In The City and the Mountains, the brilliant Portuguese writer Eça de Queiroz recalls his leaving Paris to return to his native Portuguese village for family reasons. What a nuisance. But then he realized that there might be compensations awaiting him: “I thought how good Aunt Vicencia’s golden soup would be. I hadn’t savored it for years, nor the roast suckling pig, nor the rice, made at our home!” He confided afterwards: “I ate with delight Aunt Vicencia’s golden soup…”

Golden soup is a dessert served usually during the Christmas season in the Minho province and more specifically in Viana do Castelo.–Edite Vieira


Though the Portuguese traditionally reserve golden soup for Christmas, we think they’d understand if you just can’t wait till the holidays to indulge.

A white bowl of Portuguese golden soup, or sopa dourada, filled with slices of sponge cake and a custard sauce

Sopa Dourada | Portuguese Golden Soup

5 / 2 votes
This Portuguese golden soup, called sopa dourada, is a sweet Christmas dessert of sponge cake dipped in a sugar syrup and then drizzled with custard sauce.
David Leite
Servings6 servings
Calories348 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Total Time20 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 slices sponge cake, (it’s okay if it’s stale cake)
  • 7 egg yolks
  • Ground cinnamon, for sprinkling
  • Dragrees (not traditional, but festive), for sprinkling


  • In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar with the water and bring to the boil. Simmer until you have a thick syrup that registers 225°F to 230°F (105°C to 110°C) on a candy or deep-fry thermometer.
  • Meanwhile, thinly slice the cake.
  • When the syrup registers the proper temperature, remove the pan from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, carefully dip each slice of cake into the syrup and then place it in a large serving dish.
  • Beat the egg yolks and slowly whisk them into the syrup remaining in the pan. Return the pan to medium heat for just a moment, stirring, until the mixture thickens but without allowing the yolks to curdle.
  • Pour this custard over the cake slices, sprinkle with cinnamon, and let cool to room temperature before serving.
The Taste of Portugal Cookbook

Adapted From

The Taste of Portugal

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 348 kcalCarbohydrates: 69 gProtein: 5 gFat: 6 gSaturated Fat: 2 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 3 gCholesterol: 258 mgSodium: 172 mgPotassium: 54 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 61 gVitamin A: 349 IUCalcium: 49 mgIron: 1 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2000 Edite Vieira. Photo © 2014 Luisa Ginoulhiac. All rights reserved.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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