The Galician larpeira, a traditional cake for the holidays

Nothing compares to Galician confectionery. We just couldn’t conceive Spanish gastronomy without their torta de Santiago, leche frita or the bica gallega, which is the inspiration behind most butter-based cakes. The larpeira is a lesser-known sweet, since it hasn’t really come out from Galicia yet. It’s a shame, because this is an incredible cake, really tender and everything you need to offer to the guests of a merry gathering. An interesting fact about the larpeira is that it has pastry cream on top, and this is the main reason why it’s so soft, tender and delicious. The ingredient list might be a little long, but it’s so easy to make!



120g strong flour

90ml milk

10g fresh yeast or 3g dry yeast

Main dough:

110g milk

50g anise liqueur

130g sugar

1 grated lemon

150g butter

2 eggs

25g fresh yeast or 8g dry yeast

450g strong flour

A pinch of salt

Pastry cream:

500ml milk

100g sugar

Lemon and orange peels

Vanilla essence

5 egg yolks

40g cornflour

Sugar for decorating:


Anise liqueur to taste

Syrup for decorating:

150 ml water

100g sugar

60ml anise liqueur


The first step is to make the pre-ferment. We mix all the ingredients until we have a uniform dough, and then we let it rest for 6 hours at room temperature, or 12 hours in the fridge.

Now it’s time to cook the main dough. We mix all the ingredients in a bowl —all except the butter. This dough should feel a little sticky, just like the brioche. If it’s too sticky you may add a bit of flour. When we knead the dough, it should become less so.

Once kneaded, we add in the butter progressively, which should be at room temperature. Keep kneading until we add in all the butter. Let the dough rest for 2 hours at room temperature, or until it has doubled its size.

Time to cook the pastry cream! Mix in a bowl the yolks, the cornflour and a dash of milk. We’ll come back to it later.

Take a saucepan and add the remaining milk, the vanilla essence, the sugar and the lemon & orange peels. Heat the mix. Once it boils, turn the heat off and let it rest for 10 minutes. The pastry cream should be fairly thick.

At last, we’ll cook the syrup. We just have to heat up the water, the anise liqueur and the sugar in a saucepan, it’s as easy as that. Then put it aside.

Once the dough is well-fermented, degas it by kneading it softly. Let it rest for 10 minutes before we continue.

Spread the dough like a pizza on an oven tray covered in baking parchment. The key here is to make sure that it has the thickness of a finger, or even a little more.

Cut lines with the shape of squares or rhombuses on top, avoiding the edges. This is important because that’s where we’ll add the pastry cream.

Whisk the cream before introducing it in a piping bag, ideally with a nozzle of about 8 millimetres. Fill in all the lines with plenty of pastry cream. It’s never too much!

Let it ferment for about 40 minutes, or until it has doubled its size. Before baking it, we should use a brush to add a thin layer of beaten egg on top. Then we’ll add a bit of sugar drenched in anise liqueur. This is how the sugar in the roscón de reyes (the Spanish king cake) is made as well.

Bake it for 40 minutes at 180ºC. If you see the outside is darkening too much, you can cover it with an aluminium foil. When it’s ready, remove from the oven and add on top the syrup that’s been prepared earlier. Now we just have to wait till it cools down, and we’ll have a delicious larpeira to enjoy!

A larpeira, a cake with orange pastry cream and sugar on top

The Galician larpeira. | Shutterstock

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