Wednesday, April 13, 2011

RECIPE - Orange Cake (Bolo de Laranja)

Surprisingly, one way in which many Brazilians enjoy the sharp and invigorating taste of orange in the morning is in the form of a cake. Cakes are rarely thought of as breakfast food in most cultures, but they have established a place at the breakfast table in Brazil. Even a simple eat-at-home, everyday breakfast (café da manhã in Portuguese) often includes a piece or two of cake along with the usual fruit, bread and butter. In restaurants and hotels, where a large breakfast buffet is the norm, there are always a number of cakes on offer, and my own anecdotal research indicates that Brazilians readily avail themselves of this bounty.

Most of the cakes eaten at breakfast are unfrosted (but not all of them) and fall into the category of what we might call pound cakes. At times, this simple loaf cake is made from only flour, sugar, butter or oil and eggs, but at other times, additional flavoring ingredients are added, like orange, lime, pineapple or passion fruit. 

Here's a typical recipe for Brazilian orange cake, courtesy of Brazil's Globo TV network, and its daily morning show Mais Você. It's very easy to make as the ingredients are mixed in a blender (including an entire orange). The cake is delectable, and has an assertive orange flavor. It is suitable for the breakfast table, or for coffee break, mid-afternoon snack or evening dessert.
RECIPE - Orange Cake (Bolo de Laranja)

2 cups granulated white sugar
3 whole eggs, preferably free-range
1 medium orange
1 cup neutral vegetable oil, canola or sunflower preferred
2 cups cake flour (all-purpose flour can be substituted)
1 Tbsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 450F (230C). Grease a loaf or tube cake pan generously with butter, then dust with flour. Reserve the pan.

Carefully wash the orange, scrubbing the skin well. Cut it into quarters, then remove the white mass that runs down the center of the orange. De-seed the orange. 

Combine in a food processor or sturdy blender the orange quarters, the sugar, eggs and oil. Blend at high speed until you have a homogenous mixture. Pour the mixture through a sieve into a medium bowl.

In another large mixing bowl combine the flour and baking powder and stir with a wooden spoon to mix well. Add the sieved liquid and mix into the flour with the wooden spoon until the batter is homogenous. You do not need to use a cake beater, just combine thoroughly.

Pour the batter into the greased cake pan and place in the preheated oven. Reduce oven heat to 400F (200C) and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before removing from the cake pan.

If desired, powdered sugar can be sprinkled on the top of the cake once it's completely cooled.

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