Bolo Ingles- totobola

Having got the traditional English Christmas cake out of the way and stored in the larder, my curiosity got the better of me. I gave in to temptation and found time (actually, half the time of making and half the work of the English equivalent ) to make a Portuguese  Bolo Ingles, "English cake." My enquiries and googling left me totally in the dark as to why one should find Bolo Ingles in Portugal. This is the best explanation I could find.

Bolo Ingles "English cake."
It is said that this comes from the time when Brazil was a Portuguese colony.The Portuguese Royal family headed by King D. João VI, were escaping from Napoleon, and were aided by the Brits.They found sanctuary in Brazil where D. João is said to have introduced this English style fruit cake to the Brazilians.

When I have time I am going to research how these other culinary angloisms came to be adopted by foreign bodies, playing games with the English language.

Zuppa Inglese   Italian Dessert ( what the English would call trifle)

Creme anglaise in French is custard.

Molho Ingles   Worcestershire sauce to the Portuguese

Bolo Inglese
85g( 3oz) raisins, chopped
85g (3oz) dried cranberries
45g (1.5 oz) candied cherries, halved
45g (1.5 oz) mixed candied fruit, chopped
125ml (4fl oz / 1/2 cup) whisky
300g (10.5 oz ) cake (00) flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
250g (9oz) unsalted butter, softened
240g 88.5oz light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon clear honey
50g (13/4oz ) whole almonds with skin on, roughly chopped

60g (21/4 oz 1/3 cup) caster sugar,  2 tablespoons whisky

about 400g(14oz) big chunks of candied fruit
whole red cherries, whole green cherries, tangerines, Elvas plums,figs
small whole pears, strawberries

Soak the raisins, cranberries, cherries and candied fruits in the whisky overnight.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C (325F/ gas mark 3). butter and flour a 30 x 11 x 6cm ( 12 x 4 x 21/2 inch) loaf tin.Sift together the flour,cinnamon, baking powder and salt.
Whisk the butter and sugar in a large bowl until creamy. add the eggs one at a time, mixing ell after each one.Add the honey and flour, beating well to make a thick batter. Stir in the fruit mix, sloshing it around so that it all loosens up. Stir in the almonds.
Scrape into the tin. Bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool a bit in the tin, then turn out onto a rack.
Meanwhile make the glaze. Stir together the sugar and the whisky over a low heat without boiling until the sugar has dissolved, then boil until golden and sticky( taking care not to let it burn). You can make this in advance and just warm it up on the lowest heat when you´re ready to use.Dip pieces of the candied fruit into the glaze, then arrange them in big exaggerated chunks on top of the cake. Drizzle a little bit of the remaining glaze here and there.
Sticky up your hands and enjoy!


  1. Its interesting how lots of French words have also become part of the English language too,omelette,creme brulee,etc It always annoys me when they're then translated into English eg Creme Brulee=Burnt Cream doesn't quite have the same ring about it..Its nice to see English creations infiltrating other European cultures though!
    I'm very attracted to the topping on the Bolo Ingles.

  2. So happy to have stumbled on this recipe! We visited Lisbon recently and loved the place, but the best part was coming home with a Bolo Ingles. The cake is delicious and now I can try to replicate it. Thank you :)


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