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
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
379 Calories
20g Fat
44g Carbs
8g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 379
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 8g 39%
Cholesterol 101mg 34%
Sodium 361mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 44g 16%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Protein 8g
Calcium 119mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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.


  • 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)
  • Vegetable shortening and flour for coating baking pan

Steps 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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