Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Brazilian Carrot Cake

     We love Renata. She lived with us for four years. Renata was 21 when she came to us from Brazil as an Au Pair. What a gift from God in so many ways. At first she wasn't sure if she liked Kansas, that is, the country. She was from a bustling city. Our house was a former monestary. In the first two weeks of the quiet of summer, college town empty, she announced that she "did not want to be a nun," she'd have to relocate.

     Within that time of decision, we hosted the Benedictine Monks for a St. Benedict's feast day party. Renata met some monks who spoke Portuguese. There is a mission of our monks in Brazil, not far from Renata's town. By the grace of God, she decided to stay.

     What a joy she has been. Soon after Renata's decision to stay we found out we were expecting again. I waited, breath held. She didn't run! She proved to be such a blessing when Mary Pat was born and I was in Kansas City for more than a month.  She later predicted we'd have ten children. So far, she's right!

     Renata taught us how to make some delicious Brazilian food. Just today Jim, three, asked if we could make "Lala's Carrot Cake." When he awakens in a little while from his nap, we'll do just that. Here is the recipe. I must point out that it resembles American Cake in absolutely no way. It is a very European cake, which makes sense as Brazil was settled by the Portuguese! It is moist with a thin, crispy layer of chocolate. It is not as sweet as an American cake. Our family loves it, and I hope yours will, too!

Brazilian Carrot Cake

Mix in blender til smooth (if you have a VitaMix, all the better!):

1 1/4 cups canola oil
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups sugar

Add, and blend again until as smooth as possible:

2 cups coarsley chopped carrots, or baby carrots

Pour this lovely orange mixture into a large bowl. Add:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
(I add a tsp. of vanilla and 1/2 tsp. salt, also)

Blend well. Pour into a 12 inch round cake pan or a 9"X13" baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, until the top springs back when lightly touched. Let cool in pan, but frost when just out of the oven with:

Chocolate Coating

Bring to a boil briefly:

1 cup sugar
3-4 Tb. cocoa
1/8 cup water

Stir, then remove from heat and pour over hot cake. Spread evenly.

     We eat the cake while still warm, because we just can't wait until it cools. It is best, in my mind, with a strong cup of Brazilian Coffee. The children like it with a cold glass of milk. Carrots in the cake mean it's fair game for breakfast the next morning...if it lasts that long!

Enjoy! God Bless!