Sweets with a signature name: Algarrobo and Ramos
The unmistakable flavour of oil cakes from Málaga has been enjoyed for generations in breakfasts and as a snack. A sweet and oily flavour. A crunchy bite. There is a different recipe in every area of the province, but the name of the sweet is different. Olive oil is the ingredient that names it and gives it its unmistakable flavour.
The recipe has Arab origin, although the bakery industry in Málaga has evolved and improved until it has make the recipe its own. The rest of the ingredients used are wheat, salt, sugar, aniseed and sesame. When we speak about oil cakes from Málaga, we cannot forget two proper names: Algarrobo oil cakes and Ramos oil cakes.
Algarrobo oil cakes
Algarrobo is a village with a rich and complete gastronomy that is located in Axarquía (Málaga). They are famous for their oil cakes, known as Algarrobo cakes. This sweet is smaller than traditional oil cakes and they are usually a little bit bigger than a biscuit. The flavour of Algarrobo cakes is sugary and they are compact. They sometimes have almonds on top of them and it is characterised by its dark colour, like the oil had darkened the cake too much.
The other proper name in the wide oil cake recipes in Málaga are Ramos oil cakes. Their flavour is common to every resident in Málaga as snacks and with coffee and milk.
Ramos cakes, made by the ‘tortas Ramos’ company, started to be made in Algarrobo, although right now the company is located closer to the capital and they produce 30.000 cakes every day, ready to be consumed. Ramos cakes look and taste similar to Algarrobo cakes. But Ramos oil cakes and Algarrobo oil cakes aare not the only ones. Each village has its own recipe, which creates a wide variety of flavours for the same product. Another known oil cake comes from Vélez-Málaga and it is slightly bigger, it is consumed in smaller portions and it is covered with almonds.
The south of Spain has traditionally been the main producer of oil cakes and Málaga is one of the areas with bigger productions. However, this product is consumed throughout the whole country and its production has become international during the last years. Thanks to the exportation of oil cakes to foreign countries, new ways of consuming them have become popular, such as oil cakes with cheese, with pâté or with smoked products.
Oil cakes from Málaga like the Algarrobo and Ramos varieties have a high energy intake when they are consumed, so that is why they are eaten as a snack, in breakfast, in the afternoon with some tea, coffee, milk, juices and smoothhies. They are natural products made with vegetable ingredients and no chemicals. Both Algarrobo and Ramos oil cakes can stay fresh for a long period of time.
The true secret to elaborate this sweet lies in using natural quality products. Most producers use olive oil from Andalucía of the Hojiblanca variety, the most common in the province of Málaga. The olive trees of this variety produce golden and soft flavour oil (hence the dark tones oil cakes have) and its flavour is sweet and sugary.