the Fourteenth century, the nuns of the monastery taught the Pão-de-ló , recipe to local women of the nearby town of AlfAlfeizerão which is a few miles from Alcobaca and was the home town of the Sir Knight Vitorino Froes, a close friend of the then King Don Carlos.

The King often visited Knight Froes estate S. Martinho do Porto, where the best delicacies and desserts where served. Pão-de-ló was a favorite and revered dessert at that time. The legend is that, on one occasion, the cake was served slightly unbaked which gave it a runny consistency in the middle upon slicing it. However, the king instantly fell in love with this cake and from then on insisted it be served in this same way.

The recipe below is in both English and Portuguese in (red) text. Enjoy!

Pão de Ló de Alfeizerão



4 eggs – 4 ovos;

8 egg yolks – 8 gemas;

1 and 1/4 cup granulated sugar – 250 g de açúcar;

1 cup flour – 125 g de farinha;

1 teaspoon whiskey – 1 colher (chá) de aguardente; (optional)

Zest from 1/4 of 1 lemon – raspa de ¼ de limão; (optional)

Butter or margarine for greasing pan – manteiga (para untar)



Beat the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, with the lemon zest and the teaspoon of whiskey for about 10 minutes until light and fluffy and double the volume.

Bata as gemas, os ovos e o açúcar, com a raspa de limão e a colher de chá de aguardente, até obter um creme fofo e volumoso.

Fold in the flour gently until all incorporated.

Junte suavemente a farinha sem bater muito.

Grease a cake pan very well or use and bake the cake at 320 F. for about 15-20 minutes.

Unte uma forma com manteiga. Leve ao forno a 160ºC, durante cerca de 15 a 20 minutos.

Remove the cake slowly from the pan so it does not split open.

You may bake in a round cake pan which is lined with parchment paper.

Deve ser desenformado cuidadosamente para não abrir.

Nota: para o pão-de-ló de Alfeizerão há umas formas artesanais feitas propositadamente. Também o pode fazer em forma redonda lisa, forrada com papel.


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