In case you’ve missed my big announcement:
12 days to showtime!

Want to say it as a native? Pay attention to the nasal sound of PÃO… and repeat after me…

Pão de mel translates literally as “honey bread.” However, it is definitely not a bread, and honey might not be the first flavor that comes to mind once you take your first bite. I admit the name is misleading, but I am thrilled to share this recipe with you, because it is a real classic in my home country. It has flavors I adore (that ginger, spicy thing), enclosed in a nice chocolate shell. The ones I grew up with were a bit on the dense side. My family had no tradition of baking, so I only had pão de mel that you get in stores, wrapped in plastic for who knows how long. This version is so good, very soft, tender, sweet and spicy. I made two kinds, the traditional, covered with a shell of chocolate, and a little departure from the classic, in bundt shape. You decide which one you like best.

(from the Bewitching Kitchen, adapted from several sources)

1 egg
250mL whole milk
90 g  sugar
270 g honey
30 g butter, melted and cooled
240 g all purpose flour
7 g baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon of nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
3 tablespoons cocoa powder (Dutch process is fine)

for the filling;
dulce de leche (store bought or homemade)

for covering:
tempered bittersweet chocolate, about 500 g

Mix the egg with milk, sugar, honey and butter in a large bowl. Whisk well. In another bowl, stir in the remaining dry ingredients and sift them slowly over the egg mixture in three portions, stirring well after each addition until a smooth, homogeneous mixture is formed.  Place batter in fridge for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, turn the oven on at 360 F. If using non-stick mini cake pans, you don’t need to do anything. Otherwise grease and flour the pans lightly.  Ideally you need a 6 cm round tin (a bit less than 2.5 inches). Pour the batter halfway through the tin, do not fill more than half.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Unmold the still warm rolls and let them cool completely on a rack. Cut them in half and stuff each with the dulce de leche.

Temper chocolate and cover each little pao de mel.

Alternatively, bake the batter in mini bundt pans, fill the central hole with dulce de leche and decorate with a drizzle of tempered chocolate. Mini bundt pans will take slightly longer to bake. Cool them in the mold before unmolding.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you want to make your own dulce de leche, there are many methods to do so. Pressure cooker, slow oven, even the microwave. I opted for sous-vide and must say it was perfect. Simply pour the contents of 1 can of condensed milk into a bag, seal it and cook it at 185F for 12 to 16 hours. When the time is up, simply cut the bag and pour the contents into a container. Into the fridge ready for any dulce de leche emergency.

Homemade dulce de leche is a real treat, I highly recommend you give it a try, but of course, the canned product will work well too. Pão de mel can be frozen for a couple of months without the filling and chocolate covering. You can also simplify the process and skip the filling. The simplified version is actually more common to buy in Brazil. But normally, when people make them at home, they go the extra mile. A very sweet mile, if you ask me.

Which version was better, classic or mini-bundt? I honestly have a hard time deciding. The mini-bundt is a lot easier to make because once you un-mold the little cakes the hard work is done. You can conceivably even get by without tempering chocolate, just melting it gently and drizzling it all over. But of course, the traditional version is the one that brings fond memories of my past. It’s your turn now, make both and let me know what you think…

For those interested:  this is the pan I used to bake the cakes. I love it!

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12 thoughts on “BRAZILIAN PAO DE MEL

  1. First of all, I am THRILLED you made the show!!!! Congratulations!!!! Can barely wait until the 12th.

    Now on to Pao de Mel… I am wondering if you used a muffin pan for the traditional version? Of course, if I go the mini-Bundt pan route, Santa will have a great excuse to bring me some Nordicware instead of coal.

    Ok, I admit Thanksgiving Day I saw the film “Dark Waters” and am not petrified of Teflon and linked carbons and as a Scottish Wallace I often foolishly don’t scare easy. Since you are the science gal, are non-stick pans safe? I am not looking askew at all those non-stick baking pans I own.

    And I love my two new Japanese baking books you helped me select. My Sakura extract has arrived and I am ready to play! Have you made Sakura macarons?

    Oh, still doing a happy dance over your grand announcement!

    Happy holiday baking season,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Did not make sakura macarons yet, made cupcakes only. But it’s in the plans!

      Non-stick and baking – since 2013 all non-stick cookware is made NOT to contain PFOA, which is the chemical associated with the health issues. Even so, it is stable under the temperatures used in baking (never over 450F, unless we are talking bread, but who does bread in nonstick pans????) –

      so no I am not at all worried about non-stick bakeware, especially buying good quality products and replacing ones that you might have from earlier years (the pan I have is just amazing, I will include a link in the post since I think people might like to know)

      the little bundts I made in silicone pan, from Silikomart – you might have noticed I have a small obsession with those pans… 😉


  2. Postscript: I actually meant I am NOW scared of Teflon. But perhaps today’s non-stick coatings are not made the same way? I wasn’t clear if the carbon chains DuPont was using are still unregulated and being used to make protective pan coatings?

    Sorry for raising an unsettling environmental topic here on your happy place blog. I just wonder if we are safer greasing and flouring or if silicone bakeware is safer? I found the excellent film “Dark Waters” very concerning as a baker with an assortment of non-stick pans.

    Liked by 1 person

    • you can use a muffin pan – mini muffin will make a ton with this recipe, and you will have to adjust the baking. Should work also and be pretty cute, but harder to fill. Maybe a drizzle of choc will be enough on those?

      I am going to edit the post to include a link to the specific pan I used. I adore that thing


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