I was going to have guests that evening for the weekly pizza night, with my dear old friends. The pizza and the friends are always the same – the only two new things in this gatherings are the conversation (new gossip every time) and the dessert (my job, obviously)
But… it was raining, cold and sad outside, I had ZERO eggs or mood to buy some.
I remembered this humble cake I’ve tried some time ago. Check the recipe out: I bet you have every ingredient in your pantry, and nobody can tell it is an eggless, butterless, milkless cake. Super tender, moist and light, this one is not very sweet – perfect for other delicious additions, like the vanilla ice cream my friend Paula brought.
Oh, yeah, I guess you can call it a vegan cake. Without the ice-cream, of course. Or the oh my god so delicious hot fudge sauce I served along.
And if you excuse me, I’ll be in the kitchen having another piece.
Chocolate Cake (adapted from the Martha Stewart Living Magazine/ Dec 2007)
- Vegetable-oil cooking spray
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup sunflower oil (used corn oil)
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (I was out of vanilla)
- 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat an 8-inch round cake pan with spray (I greased with vegetable oil and coated with cocoa).
- Whisk water and cocoa in a small bowl until smooth. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl, and make a well in center. Add cocoa mixture, oil, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in vinegar. Pour into pan.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake, invert it onto rack, and turn cake right side up. Let cool completely. Transfer cake to a serving plate or a cake stand. Cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Hot Fudge Sauce (from Baking, from my Home to Yours)
- 50g (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut in 8 pieces
- 170g/ 6 ounces finely chopped semisweet chocolate
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 tbsp light corn syrup
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- In a double-boiler, melt the chocolate and butter together, stirring once in a while. Keep the heat low, or the chocolate and butter will separate. Transfer the bowl to the counter when mixture is smooth.
- In a small heavy saucepan, mix the cream, corn syrup, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil. Let boil for 1 minute and remove from heat.
- Pour about 1/4 of the hot cream over the chocolate mixture. Stir until smooth. Pour over the rest of the cream in two more additions, stirring gently until the sauce is shiny and smooth again. Let the sauce cool for 10 minutes before using.
- You can keep the sauce for up to 3 weeks in the fridge. Reheat carefully in the microwave.
I’m in the middle of a super, super busy week, lots of orders, so I decided to post this little cake.
This recipe was originally published in the super cool blog The Wicked Noodle, as a guest post. It’s as Brazilian as you can get: this buttery cake with the caramelized bananas on top can be found in almost every bakery around here.
Banana Upside Down Cake
For the caramel banana layer:
- 1 1/2 cup (170g) sugar
- 5 to 6 ripe bananas (make sure they are ripe, otherwise they will become hard)
For the cake:
- 2 cups (240g) all purpose flour
- 1 cup (90g) cornstarch
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 4 large eggs, divided
- 4 tbsp (56g) unsalted butter
- 2 cups (200g) sugar
- 1 cup (200ml) milk
Make the banana layer:
1. Put the sugar in a 10 in. (25cm) round pan, and bring it to a medium heat to
make a dry caramel. Once it’s fluid and light amber in color, with a wooden spoon,
distribute the caramel evenly all over the bottom and sides of the pan. Set aside.
2. Split the bananas lengthwise and distribute them with the cut side down, over the
caramel. Try to place them as close as you can (they will shrink a bit) and close to
the pan sides – it will be easier to release the cake later if you do so.
Make the cake:
1. Preheat the oven 350° F (180°C).
2. In a bowl, sift the flour, cornstarch and baking powder. Set aside.
3. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Set aside.
4. In the electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar and egg yolks until very light and
5. Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk. Beat only
until the flour is all mixed. With a big spatula, fold the beaten egg whites
6. Pour the batter over the banana layer, distributing evenly.
7. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until it’s golden and a toothpick inserted in the
center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake rest for a bit, but you want unmold it while it’s still warm.
When my mother passed away, she left for me a small vintage cookbook collection, with books from the 60′s and 70′s, and also her old recipe notebook.
I love this notebook – it has recipes from both of my grandmas, from mom, and even from myself – when I was a little girl. Most part of the recipes my mother collected from friends and family and some she clipped from old magazines. I’ve had tasted a lot of the dishes from the notebook by mom’s hands, some she has just copied but never tried.
Well, since I’m just fascinated about old recipes, why not jumping into a journey through the family notebook?
I’ve decided to start the adventure with this one: Conceição’s Anthill Cake. Conceição was the housemaid at a mom’s friend house. She was already in her fifties, and people said she was a retired nun. She always made the famous cake when we visited - a moist and tender coconut cake with chocolate jimmies in the batter, to resemble an anthill.
I didn’t have any chocolate jimmies, so I improvised with pink sprinkles I had left from another recipe. The frosting comes from the notebook too: a never tested before recipe from some unknown 80′s magazine, kind of a marshmallow cream with red flavored Jell-O.
Conceição’s Anthill Cake – 24 cupcakes
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 4 egg whites
- 200g (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 100g desiccated grated coconut
- 1 cup milk
- 50g chocolate jimmies (I used pink sprinkles)
For the cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line two 12 cup muffin tins with cupcake liners.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour and baking powder.
In the electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Set aside.
In another bowl in the electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the coconut.
Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk. End with flour. Mix in the chocolate jimmies.
With a large spoon or spatula, fold the beaten egg whites in the batter.
Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes come out clean. Take the cupcakes from the tin and let cool over a wire rack before frosting.
Pink Frosting (from somewhere in the 80′s)
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 tbsp red flavored Jell-o/ gelatin (I used strawberry)
- 2 egg whites, beaten to soft peaks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (didn’t use)
In a saucepan, mix sugar, gelatin and water. Cook over medium heat until it boils and the sugar and gelatin are fully dissolved. In a steady stream, add the gelatin mixture to the beaten egg whites, with the electric mixer on high speed. Beat until it looks like a meringue and it’s cold, about 10 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix well. Use immediately. Decorate as desired.
It’s strawberry time!
And it’s also winter break at my daughter’s preschool… For the first time in my life, I’m living the full time mom experience. You know, she’s almost two – talking, dancing, singing, running, crying, laughing, fighting, falling, all at once!
Strawberries are her absolute favorites. I’ve bought some to make this bonbons, but the little hurricane ate them all.
The reason I’m telling you all this is, in fact, to get some help! If you, more experienced mothers out there, happen to have any suggestions on how to entertain 20-month-old kids for a WHOLE MONTH, please drop me a line!
Now, back to business:
These confections have a simple and delicious concept – strawberry covered in white brigadeiro covered again in chocolate. They demand a lot of work, but is totally worth it.
The strawberries must be washed and patted dry carefully – you don’t wanna poke them, or they will run juices and ruin the whole thing. Select the smaller, sweeter fruit for this recipe, and don’t let the little thieves still them.
- 20 strawberries (small to medium)
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 400g milk chocolate, to cover
- 1/2 cup sugar
Prepare the strawberries
Wash carefully and pat dry the strawberries. Take the leaves out, but not the stems. If the stems are too long, trim them short. Leave it to air dry in a ventilated place.
Prepare the white brigadeiro
Butter a soup plate or platter. In a saucepan, mix the condensed milk and butter. Cook over medium flame, always stirring, till boil. Reduce heat. Stir constantly, scraping bottom and sides of the pan. When it thickens and pulls from bottom of the pan (about 105º/221F), it’s ready. It will firm a bit after cooled. Transfer to the buttered plate, let it cool completely. The cooled brigadeiro looks and feels like a soft fudge.
And here we go…
Place the sugar on a small bowl and set aside. Butter your hands a little and take small portions (about a teaspoon) of the brigadeiro dough and wrap each strawberry all the way through. Dip the base on sugar and reserve.
Line with parchment paper a tray big enough to hold all the strawberries. Melt and temper the chocolate.
Dip in the chocolate first the strawberries bottoms, one by one, and set on paper to harden. Then, dip the strawberries thoroughly very carefully, lift it with a fork and let it drain a little to remove excess chocolate. Place them on the parchment paper and let the chocolate dry.
The bonbons are best eaten the same day they were made.