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Portuguese Recipe: Bola de Carne (Meat Cake)

Cooking 45 min Preparation 20 min 4 ppl easy
Recipe type: Meat Cuisine: Portuguese

Everyone has their own style of picnicking – especially with kids, and for the Portuguese, it’s unique onto themselves. A traditional Portuguese picnic will typically include: salgadinhos/panados (breaded and fried finger food), rissois de camarão (breaded “hot pockets” usually filled with creamed shrimp), croquetes (minced beef/pork croquettes) and pasteis/bolinhos or pataniscas de bacalhau (salt cod croquettes and fritters). Batatas fritas (potato chips) are also a must, alongside piping hot Portuguese baked bread. But the Bola de Carne is not only a prerequisite at a Portuguese picnic, it’s a recinding of an invitation if you don’t bring it! So here’s an easy recipe to whip up at home.  


  • 8 eggs
  • 4 cups flour (they use actual ceramic tea cups as a measurement, see video in link above)
  • 1 cup margarine or butter, melted
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Margarine or butter to coat pan
  • Flour to coat pan
  • 100g (1 – 1.5 cups) presunto chopped into small pieces (you can sub proscuitto or jamón iberico) de presunto cortado em pedacinhos
  • 100g (1 – 1.5 cups) cubed ham
  • 100g (1 – 1.5 cups) cubed chouriço (or linguiça or a similiar smoked sausage)
  • 100g (1 – 1.5 cups) cubed bacon
  • 100g (1 – 1.5 cups) cooked, shredded chicken breast
  • Salt (fine grain)


  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC or 356ºF. Butter and flour a large (9×12) sheet cake pan.
  2. Divide the eggs into whites and yolks. Mix the yolks with the flour, baking powder, milk, melted butter/margarine and a pinch of salt. Mix well with electric beaters or mixer.  In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gently fold the whites into the rest of the batter.
  3. Spread half of the cake batter into the pan and coat the bottom evenly. Sprinkle the assorted meats on top to cover all over, then drizzle the other half of the batter over the meat, covering evenly.
  4. Put in the oven to bake for 45 minutos or until toothpick inserted is clean. To remove cake from pan, flip the pan over onto a serving platter.  
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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