That’s the name of the cake. SERIOUSLY!

Nega malucaDon’t judge me when I tell you the name of this cake. It really is what it’s called. I didn’t come up with the name. In Portuguese this cake is called nega maluca and is a cake loved by almost every Brazilian. Translated, nega maluca means ‘crazy black woman’. No joke! The cake received this name because it is the most chocolate of chocolate cakes, crazily black! I don’t think I have ever made a cake that takes this much cocoa powder.

I always found the name of this cake rather funny. I mean who names a cake ‘crazy black woman’? But, it took me a while to make it. Sometime ago I made it, but it didn’t work out as well as I would have liked. The taste was perfect, but it didn’t rise too much in the oven. So, last week I decided to give this cake another chance. My husband loves this cake and I wanted to be able to make a perfect version of it for him!

I grabbed a recipe from online and made the cake. It worked beautifully. I followed the instructions for the icing and to my dismay it did not turn out the way I wanted it to. The cake was super tasty, but I didn’t like the icing. So, this week I did some research into different types of icing and I came across an american recipe. The icing was ‘heritage frosting’. If you have never heard of this before, neither had I. It is an icing that you actually cook. It sounded really interesting, so I decided to give it a go.

This weekend I made the cake again, using the Brazilian icing for the middle layer and the heritage frosting on the outside. It turned out beautiful and was a perfect mix of Brazilian and American.

For anyone who loves chocolate cakes this is for you!

Nega malucaNega Maluca Cake

The Cake
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups of white sugar
2 cups of white flour
1 cup of cocoa powder
1/2 cup of sunflower oil
1 tbsp of baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1 cup of boiling water

Preheat oven to 180C/365F. Grease a round baking tin.
Mix the egg, sugar, flour, salt, oil, cocoa powder and baking powder in a bowl. Add the hot water and mix well. Pour into prepared cake tin and bake for approximately 40 minutes until cooked through.
Set aside to cool.

Chocolate Icing
1 tbsps of milk
1/2 cup of cocoa powder
1 tbsp of butter
1 cup of white sugar

Put all ingredients into a small pan and heat until begins to boil. Mix well for approximately 1 to 2 minutes making sure not to let it burn.
Set aside to cool.

Chocolate Heritage Frosting
3 tbsps white flour
1 cup of milk
1 cup/225g of butter
1 cup of white sugar
3 tbsps cocoa powder

Cook flour and milk over medium high heat until thickened, approximately three minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. After flour and milk mixture has cooled, cream together butter, sugar, and cocoa until light and fluffy, about three minutes.

Add flour and milk mixture to butter mixture and beat until it has reached a whipped cream consistency. Add vanilla and beat one additional minute.
Nega maluca

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Bolo de fubá – Delicious Brazilian Corn Cake

These past weeks have been pretty challenging here on the farm. Not so much because of work, but because of weather. I feel as though these last few weeks I have been carried away on a whirlwind and been taken for a good ride. The weather, thankfully, seems to be returning to normal, but still there is some adjusting that I need to do.

For the last two weeks of May we had constant rain or I should more accurately say: torrential rain. May, here in Brazil, is the beginning of the dry season which lasts until September. This year, there was no dry season in site during the month of May. It did not stop raining and for the last two weeks of the month all we saw was grey skies, fog and tons of rain. We had to stop almost all work on the farm and slowly began turning into frogs.

Then, just to really keep this whirlwind journey going, as soon as the rain stopped a cold front moved in and this last week we have been experiencing minus degree weather. I live at a high altitude and during winter it isn’t uncommon to get temperatures close to 0C. But, this year was exceptional. We have been waking up to frost every morning and have been struggling to stay warm and work outside. Harvesting vegetables early in the morning with close to zero temperatures is really no fun.

So, I have been occupied with the weather recently. But, during all this tumultuous weather changes I have managed to keep busy by baking some wonderful cakes. So, instead of talking about the weather, let’s get back to the delicious Brazilian cuisine.

Brazilians absolutely love corn and especially like to make sweet corn dishes. Growing up in England I didn’t eat much corn. Then moving to the USA I began eating a little bit more corn. And now in Brazil, I don’t seem to be able to get away from corn. Remember those little corn breads I made a while ago? Those are a regular staple in my house among many other corn dishes.

So, while the weather has been nasty I have been perfecting my Brazilian corn cake or as it is known in Brazil, bolo de fubá. This is a very popular cake and can be found at almost any bakery. Everybody seems to have their own recipe for this cake and there is no limitation on what additional flavorings or fillings you can add to it. Still being new to this cake I am constantly perfecting my recipe, but I have already accrued three different recipes, with three different flavors that I absolutely love.

Today I am going to share my favorite recipe and the corn cake that I most often make at home. But, I promise I will share my other two recipes soon.

Bolo de Fubá – Brazilian Corn Cake

1 1/2 cups of white sugar
1 cup of white flour
1 cup of milk
1 cup of corn meal
1/2 – 1 cup of sunflower oil**
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsps of fennel seeds

Preheat oven to 180C/365F. Grease a bunt tin with butter and flour.

Mix the first five ingredients together. You can mix with a whisk in a bowl or use a blender. Once all ingredients are fully incorporated add the baking powder and fennel seed. Mix well.

Pour ingredients into the tin and bake for 30-45 minutes.

Once cooled, remove cake from the tin and sprinkle with icing sugar.

**A note on the quantity of oil to use: I do not like using a lot of oil in my cakes, so although this recipe called for 1 cup of oil, I managed to successfully decrease the quantity to 1/2 a cup. Feel free to use the full cup of oil or if you like less oil just decrease the amount.

Banana Cake (Bolo de Banana)

Brazilian Banana CakeI am always looking for new cake recipes and the simpler the better. At home we always like to have a cake on the counter. We eat cake for breakfast and as a snack in the afternoon, so its an important part of our diet:)! I don’t always manage to have a cake, but I do try. Because we eat cake frequently, I like to make simple cakes. Usually I don’t bother with an icing as it makes the cake much heavier. Also, I like cakes that are quick and easy to whip up. I usually make my cakes at the end of a busy day, so the less time it takes to make the cake the better.

A little while ago I had a lot of over ripe bananas in my kitchen. Instead of throwing them to the pigs to eat I decided to look for a simple Brazilian cake recipe. I came across a simple looking recipe and decided to give it a go. The cake turned out tasty, but it was a little dense. I liked the flavor, but not the texture. So, I noted down the recipe and made note of some changes I wanted to make.

A couple weeks after my first attempt I gave this recipe another go. I made the changes I had wanted to and………the cake turned out fabulous. The flavor was perfect and it was a nice light and fluffy cake. Not greasy at all and just the perfect taste of banana. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE banana cake!

So, here is the recipe, I hope you give this cake a try as it is a true gem and has become part of my regular cake rotation:)!

 

BANANA CAKE

Brazilian Banana CakeIngredients
2 1/4 cups of white flour
1 1/4 cups of white sugar
1/2 cup of butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
2 1/2 tsps of baking powder
1 tsp of vanilla essence
1/2 tsp of baking soda
3/4 tsp of cinammon powder
5 ripe bananas
1/2 cup of milk

Place all of the first seven ingredients into the bowl of a standing mix.

Mash the bananas in a separate bowl. Add the milk and mix until well incorporated.

Begin mixing the first seven ingredients and gradually add the banana and milk mixture to it. Make sure that the butter has been fully incorportated into the batter. Mix at a medium speed for about 3 minutes.

Pour batter into a greased and floured baking tin. Bake at 180C (355F) for approximately 30 minutes.

Brazilian Banana Cake

Bolo de Beterraba (Beet Cake)

Beet Cake - Isn't the color amazing?

Beet Cake – Isn’t the color amazing?

This sounds like a strange thing to make, but trust me it is really tasty and the color from the beets is absolutely amazing! This is not a traditional brazilian cake, nor have I actually every seen anyone make it, but the recipe is based on my carrot cake recipe and is a wonderful variation from a tasty brazilian carrot cake.

A little while ago I was searching for beet recipes and somehow I stumbled across someone who had made a beet cake, it looked interesting and I thought I would give it a go. It turned out wonderful with a beautiful purple color and an earthy flavour from the beets!

Since moving to my farm I have struggled to make cakes and I actually stopped making cakes for about a year and a half. No cake that I made ever worked and eventually I gave up because I was losing so many ingredients to disastrous cake attempts. About half a year ago, after talking to my sister about her struggles with high altitude baking (she lives in Colorado at 9000ft) I thought that maybe this was the reason I was having difficulties with my cakes (I live at 1600 meteres/5250 ft). I did some research about what alterations to make to cake recipes at high altitudes and made a first attempt (beet cake was my first attempt). Guess what, it worked, I had finally succeeded in making a cake at home!

Since my first successful cake attempt I try to make a cake almost every week, and this beet cake has become a regular!

I am sharing this recipe because it follows the same process as making brazilian carrot cake, which if you haven’t tried check out my recipe HERE! It is super easy and everything goes in the blender!

I have included a recipe for a glaze for the cake, but I rarely make it. Instead I make a quick icing by melting some chocolate, mixing with a little bit of milk and pouring it over the cake!

Organic beets from my farm that I used for the cake!

Organic beets from my farm that I used for the cake!

Ingredients 

Cake:
3 medium beets, peeled, chopped and raw
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar
3 cups white flour
1 tsp baking powder
Juice from half a lemon

Glaze:
2 tbsp butter or margarine
1 cup white sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cups milk

Pre heat the oven to 180C or 350F. Grease a medium cake tin, I use a bunt tin.

Peel and chop the beets (do not cook them). Place them in a blender with the eggs and oil. Blend until you have a smooth mixture.

Pour the beet mixture (isn’t the color amazing???) into a bowl. Add the sugar and flour a little at a time, mixing and incorporating into the beet mix. Once all the sugar and flour is well incorporated add the baking powder and mix well. Lastly, add the lemon juice and mix well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin and bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until done!

The Glaze
Put all of the ingredients into a pan and heat on the stove until all melted. When the cake is cooled pour the glaze over!

Instead of following this recipe you can also follow my carrot cake recipe and just substitute the carrots for beets and add a little bit of lemon juice!

Note:
I use lemon juice in this recipe to decrease the earthy flavour from the beets. If you like the earthy beet flavour you can always leave the lemon juice out.

Panettone: The “Brazilian” Christmas Bread

Beginning sometime around mid October Brazilian supermarkets begin to stock up on panettone and the panettone eating season begins. There is no way to avoid it and at every corner you will be bombarded with this tasty sweet bread loaf.

PanettonePanetonne is originally from the city of Milan, Italy and the orthern Italian immigrants brought panettone to Brazil in the early 20th century. There are several different stories of how the  panettone loaf received its name. The first tells that Fr. Antonio was very fond of this particular bread and because he wore a hat similar to the shape of the bread (tall with a puffy top) it became known as ‘pane di Tony’ or Tony’s Bread. Another story suggests that the name panettone came from the Milanese ‘pane del ton’ meaning ‘cake of luxury’. Or another play with these words says that the name came from ‘pane’ which means bread and ‘tone’ which is large. Now, the last story tells that a Milanese nobleman, Ughetto Atellani, loved Adalgisa, the daughter of a poor baker named Toni. In order to try to win Adalgisa’s hand in marriage the nobleman disguised himself as a baker and invented a rich cake to which he added flour, yeast, butter, eggs, dried raisins, and candied lemon and orange peel. The bread was praised and the nobleman and Adalgisa were married.

This is how my panettone should have looked with the nice puffy top! (www.saporiericette.blogosfere.it)

This is how my panettone should have looked with the nice puffy top!

Whether any of these hold true is not for me to say, but a bread with a little story behind it is always something wonderful.

So, although panettone is so easy to buy at this time of year in Brazil I decided that, nevertheless, I still needed to learn how to make it. This recipe is my first attempt, and, although it tasted absolutely delicious there are some things that I need to work on to make this loaf much better. For starters, I didn’t quite get the puffy top to the loaf which gives it its signature look. Secondly, I think that I kneaded the dough a little too much and maybe added too much flour taking away some of the light fluffy texture. But, apart from those two issues I was so happy with my first results that I thought I could still share it here.

If you do not want to try to make this recipe at home, but still want to have a slice of this delicious cake, you can order it on amazon.com.

PanettoneThe recipe that I used is a quick bread recipe based on brioche bread. Many of the panettone recipes that I came accross required about two days of rising, kneading, etc, etc, etc. I wanted to make a quick and easy panettone and opted to go with this recipe. The brioche dough is very sticky and runny and can be difficult to work. Don’t make the mistake that I made by adding tons more flour to try to make the dough easier to work!

To purchase the panettone mold online CLICK HERE!

Ingredients

250 ml warm milk
15 g yeast
350 g white flour
120 g butter
2 egg yolks
60 g white sugar
10 g lemon zest
10 g orange zest
30 ml vanilla essence
100 g crystalized fruit
50 g raisins
60 g almonds
60 g cashew nuts

Begin by mixing the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast together in a large bowl or on a counter top. Add the egg yolks, lemon zest, and orange zest and mix together. Add the warm milk and knead the dough together. Add the cubed butter and knead into the rest of the dough. Knead well for approximately five to ten minutes until the dough comes together well. Place in an oiled bowl and set aside in a warm area to rise. Leave to rise until doubled in size. Once doubled in size, turn out the dough onto a lightly floured counter top. Press the dough down forming a thick pancake. Add the crystalized fruit, raisins, and nuts to the dough and work in by kneading. Knead until all the fruit and nuts are fully incorporated. Split the dough into two equally sized balls, shape, and place into the panettone forms. Set aside in a warm area to rise. Leave until the dough is doubled in size. Preheat oven to 160C. Brush the top of the panettone with egg and bake until the top is brown!

PanettoneSources:
http://brazilinmyeyes.blogspot.com.br/2013/12/munchie-time-sao-paulo.html
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panettone