Rich and Spongy Bica Gallega with Toasted Sugar Crust

Square with Typical Galician Cruceiro (Cross), Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain
Square with Typical Galician Cruceiro (Cross), Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain. Alan Copson / Getty Images
  • 45 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 35 mins
  • Yield: 12 Servings
Ratings (5)

Rich and spongy, with a toasted sugar crust, like Tarta de Santiago, Bica Gallega is a traditional cake from Galicia. Although nobody knows for sure when Bica Gallega was created, it originated in Puebla de Trives, in the province of Orense. The city is still famous for its' bica, and celebrates the Fiesta de la Bica the last Sunday in July.

Bica is typically prepared at home during holidays, including Carnaval, although it is sold in all the pastry shops in the area of Trives. It's common for visitors to the area to buy a bica to enjoy when they return home, or give as gifts.

The Galicians will tell you that the secret to preparing a bica is to use clarified butter, which they call manteca de vaca cocida.

What You'll Need

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
  • 14 tablespoons (200 grams) clarified butter (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 pint (267 milliliters) heavy whipping cream
  • 3 1/4 cups (400 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons (15 grams) baking powder
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (for sugar crust topping)

How to Make It

Tip: All ingredients should be brought to room temperature before beginning preparation of this recipe.

  1. Heat oven to 350°F degrees (180°C).
  2. Place the eggs, sugar and clarified butter into a large mixing bowl. Whip them together with a hand mixer until creamy, smooth and fluffy, and the color turns light yellow. Reduce the beater speed to lowest setting and slowly pour in the whipping cream.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder together. With mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour-baking powder mixture. Mix until batter is thoroughly blended.
  1. Use a 8 x 12 inch glass baking dish, or similar size metal pan. Coat the inside pan surface with vegetable shortening. Then, add a few tablespoons flour to the pan, and tilt and rotate the pan so that all the surfaces are coated with flour. Discard any flour that does not stick.
  2. Pour the batter into the baking dish or pan. Because the batter will be thick, spread the batter into the corners of the pan using a rubber spatula. Sprinkle sugar evenly all over the top to create the characteristic flaky, crunchy crust.
  3. Bake on the center rack of the oven for approximately 25 to 45 minutes. The baking time will depend on the size and type (glass or metal) of pan. The sugary top crust should be golden brown and flaky. A toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should be clean when removed. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting.
     

Tip: Never clarified butter? It's easy with this step-by-step of how to clarify butter from About's Guide to Culinary Arts.