a sweet, baked, breadlike food, made with or without shortening, and usually containing flour, sugar, baking powder or soda, eggs, and liquid flavoring. " Brazilians eat cake for breakfast - some people every day; others only on special occasions or when breakfasting at a hotel or resort . They eat cake as a sweet pick-me-up at various times during the day. They also eat it as dessert, though less frequently then.
What distinguishes the majority of Brazilian cakes from those found in North America or Europe is that Brazilian cakes are generally not frosted (with the notable exception of party cakes such as birthday cake). There's something about the texture and sweetness of frosting that really doesn't suit Brazil's hot climate. Even if the frosting doesn't melt, it really doesn't appeal.
Instead of frosting a cake, Brazilian cooks often prefer to make a fruit-based syrup and then, when the cake is fresh out of the oven, pour that syrup over the cake. The syrup soaks into the cake and infuses it with the heady flavor and aroma of fresh fruit, turning what is basically sweet bread into something marvelous. Brazilians employ this technique using a variety of fruits and are especially fond of using acidic fruits, like citrus fruits and passion fruit, as the base for the syrup. The acidity in the syrup balances its sweetness and prevents the syrup from cloying.
This recipe is for orange cake, one of the most popular of the fruit-syrup cakes in Brazil. It's perfect served with tea or coffee mid-morning or mid-afternoon, and makes a great dessert topped with a dollop of whipped cream or a ball of best-quality vanilla ice cream. The recipe is from Brazilian food website Panelinha, translated and adapted by Flavors of Brazil.
RECIPE - Orange Cake (Bolo de Laranja)
For the cake:
2 medium oranges
1 cup neutral vegetable oil (canola preferred)
2 whole eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
For the syrup:
juice of one large orange
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Generously grease a rectangular, tube or Bundt cake pan with unsalted butter, then dust with flour.
With a paring knife, peel the oranges, then cut the segments open and cut out the flesh. Discard the peel and the papery covering of the segments. Put the orange segments in a blender along with the oil and the two eggs and blend until you have a completely homogenous mixture.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, the sugar and the baking powder. Add the liquid from the blender slowly, stirring in with a wooden or plastic spoon, making sure to break up any lumps. When all the liquid is added, continue stirring until the mixture is homogenous.
Pour the batter from the mixing bowl into the prepared cake pan, and carefully place in the middle of the preheated oven. Cook for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and place it, still in the pan, for about 30 minutes to cool.
Meanwhile, make the syrup. Combine the orange juice and sugar in a small pan, heat over high heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar completely. Bring to a boil. Let boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and reserve.
When the cake is cooled, turn it out, reversing it, onto a platter with a raised edge. Using a fork, pierce the surface in many places to aid in the absorption of the syrup. Slowly pour the syrup over the cake, letting it soak in as you pour. Don't let the syrup pool on the platter.
Serve the cake immediately, or let stand, covered for up to 24 hours, prior to serving.