" Blog da Horta Biológica: Anise Cakes With Dried Fruit | Old Fashioned Recipe | Rustic Homemade Cakes

Anise Cakes With Dried Fruit | Old Fashioned Recipe | Rustic Homemade Cakes

In our home we like to make the most of all crops. We have already spoken here on the blog about growing anise and today we will show you how we use anise in cakes, made the old fashioned way. This recipe has a tradition in Luis' family, with some changes made by us. We make it every year to preserve stories and customs, and to recover the genuine flavors of the good old days. 

We will share with you this rustic recipe for anise cakes with dried fruit made in a wood oven, but we also have the alternatives for conventional oven and fireplace oven so everyone can make it. 

Besides anise, this recipe also allows the use of other crops, such as lemon and olive oil.

At the end of the post, also watch our vintage video to see, in practice, the step by step of this recipe.

This dry cake recipe is very interesting to make during the cold weather, but can be made at any time of the year when you feel like...making and eating them!

To delight kids and adults, let's get down to the recipe.


  • 2 medium lemons (zest only)
  • 3 kg wheat flour
  • 1 kg brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 40g anise seeds
  • 1125ml milk
  • 250ml olive oil
  • Spirit as needed
  • Margarine as needed
  • 6 eggs
  • Nuts at your choice (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts...) as needed 

Kitchen Tools

  • 1 Zester
  • 1 Large bowl
  • 1 Milk boiler
  • 1 Sieve
  • 1 Kitchen scale
  • 1 Hand mixer
  • 1 Knife
  • 1 Bowl
  • 1 Pastry brush
  • Plenty of molds

Time Needed

We recommend setting aside one afternoon to make these cakes with the family. This is a time consuming but very fun and creative activity, especially to do with children.


Part 1 - Zesting the Lemons

  1. Start by zesting the peel of 2 medium lemons.
  2. Set aside.

Part 2 - The Big Bowl

  1. In a big mixing bowl, add 3kg of wheat flour and 1kg of brown sugar. 
  2. Mix with your hands.
  3. Make a hole in the middle.
  4. Set aside.

Part 3 - The Stove

  1. In a milk boiler, add 3 cinnamon sticks, 40g of anise seeds, and 1125ml of milk.
  2. Boil for 5min.
  3. Separately, heat up 250ml olive oil and turn off the heat as soon as it boils.

Part 4 - Prepare the Dough

  1. In the open hole in the middle of the flour add, alternately, the hot olive oil and the spirit as needed.
  2. Mix all with a spoon (because the olive oil is very hot)
  3. Add the lemon zest.
  4. Mix with your hands.
  5. Add 1 TBSP of baking powder.
  6. Mix again.
  7. Using a sieve, add a little of the milk mixture.
  8. Mix together.
  9. Gradually, add and the remaining milk.
  10. The dough will start to become a little sticky, so you must put some margarine in your hands to mix it again by hand.

From here on, with lots of energy (but really lots!) knead the dough WITH YOUR HANDS! This task must be done by someone with good hand strength so that the dough gets really well kneaded. 

Don't try to put this dough in fancy machines. It may give a bad result!

After some time kneading the dough, you should cut it to see what it looks like inside. It must be lacy and look like bread. The success of these cakes depends on the consistency of the dough.

Once the dough is just right, cover the bowl with a cloth and let sit for 1 hour.

Part 5 - The Eggs and the Molds

While the dough is resting...

  1. In a bowl, beat the yolks of 6 eggs.
  2. Set aside.
  3. Assemble all the molds and grease them with margarine and flour or cover them with baking paper.

Part 6 - Shaping the Cakes

This task can be particularly fun for children, as they can shape the cakes as they wish.

  1. After shaping the cakes, place the dried fruit on top of them.
  2. Brush the top with the egg yolks.
  3. Spread the cakes out on the molds.

And the cakes are ready to go into the oven!

Part 7 - Wood Oven (or others)

Wood Oven

If you have a wood oven, you know that you have to preheat it beforehand. Someone in the family has to take charge of this task while the others prepare the cakes.

Setting the temperature in this oven may not be easy and you have to keep an eye on how well the cakes cook. Ours took only 10 minutes to bake, but the time will always vary depending on the temperature of the oven and the surrounding environment.

Fireplace Oven

If this oven is at 200°C, the cakes may take around 20 minutes to be ready.

Electric Oven

The oven has to be preheated and the baking temperature should be 220ºC. In this oven the cakes may take about 25 minutes until they are ready. The cooking time also depends on the efficiency of the oven, so you need to pay attention.

This recipe gave us 78 cakes. The amount of cakes will depend on the chosen shapes and sizes.

78 cupcakes seems a lot?! Don't worry... they go fast! In milk, in coffee, with tea, for breakfast, as a snack, to share with family and friends ... they're gone in a flash! In addition, they are dry cakes and last for a long time without needing cold storage. They should be stored in a cool, dry place.

And they taste just like they would in the good old days! :)

We hope you enjoy this rustic recipe we shared with you. Make the most of this recipe by spending quality time with your family, working out by kneading the dough, and sharing sweet moments with your loved ones!

Xo Xo from the gardeners,

Ana and Luís

VIDEO - Anise Cakes With Dried Fruit | Old Fashioned Recipe | Rustic Homemade Cakes

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