I hardly ever buy bananas here in Uruguay. When you’re used to Brazilian bananas, you don’t really care for the Ecuadorian ones, which have to be harvested much earlier than ideal to arrive here fresh.
“Hardly ever” doesn’t mean “never,” so I had bought some the other day and dumbly forgot about them! I’m still not sure how that happened, but that’s ok, because overripe banana means banana bread, one of the tastiest things you can bake!
Looking for a new take on it, I found this recipe by Deb, which seemed pretty much infallible: it’s banana and chocolate! Marbled! It was so tasty that, less than a month after the first try, I bought bananas again and let them get overripe ON PURPOSE, so I could bake this again! 🙂
3 large and veeeeeeery ripe bananas – you know, the ones you considered tossing? Those.
115 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted – well, I only buy unsalted butter, but if all you have is salted butter, don’t worry: just don’t add salt to the batter.
145 g (3/4 cup) brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
130 g (1 cup) + 35 g (1/4 cup) flour – leave those separate, they’re used at different steps!
½ tsp ground cinnamon – you know me: I used about 1 tsp allspice instead 😀
20 g (1/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
130 g (3/4 cup) chocolate chips – I used the mini chips, with 50% cocoa, but next time I’ll use a darker chocolate, chopped.
As in most cake recipes, I started by pre-heating the oven to 180 C (350 F) and greasing the pan – in this case, a 9×5 loaf pan.
In a medium-sized pan, melt the butter. In that same pan, mash the bananas very well. Add the brown sugar, egg, vanilla, baking soda, and salt, and mix thoroughly using a rubber spatula. Add 1 cup of flour, mixing until you can’t see any specks of flour.
Pour half of the batter into a bowl – I totally eyeballed it, but you can be a proper baker and weight it. To one half of the batter, add the remaining ¼ cup of flour and ground cinnamon, mixing well. To the other half, add the cocoa powder and chocolate chips.
Now it’s time to create the marble effect: place dollops of dark and white batter in the pan, as in a checkerboard. You’ll probably need to add a second layer of batter, so the top layer should be opposite the bottom: place a dollop of white batter over the dark batter, and vice-versa. Then, push a butter knife (or an offset spatula) until the bottom of the pan and drag it in a wave motion from one side of the pan to the other, just once – this way, you’ll get a marbled batter and not make it all one flavor!
Bake for approximately one hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean – be careful not to confuse melted chocolate chips for raw batter! Let it cool for about 10 minutes, then run a spatula around the pan, remove the bread from it, and let it cool over a wire rack. I like to serve it warm, but it is great at room temperature too!
FREEZER: This freezes perfectly. I usually let it cool completely before slicing it and placing in a Ziploc bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.
For Easter, I decided to unleash my inner hipster and make a chocolate-FREE dessert! The strawberries at the supermarket looked inviting, so I decided to bake this cake that I had seen made by Paula from The Cookie Shop and Deb from Smitten Kitchen, all based on Martha Stewart’s recipe! 😀
This cake is everything you want from a strawberry cake. I hadn’t had such a good cake – and such a pretty one – in a long time! The best thing is that it’s not very hard; actually, it comes together reasonably quickly.
When the cake came out of the oven, Sky asked me: do we have cream? I opened the fridge and saw a small package of cream. I whipped it to serve with the cake, making our dessert even richer!
For a 10-inch cake, you’ll need:
85g (6 Tbsp) butter, softened
200g (1 and 1/2 cup) flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
200g (1 cup) sugar, plus 2 Tbsp to sprinkle over the cake – I used regular sugar in the batter, and turbinado sugar to sprinkle over the cake
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
400 g strawberries, hulled and halved
Butter a 10-inch round pie plate and pre-heat the oven to 180 C (350 F). It is such a quick process that I actually started pre-heating the oven before making the batter 😀
Start by sifting together the flour, salt, and baking powder. I must confess I never sift – I follow Chef John’s trick of whisking them thoroughly for 2 minutes. This gets rid of any lumps and saves me from having to wash the sieve! 😀
Using your stand mixer, cream the butter with the sugar. The recipes usually say something about “mix until the cream is pale,” but Uruguayan butter is pretty yellow, so that never really happens – it has never stopped me from baking anyway, though!
Add the egg and mix well. Then, add the milk and vanilla, mixing well. At this point, the mixture looked a bit curdled, which is normal for this kind of cake.
As usual, to avoid over-mixing the batter, at this stage I change to a hand whisk. Add the flour mixture little by little, mixing just until you can’t see any flour specks.
Transfer the batter to the buttered pie plate. Place the strawberry halves over the dough, cut side down. Try to place them as close together as you can!
Sprinkle 2 Tbsp of sugar (I used turbinado) over the strawberries and bake at 180 C (350 F) for 10 minutes. Then, lower the temperature to 170 C (325 F) and bake until it’s golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes clean – the recipes said this would take about an hour, but in my oven it took only 45 minutes.
Let the cake cool over a wire rack and serve with whipped cream!
Better late than never! May is over, but this is such a different recipe that I didn’t want to save it for later! (Blame the Abrates conference for my delay in posting this! Hahahahah!)
To end the Chocolate Tertulias (and celebrate my birthday, which was on the 19th), I decided to make a cake I had seen at A Cozinha Coletiva, a blog I’ve been following for years, but had never tried a recipe from.
I must confess: halfway through the recipe, I was “man, this is not going to work…” But I persisted, and it was worth it! The texture is very unusual: it resembles a cake, but also a pudding, or maybe something else… and it’s delicious!
For an 8 x 8 inch cake, you’ll need
110 g (1 cup) unsalted butter
600 ml (2 and 1/2 cups) whole milk, lukewarm
115 g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
45 g (1/2 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
4 egg whites
4 drops white vinegar
4 egg yolks
210 g (1 and 3/4 cup) confectioner’s sugar
30 ml (2 Tbsp) prepared – and strong – coffee – you can also use espresso
1 tsp vanilla extract
For garnish (optional, but go ahead and do it):
Berries – I looked all over town for raspberries, as it was my birthday! 😀
Attention: Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius – yes, the lowest temperature!
Start by melting the butter and warming up the milk. Set them aside.
In a small bowl, whisk the flour and cocoa powder. I managed to BREAK my whisk while doing that! I still can’t figure out how I did that, but you’re (probably) a more normal person, so you won’t do that… 😀
Using the stand mixer, whisk the egg whites with the vinegar, which is there to help you reach hard peaks – have you seen that trick of turning the bowl upside-down and seeing if the egg whites will fall on your head? That’s it. If it doesn’t move, it’s ready.
In the third bowl, which should be large enough to fit all the ingredients, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until you get a light and pale cream – I had to use a FORK to whisk, can you imagine? In this bowl, add the melted (and cooled) butter, the coffee, and the vanilla. Whisk for two minutes, until combined.
Add the milk and mix well. This is when it looks as if it’s ruined, because it’s too liquid. Don’t worry, that’s how it’s supposed to be! 🙂
Add the whisked egg whites, one-third at a time, in a delicate folding motion.
Once again: don’t freak out, it is pretty liquid indeed, but it works! Pour the mix over a well-greased 8 x 8 baking pan, and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
Ritchie’s description for how to know when the cake is ready was perfect: “bake until you notice that, when you wiggle the pan, the cake wiggles too, but more like jell-o than a liquid. It sounds like a weird description, but you’ll understand.” And you really will! 😀
Let it cool completely. When the cake is fully cooled, cut in squares, dust some confectioner’s sugar, decorate with some berries for extra frou-frou, and serve!
I did some serious thinking before deciding on the theme for May: “I want to do chocolate, but then again, right after Easter, is it worth it?, etc…” until I realized: who gets sick of chocolate? 😀
To start off the Chocolate Tertulias, I decided to finally photograph my second favorite chocolate cake! My very favorite chocolate cake is the one my mom makes, but that is for another series 😛 Devil’s food loaf is similar to that cake, but the frosting is very different – and the best part of it!
45g unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ tsp baking soda
100 ml boiling water
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3 medium eggs
233g brown sugar
½ cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
60 g dark chocolate, chopped
14g unsalted butter
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbsp whole milk
½ Tbsp honey
Start by preparing your loaf pan (mine was 8.5 x 9.5 inches): butter it, line it with parchment paper, making sure there’s an excess of paper so it’s easy to take the cake out of the pan, and then butter the parchment paper!
In a small bowl, whisk the cocoa with the boiling water. Mix in the baking soda and let it cool for 20 minutes.
In a medium bowl, thoroughly whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. In the stand mixer, mix the eggs, sugar, and oil, until you get a smooth cream. Add the vanilla. Mix in the flour mixture – at this stage, I prefer to use a rubber spatula, but that’s just me. Add the cocoa/water mix and combine well.
Pour the batter into the pan. Now, something different: tap the pan on the counter a few times, to remove air bubbles from the batter. I don’t know what horrible thing happens if you skip this step; I never did! 😀
Bake in a pre-heated oven until it passes the toothpick test – here, it took about 50 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing it – you’ll see how the parchment paper trick makes the process easy! Let the cake cool completely.
When it’s completely cooled, it’s time to make the frosting. Melt the chocolate and butter in a small pan, over a water bath. While the chocolate melts, mix the cocoa powder, milk, and honey in another small pan, stirring constantly over high heat until it simmers. Pass the contents of this second pan through a sieve over the chocolate and butter mixture, stirring well (I must confess: I sometimes just mix the contents of both pans, without fussing with the sieve). Spread the frosting over the cake – do this immediately, as it dries quickly.
Test your willpower by letting the frost set for a couple hours before serving!
Things were a bit quiet around here, weren’t they? There’s a pretty good explanation, though: we moved! Between looking for a new apartment, signing a contract, trying to get everything ready, giving up and calling Mom and Dad to help us move, and, of course, working, it was pretty hard to post here! But now that that is over, it’s time to face the folder “Photographed – Need to write the recipe”! To start, I decided to write this recipe, which I made in Brasília and was totally worth it! 🙂
As soon as I got Rita Lobo’s book, I rushed to select the recipes I wouldn’t be able to cook in Uruguay: the cod and black-eyed peas salad, plantain gnocchi (which I ended up not cooking), and these wonderful muffins.
Grating the manioc was extremely boring. The worst of it was that, when I was almost finished, mom told me we could buy grated manioc at the supermarket!! >.< Other than that, the recipe is pretty straightforward. I’m calling them muffins because of their shape – the texture is not quite that, as this is (almost) a flour-free recipe.
When it came out of the oven, we thought “oh, let’s just share one, to taste, we’ve eaten a lot today already.” After the first bite, I had to HIDE two of them for the pictures, because everyone wanted their own! It was THAT tasty! 🙂
For 12 muffins, you’ll need:
1 ½ cup of skinned manioc, grated – please, buy the grated kind! 😀
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup oil
1 cup of meia-cura cheese, shredded – as this is impossible to find outside of Brazil, good substitutions would be mild cheddar, Colby, or Monterey Jack.
1 cup unsweetened dry coconuts
Butter and cornstarch to coat the muffin tin and say you made a gluten-free recipe, therefore it must be healthy, therefore you can eat it all at once no problem 😛
Start by placing the shredded manioc in a bowl and covering it with ½ cup water. While the manioc rests, butter your muffin tin and then dust with cornstarch – it will make a little bit of a mess on your counter, ok? Don’t worry.
In a big bowl, whisk the eggs, the sugar, and the oil, until they become a smooth creamy mixture.
Press the manioc on a sieve to drain the water. To the egg mix, add the coconut, the manioc, and the cheese. Place the dough in the muffin tin – do not overfill and do not press the dough down.
Bake in a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes, or until they are golden brown – it was very weird to cook a recipe where you can’t use a toothpick to test if it’s ready!
Let them cool before removing from the tin. Control yourself and don’t eat them all at once!