Try this classic Portuguese dessert from Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes. Nuno says, "This is one of my favourite cakes from the Portuguese repertoire. My favourites are the gooey ones which use a higher ratio of egg yolk. Try pão de ló at any of classic pastelarias with the sign ‘fabrico próprio’ (own production) outside."

Lisbon-born Nuno Mendes’s latest culinary venture is Lisboeta, which means ‘a person from Lisbon’. Nuno is famous for his ground-breaking restaurant Viajante, and Lisboeta is a return to his roots where an all-day snack menu is a homage to ‘salgados’ (salty, savoury snacks) and ‘petiscos’ (little plates of this or that) culture. Both are most commonly eaten in the late afternoon accompanied by a cold beer or glass of vinho verde. Other dishes will be served family-style as they would be in the tascas of Portugal.

Nuno's recipe tip: "This is one of my favourite Portuguese desserts, which is made from just egg yolks, sugar, a touch of flour and a rich Portuguese olive oil. The quantities here make quite a small cake but they can easily be doubled or tripled."

Portuguese pão de ló cake recipe


  • 80ml olive oil, plus extra for the tin
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs, plus 1 yolk
  • 20g plain flour
  • extra-virgin olive oil, to serve
  • sea salt flakes, to serve


  • STEP 1

    Heat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Oil and line a 20cm round baking tin with baking paper. Put the sugar, eggs and yolk in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk for 15-20 minutes or until tripled in volume, light and fluffy.

  • STEP 2

    Gently fold in the olive oil and flour, and pour the batter into the tin. Bake for 8 minutes or until the cake is just set but still a little gooey in the middle. Let it sit for 5-6 hours so that it collapses and sets, and the top forms a crust. Drizzle a generous glug of extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt on top, then eat it at room temperature.

Check out more of our easy Portuguese-inspired recipes

Portuguese custard tarts on a cooling rack

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