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Madeira honey cake

Updated on August 16, 2012

Imagine a circle about 18 cm in diameter and four cm tall. Imagine it have a dark color and is covered with candied fruit and nuts like walnuts. Imagine that you can break the circle with your hand and crack it, eat it and be delighted with the taste of honey cane and spices thrown latches wisely.
Well, if you have not had the opportunity to prove, in reality, you don’t know what you're missing. It's honey cake, a traditional Christmas product in Madeira but can be saved an entire year without losing any of its features.
The honey cake is made from sugar cane honey, a prophylactic product regenerator of the human organism and, moreover, is a food grade natural, made from cane sugar, with many minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium and copper, and also vitamins B1, B2 and PP.
If you are intrigued and happy to prove it has three ways to do: either go to the island of Madeira, or purchase in online portals like Madeira in a box, or may choose to make the cake. For the latter case I give you the recipe. One of them I find in

Madeira Honey Cake

Preparation time: 31 until 45 minutes

Level of difficulty: Medium

To 6 people

Ingredients for baking:

  • 500 grams of plain flour
  • 30 grams of yeast (baker's yeast)
  • 3 dl + - Water

How to do?
Knead the flour with yeast, make a ball and cover with a plastic
let dough rise 2-3 hours.


  • 1000 g plain flour
  • 350 grams sugar
  • 300 grams butter
  • 150 grams lard
  • 1.5 grams (+-) cloves
  • 1.5 grams (+-) fennel
  • 15 grams cinnamon
  • 50 grams walnuts
  • 50 grams chopped almonds
  • lemon zest
  • 400 grams of assorted candied fruit
  • 150 grams sultanas
  • 15 grms baking soda
  • 1 orange, juice
  • 8 dl honey (sugar cane from Madeira)
  • 2 dl Madeira wine

Instructions for preparation:

Knead the margarine and sugar until creamy, add the spices and the juice of an orange and a little zest, add melted lard and honey (heated) together, add flour and baking, kneading + - five minutes add the yeast previously kneaded dough and another 2 - 3 minutes, add the fruit and knead five minutes.

Leave baking 24 hours (+-).

Bake in a greased and lined (only the bottom of the pan) with parchment paper, fill the forms and decorate with almonds and walnuts on top, bake at a temperature of 180 degrees.
You need to use circular forms with background and with a diameter of 15 cm and 4 cm in height and weight put up to 3 cm in height.

Honey cane factory of Ribeiro Sêco

Now that you have the recipe I can say that in just a wood factory dedicated solely to producing sugar cane honey. One of these days I went there.

"Taste and tradition." The words are in green t-shirts that workers in the Honey cane factory of Ribeiro Sêco have dressed in that penultimate day of receipt and crushing cane sugar in the factory established since 1883 in Funchal.
In essence, the words reflect the final viscous product that results from a plant grown for centuries on the island of Madeira after 22 hours of intensive work.
From 12-28 April, three shifts with a total of 50 people do not give rest to the steam engines working 24 hours a day.
One day after finishing work in 2010, only six people stay to work all year.
For the histotic company of Vasco Melim, that sharing with the children, recived on 2010, more than a thousand tons of cane sugar coming from the west side of the island. A number greater than 2009, with a record 935 tonnes.

John Melim don't bought more cane sugar because they are limited to the ability to sctoks the company, which still keeps productions of previous years.
A reality but he regrets that results from lower demand for honey in the market.

Moreover, states that the new crops are happening constantly believe that things will change.

That day we visited the factory adjoining the bridge Ribeiro Sêco, in Funchal city, capital of the island, we found lot of hassle. All chained to the machinery of succession would cause the solid to liquid and viscous ended input to output. Machinery that works to fuel oil.

As shown in the explanation of the factory, the honey-cane is the culmination of a process that begins with the collection of cane sugar.
In the factory, the canes are made in two mills. Known devices, is where do the extraction of juice from sugar cane, called guarapa.
The solid passes twice in the mill before being routed by a sleeve directly onto a large truck that will take cows to feed and fertilize the land.

After that, guarapa is piped to a first filtration. Follow in the clarifiers and cooking after a new filter that ensures an extremely rigorous process of product improvement.

In the next phase, the guarapa enters the evaporators to continue the process of cooking and boiling of water still exists.

In the final phase, a new cooking. And the last filter before the introduction of the syrup in vacuum boiler.

In the last step, since honey as sugar cane, the product is passed to a reservoir where it sits and cools naturally for many days from one month to a month and a half, says John Melim accompanying us on the visit.
For the company, the honey-cane is much more than a witness of history is a living product, modern, constantly adapting production of which is a real art.
One more note to mention that in addition the company sells honey honey cakes and muffins Honey.

History of the factory

Historically, the ingenuity of Ribeiro Sêco comes at the hands of Caesar Aluísio Bettencourt in 1883. It is in the direction of a son, Luís Bettencourt, the name of the plant is confused with the honey itself.
With the closure of the mills of liquor in 1927, Luis Bettencourt Vogado mortgage all its assets and uses the bank to invest in the factory, making it a mill specialized in the production of honey-cane.

The Honey cane factory of Ribeiro Sêco is well known for ingenuity of honey.
With his death, the factory is now managed by his wife, Ilda Maria Bettencourt. It is subsequently inherited by his nephews James and the Angels Melim Rates Vasco de Melim. However, Vasco Melim is dedicated to the production of honey-cane continuing the work of their ancestors today.
Mel shares the Factory-to-Cana with Maria Alexandra Ribeiro Seco Melim Camacho, Maria Luisa Melim Encarnação, José Alberto and John Carlos Melim Melim.
For history is that between peak periods and other lower production, honey-cane never stopped being produced and mainly being at the table of locals, especially during Carnival and Christmas.


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