sobaos – sourdough cakes from spain

May 25, 2013

This recipe is for sobaos – buttery, rich cakes, with an unusual tang.

Sobaos are from the Northern part of Spain, from a small green, lush, mountainous place called Cantabria.

Sounds perfect to me.

Cake isn’t my favorite dessert (I’m a cookie person,) but I bet these would be pretty good for cakes. They’re SOURDOUGH!


sourdough starter

300g bread flour
200g water
5g dry baker’s yeast
1 pinch salt

(or wild starter)

500g, 65% baker’s percentage

If you’re using your wild sourdough starter, switch a day or two before cooking to 65% hydration.

After feeding for a few days, mix up:

500g bread dough from the previous step
280g sugar
250g softened butter
2 eggs
8g baking powder (1½ tsp)
1 dash of anise liquor or rhum
Zest of 1 lemon

Mix the rest of the ingredients: sugar with lemon zest and baking powder, egg, liquour and butter, in that order, until everything is well blended. The batter should be quite runny, so that it can be poured into molds.
Pour the batter into the paper cups or muffin tins halfway (do not overdo it or it will spill over) and place the paper cups on a tray close together to keep their shape, as they tend to spill.
Cook the sobaos about 20-25 minutes at 170ºC (fan), always in the bottom section of the oven. In my oven the last 5 minutes you can also turn the overhead heat, to brown them properly (you know that if your oven is not fan-assisted you must increase the temperature by 15-20°C).


from invitado invierno (the winter guest)


  1. This sounds lovely, I love anything sourdough!

  2. Though nowadays sobaos are made like any regular cake, with cake flour and baking powder, they used to be made with bread dough before baking powder became popular, like many typical cakes in many countries. I wanted to try this old version and I don’t regret it… not only do they have a marvelous flavor, but you get to use bread dough, which is always a plus for me. And also, for those sourdough enthusiasts out there, sourdough can be used. What could be better?

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