Wednesday, March 10, 2010

RECIPE - Luis Felipe Cake (Bolo Luis Felipe)

First, I have to say that after much internet research I have no idea who "Luis Felipe" was, or why he inspired this recipe for a cake that is one of the most-loved desserts of the state of Ceará, where I live. Although the cake can now be found throughout Brazil, it's always associated with Ceará, so I'm going to guess that the mysterious Luis Felipe must have lived here. Whether he was a cook, a thief (a wife or a lover?) is probably lost in time, but his name lives on in this very unusual and delectable cake.

To my mind what makes this cake so different is its texture. It's a mixture of eggs, milk, sugar and flour - the basis of so many desserts from around the world. If you cook eggs, milk and sugar mixed together the result is some form of custard. Add a bit of flour and you get a clafouti, which is a slightly thicker custard. Add a lot of flour and the result is a simple pound cake. Luis Felipe cake has more flour than a clafouti, and less than a pound cake. The result is a dessert that's halfway between custard and cake. It has the uniform consistency of custard, but can be sliced and served without falling apart. It does not have the "crumbly" texture of cake, but has a very similar flavor. It's a strange beast indeed, and I've never seen any other cake with it's texture - anywhere or anytime.

It's not difficult to make, and if you (or your guests) are fans of custard or pound cake, serve Luis Felipe Cake. I can almost guarantee the seconds will be served!
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RECIPE - Luis Felipe Cake (Bolo Luis Felipe)
Serves 10

4 egg whites
10 egg yolks
1 1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup canned cononut milk, unsweetened
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups granulated white sugar
1 1/2 cup water
1 tsp. salt

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In a medium, heavy saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the water, then heat over medium-high heat until the syrup reaches the "thread stage" (temperature 225F-235F on candy thermometer, or until the syrup drips from spoon, forming soft threads in cold water). Remove from heat, add the butter and salt, and let cool completely.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Beat the egg whites to the "soft peak" stage, then gently beat in the yolks, one at a time, until you have a consistent mass. Fold in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, alternating with the coconut milk and the grated cheese. Finally, fold in the cooled syrup.

Generously butter a ring-shaped cake pan, and dust with flour. Pour the batter into the pan, place in a preheated oven, and cook for approximately 50 minutes to one hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Let cool completely, then unmold and serve.

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