Bacon from Heaven

Toucinho de Céu (Bacon from Heaven)

There seem to be as many recipes for this cake as there are cooks; my simple version is inspired by the one Edite Vieira gives in her wonderful book The Taste of Portugal. She says that it originated in the Middle Ages in a convent (as so many Portuguese desserts did) and that original versions likely contained lard, thus the name which literally means ‘bacon from heaven’. Some toucinho de céu are enriched with jam, most notably fig and gilla (a popular Portuguese conserve made from spaghetti squash), while others use a mixture of yolks and whole eggs. I make this cake in small cake tins and cut it into little wedges to serve with coffee, but you can double the recipe and use a larger tin if you prefer. Whatever tin you use, only fill it a maximum of two-thirds full otherwise it may overflow as it cooks.

Serves 4–8

Ingredients
  • Butter, for greasing
  • 2 eggs
  • 90g castor sugar
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • 75g ground almond
  • 2 teaspoons plain flour
  • Icing sugar, for dusting
Method
  1. Butter 2 small non-stick springform cake tins (about 10.5cm in diameter).
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  3. Whisk eggs, sugar and cinnamon with an electric mixer for several minutes, until pale and thick.
  4. Sift in flour, add almond and gently fold them in.
  5. Spoon batter into the tins, ensuring they’re no more than two-thirds full, and place in oven for 10-15 minutes, until the top is golden and a wooden skewer inserted comes out with just a little mixture clinging to it.
  6. Set aside to cool then remove from tins and invert onto a cutting board.
  7. Cut into wedges and serve heavily dusted with icing sugar.

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