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

Profiteroles with a Brazilian twist

profiterole1It has been quite sometime since I made these profiteroles, but they are so good, that I decided to dig this post from my drafts and share it with you. I am sure you will all enjoy it!

I went through a phase of wanting to learn how to make choux pastry, it is one of those challenging pastries to make, but so satisfying and tasty when you get it right. Choux pastry is really a simple recipe and is quick to make. But the challenge is getting the right consistency. The biggest challenge is that the mixture cannot be too runny or too thick, and all of this depends on the addition of eggs. Eggs range in many different sizes and therefore no recipe can give you the exact number of eggs you will need to use. So, it all results in careful analysis of your mixture and only experience can really teach you when you have the perfect mixture.

The next challenge with choux pastry, and more specifically profiteroles, is filling them once they are done baking. If you have done everything correctly, you will have beautiful even shaped balls of choux pastry with an inside that is evenly hollow. The goal with profiteroles is to carefully and evenly fill the empty cavern with a tasty filling. Unfortunately, this part can lead to the filling oozing out of the place where you tried to fill the pastry, or, as happened in my case, parts of the pastry splitting and resulting in a mess of filling oozing out of every side.

I wasn’t going to be deterred by the challenges of choux pastry and I went ahead with it anyway! The result…..it was amazing. My first batch turned out a little overcooked and a few too many holes in the bottom of the choux pastry. But, the pastry was delicious, light, and airy. The filling was successful, even though I had many profiteroles that were oozing filling out instead of holding it inside. Confident that I would get it right the next time, I set to work on a double batch of choux pastry the next morning. This batch turned out magnificent, a golden color, perfect balls of pastry, and only minor spillage of filling.

But the real trick to my second batch of profiteroles was the Brazilian twist that I gave them. Instead to filling them with chantilly cream I used doce de leite, sweetened milk that is slowly heated to create a taste derived from the caramelization of the product. Doce de leite is extremely popular in Brazil, and any opportunity to use it is a MUST! Did I turn my profiteroles Brazilian? I would have to say that I did as all of the them were consumed within hours.

Without further a-do here is the recipe to my Brazilianized Profiteroles (incase you cannot get a hold of doce de leite or would rather stick to the more french profiteroles I have included the recipe for chantilly cream….but I recommend you stick to the doce de leite….you will not be disappointed). In the USA you can find doce de leite under the spanish name of dulce de leche.

This is a great little video to help you know when the mixture is just right. Click here for the video!

Mandatory Credit: Photo by WOMAN'S WEEKLY / Rex Features ( 387629D ) PROFITEROLES VARIOUS RECIPES

Ingredients

makes 25-30

80ml (1/3 cup) water
40g butter, at room temperature, cubed
50g (1/3 cup) plain flour, sifted
2 eggs, at room temperature
Vegetable oil, to grease

Place water and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until butter melts and mixture just comes to the boil. Add all the flour to the butter mixture at once and use a wooden spoon to beat until well combined. Place over low heat and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture forms a ball and begins to come away from the side of the saucepan. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Whisk 1 egg in a small bowl and set aside. Whisk the remaining egg in a small bowl, then add it to the flour mixture, beating well with a wooden spoon. Gradually add a little of the reserved egg and beat until the mixture just falls from the spoon but still holds its shape. Preheat oven to 200°C. Brush a baking tray with oil to lightly grease. Spoon 25-30 teaspoonful of the mixture onto tray, about 3cm apart. Alternatively, use a pastry bag fitted with a 1.5cm-diameter plain piping nozzle to pipe the profiteroles onto the baking tray (I found this method to be the easiest and best). Brush the tops with a little of the remaining egg. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the profiteroles are puffed and golden. Remove from oven and turn the oven off. Using a skewer or a small knife, pierce the base (or top) of each profiterole to release the steam. Return the profiteroles to the oven and leave them for 15 minutes to dry out. Remove the profiteroles from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

When the profiteroles have cooled add the filling (for doce de leite click here to order online, and for chantilly cream click here for recipe). Place filling into a pastry bag (if you don’t have a pastry bag, check out this video for how to make one at home with parchment paper), insert tip into side of profiteroles and inject. You will know the profiterole is fully filled when the filling oozes out slightly, or it become difficult to push more in! If you do not want to use a piping bag you can cut the profiteroles in half and add the filling making a little profiterole sandwhich.

To finish you can top the profiteroles with melted chocolate, cocoa powder, or leave plain.

Credits
Recipe taken from www.taste.com.au
Photo #1 www.gdaysouffle.com/2013/07/24/profiteroles-with-custard-cream-and-chocolate-sauce/
Photo #2 www.specialfoodrecipe.com/chocolate-profiteroles

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.

Bolo de Coco (Coconut Cake)

Coconut CakeCake is a popular item in my house. Almost once a week I can expect a question from my husband asking me when I am going to bake a cake. You see, Brazilians absolutely love cakes. They like a simple cake that they can eat for breakfast that will have tons of flavor and just hit the spot to start the day right.

Coconut CakeYes, I did say cake for breakfast. I know, I know, I know, it is slightly weird to think of eating cake for breakfast. It definitely took me a little while to wrap my head around this one. Cake for me has always been something to eat for tea break in the morning with a cup of black tea or coffee. Or to have later in the afternoon. But, Brazilians view cake a little bit differently. Yes, they do eat cake at other times during the day, but as I have discovered with my husband, morning seems to be the favored time of day to have a slice of cake.

Coconut CakeAfter experimenting with cake for breakfast I have actually come to really enjoy it and never pass up the opportunity to have a slice of cake with my breakfast. Eating a yummy slice of cake early in the morning does have the tendency to help get the day off to a great start.

Brazilian cakes are generally very simple. And it is the simplicity of these cakes that make them so enjoyable for breakfast. Brazilian cakes have a simple flavor, light and fluffy texture, and either some icing or no icing.

This coconut cake is perfect for breakfast or with a cup of tea or coffee in the late morning or afternoon.

Ingredients

Cake
3 cups white flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
200 g  butter, room temperature
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 cup coconut milk
80g shredded coconut

Chocolate Glaze
4 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp milk

For the cake:
Heat the oven to 180C. Place the butter in a glass or metal bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and mix well. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg. Add all of the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, and salt together with the coconut milk. Mix well. Add the shredded coconut and mix lightly until it is just mixed in. Transfer mixture to a pre-greased baking tin. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center of the cake clean.

For the glaze:
Mix the cocoa powder, sugar, and milk until it is a very smooth consistency. When the cake is taken out of the oven, immediately remove from the tin and place on a plate. Cover the cake with the glaze and return to the warm oven, make sure the oven is turned off. Leave the cake in the oven with the door open for 15-20 minutes.

For a PDF of this recipe CLICK HERE!

Coconut CakeSources:
Pitadinha: O bolo de coco mais gostoso do mundo

Brigadeiro: The sweet that everyone will love

BrigadeiroFinally I am taking the plunge and sharing my recipe for brigadeiro. I still need to keep practicing my brigadeiro-making skills, but, I feel pretty confident that I can at least make brigadeiro  that is not too hard and will hold together to form a ball. If you remember a while ago I was getting exasperated with trying to master the art of making brigadeiro and instead I decided to make avocado ice cream. I ended-up giving my brigadeiro making quite a long break and just picked it up again the other day. Phew, I needed that break! Now that I have finally managed to make the traditional chocolate brigadeiro I can maybe start making different flavors. But, don’t let me get ahead of myself.

Before giving you the recipe for brigadeiro I need to tell you a little bit about what it is. As you might have guessed this is one of those Brazilian sweets that is made with sweetened condensed milk. My new friend, sweetened condensed milk makes everything so much sweeter. Brigadeiro is made with sweetened condensed milk, chocolate powder, and butter. Simple, simple, simple, or so it seems until you try to actually make it and need to learn when the exact point is that you can roll perfect balls that will hold together. Cooking too little will give you brigadeiro mole, soft brigadeiro, and cooking too much will make it hard and inedible. There are only a few seconds while cooking that it is at the ponto, point. This means that you need to know exactly when the brigadeiro is ready to take off the stove to give you beautiful balls that will hold together and will not be hard as rock! Trust me, this is not that easy.

BrigadeiroBrigadeiro is one of those sweets that everyone in Brazil loves. Everyone will have stories to tell you about how their mother made them when they were young, or that they remember how many brigadeiros filled the table on their birthdays! Brigadeiro are commonly served at children’s birthday parties, and it isn’t just one type of brigadeiro that is served, it is usually a whole mountain of them. To me this seems like the best way to make sure the kids run around like crazy and have a great time, hopped up on sugar!

So yes, brigadeiro are commonly served as a children’s sweet, but that doesn’t mean adults don’t enjoy them too. In fact, almost all adults in Brazil love brigadeiro and will take any excuse to eat them. I have joined their ranks and absolutely love brigadeiro and can never get enough of them. I am always eager to try different flavors and, believe me, there is no shortage of different brigadeiro flavors: lavendar, whisky, scotch, pistachio, etc. I can’t wait to make all the different flavors!

BrigadeiroIn theory making brigadeiro is very simple. All you need to do is put the sweetened condensed milk, chocolate powder, and butter into a pan, mix together well and then place over a low heat. Once over the heat all you do is stir and wait until it reaches the ponto where it is perfect for rolling those beautifully tasty balls of sweetened condensed milk and chocolate. But, the process of the cooking is not all that easy. But don’t sweat it, after a couple of tries you will get it and won’t want to stop making them. Are you ready to learn how to make brigadeiro? Ok, let’s do it!

Take a look at my post on beijinho and look at the video to learn exactly when is the right time to take the mixture off the heat. Beijinho and brigadeiro follow exactly the same process, but for some reason I just have a bit of a harder time with making brigadeiro!

Ingredients

1 can of sweetened condensed milk
4 tbsp chocolate powder
1 tbsp unsalted butter
Chocolate or colored sprinkles for decorating
30 mini paper candy cups

Place the condensed milk, chocolate powder, and butter in a stainless steel or aluminium pan. Mix all ingredients together. Place on low to medium heat and stir until the mixture falls all together to one side of the pan. Test this by lifting the pan off the heat and tipping to one side. If the mixture slightly sticks to the bottom of the pan cook a little bit more. If the mixture glues together and does not stick to the pan when slightly tipped, the mixture is ready! Pour mixture into a little greased baking dish and leave to cool for approximately 1 hour. When mixture has completely cooled roll into balls, cover with chocolate or colored sprinkles.

For a PDF of this recipe CLICK HERE!

Brigadeiro