Monday, September 28, 2015

Almond, coconut and lime cake

Almond, coconut and lime cake / Bolo de amêndoa, coco e limão

Hello, is there anyone here? :)

It has been a while since I last published a recipe on this blog, and it has been a while since cooked anything new or interesting – I no longer know what baking is, but I’ve told you that already.

Nothing has changed in nearly a month: I’m still working like crazy (and on top of that I have resumed my Spanish classes), I rarely feel like cooking or baking and I don’t think I ever longed for weekends so much in my life before. I hope things get calmer with time and I also hope to be able to go back to cooking, baking and posting here more regularly, for it is something that makes me really happy.

While that doesn’t happen, I hope that after all this time there is still someone reading me for this cake deserves to be shared: it is absolutely delicious, tender and perfumed, and I am sure that I would feel a lot better now if there was still a slice of it around. :)

Almond, coconut and lime cake
slightly adapted from the über beautiful Summer Berries & Autumn Fruits: 120 Sensational Sweet & Savoury Recipes

1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
finely grated zest of 2 limes
1/3 cup (75g) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup (80ml) olive oil
1 ¾ cups (175g) almond meal
½ cup (50g) unsweetened desiccated coconut
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons (125g) all purpose fl our
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
4 medium eggs – I used 3 very large eggs, 70g each
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 rounded tablespoons sour cream*

freshly squeezed juice of 2 limes
100ml water
2 ½ tablespoons honey
1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Butter a tall 20cm round cake pan, line the bottom with a circle of baking paper and butter it as well.

Place the sugar and lime zest in the bowl of an electric mixer and rub with your fingertips until sugar is fragrant. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat. Remove from the heat, stir in the olive oil and leave to cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond meal, coconut, flour, baking powder and salt.
Using an electric mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed until they are very thick and pale, tripled in volume and leave a ribbon trail when the whisk is lifted from the bowl. Beat in the vanilla. Gently fold the almond mixture, then fold in the butter mixture and sour cream. Pour into the pan, smooth the top and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 40-50 minutes or until risen and golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Syrup: in a small saucepan, bring the lime juice, water, honey and sugar to the boil. Continue to bubble steadily until reduced by half and syrupy.
Leave the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack for five minutes. Using a wooden skewer, make holes all over the top of the cake, then slowly pour over the syrup, gradually, waiting for each portion to be absorbed by the cake before pouring more. Let cool completely in the pan.

*homemade sour cream: to make 1 cup of sour cream, mix 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream with 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice in a bowl. Whisk until it starts to thicken. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 1 hour or until thicker (I usually leave mine on the counter overnight – except on very warm nights – and it turns out thick and silky in the following morning; refrigerate for a creamier texture)

Serve 8-10

Monday, September 7, 2015

Cinnamon Cointreau brownies

Cinnamon Cointreau brownies / Brownies com canela e Cointreau

My days have been very busy – a lot busier than I would like them to be, honestly – and I haven’t baked anything in weeks – I don’t even remember when I last turned on the oven for something sweet. Many weekends have gone by without cakes cooling down on racks around here. :(

I’m glad that I made a few baked goods before going back to work and I can share them with you here, like these absolutely wonderful brownies – the original recipe called for ancho chile powder, but I guess I am a bit conservative when it comes to chocolate desserts and don’t like the idea of adding chili to my brownies (sorry, Matt and Renato).

I omitted the chile powder, amped up the cinnamon and switched the fresh ginger for a healthy dose of Cointreau and the brownies turned out delicious – not only in flavor, but also in texture, very moist and fudgy (that is how I like brownies). You can use your imagination and use different spices or go for whisky or Marsala instead of Cointreau, for example, or if you have kids around use just the vanilla – I guarantee the brownies will be equally great.

Cinnamon Cointreau brownies
slightly adapted from the delicious Baked: New Frontiers in Baking and Baked Elements: The Importance of Being Baked in 10 Favorite Ingredients

¾ cup (105g) all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Dutch cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
140g (5oz) dark chocolate, chopped – I used one with 53% cocoa solids
½ cup (113g/1 stick) unsalted butter
¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (44g) packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoons Cointreau

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Lightly butter a 20cm (8in) square pan, line it with foil leaving an overhang on two opposite sides, then butter the foil as well.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cocoa powder and cinnamon. Set aside.
Place chocolate and butter in a large bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water (do not let the bowl touch the water) and stir until melted. Turn off heat, but keep bowl over water and add both sugars. Whisk until completely combined and remove bowl from pan. Let stand until room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, to chocolate-butter mixture and whisk until just combined. Add vanilla and Cointreau and whisk to combine. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or the brownies will be cakey.
Sprinkle flour-cocoa mixture over chocolate mixture. Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet until there is just a trace amount of the flour-cocoa mix visible.
Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake brownies for 20-25 minutes; brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool brownies completely before cutting and serving.

Makes 16

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