Watch a video of this Brazilian Five Carrot Cake (Bolo de Cenoura) HERE.
I didn’t know the American version of carrot cake until I moved to America in the late 90s.
Growing up in Brazil, I knew a different carrot cake, one that is sheet based, moist, smooth, and has a delicious chocolate glaze. In Portuguese, we call it “Bolo de Cenoura com Cobertura de Chocolate” or “Carrot Cake with a Chocolate Glaze.”
This Brazilian Five Carrot Cake (Bolo de Cenoura) is not the kind of dessert found in restaurants in Brazil. Still, it can be found in most home kitchens all over the country, left at room temperature on the kitchen counter, with a plastic film on top, still resting inside the baking pan, and each day the cake seems to disappear by the piece. Sometimes by the row. Sometimes by the half.
Watch Video HERE
When I was growing up in Rio de Janeiro, my mom had a theory that if we had sweets at home, we would eat them, and it’s much harder to stay away from sugar when you have it right in front of you. She was right then. She is right today.
I’ll never forget a conversation between my mother and a friend about making Pudim de Leite (Brazilian Flan), Carrot Cake, Quindim (Egg Yolk-Coconut Custard Cake), and other classic Brazilian home sweets. I was a very young girl, and my mother’s friend told us she’d have home sweets such as those mentioned above prepared weekly for her family.
“My kids love to take a daily sweet bite,” her friend justified.
“If you have it at home, then they’ll eat it,” my mother defended.
To this day, I am torn between the enormous contradictions that life presents us, such as:
Don’t eat sugar. And, what’s the problem with having a small piece of sweet? It’s a bite of pleasure.
After all, dessert is the only food we eat strictly for fun. It’s the toy store of the food world. It’s hard to find the balance.
My kids discovered Carrot Cake when we went to visit a friend in Rio, and in her kitchen, there it was, the carrot cake inside the baking pan on the kitchen counter, with a plastic film on top.
“Mom, can you make this at home for us?”
My kids said, already knowing this is the kind of request I love to be asked!
Baking this Brazilian Five Carrot Cake (Bolo de Cenoura) takes only a few minutes to put together. All you do is blend the ingredients, and then you have an incredible creation in your kitchen, bestowing a welcome all weekend!
For anyone who is intimated by baking, this Brazilian Five Carrot Cake (Bolo de Cenoura) is the perfect start. Put the wet ingredients in a blender food or processor, pour into a baking pan, and bake for 30 minutes. Let it cool and cover it with a chocolate frosting.
As easy as it seems, there is a way to ruin this cake. The recipe will turn out dense and dry if you use store-bought shredded carrots. The secret to this cake is to use fresh carrots and grate/shred them just before preparing the cake when they are still moist and juicy in their vibrant orange color.
This will result in a soft cake that is spongy, wet, and intense, yet not heavy.
Brazilian Five Carrot Cake (Bolo de Cenoura)
Watch video of this recipe HERE
Makes one 9X13 pan, or yield about 16 to 18 pieces
1½ cups (240g) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 ½ (385g) freshly shredded carrots (about 4 to 5)
1 cup canola oil
1 cup (240g) sugar
½ cup (75g) light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup sour cream
9oz (270g) semi-sweet chocolate
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon confection sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
Equipment: one 9 X 13-inches baking pan, greased, lined with parchment paper, greased again, and lightly dusted with flour.
- Prepare the Cake: in a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, ginger, and cinnamon. Reserve.
- In a food processor, beat the eggs, carrots, canola oil, cane sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until completely smooth, about 5 minutes. Pour into the flour bowl and fold well with a rubber spatula or a whisk, until the batter is completely homogeneous and there are no pockets of flour.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake at 350˚F, for 30 minutes, rotating once during baking time, until the cake is lightly brown on top, and beginning to pull from the sides. A toothpick inserted should come out clean. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack, but leave the cake inside the pan. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes before spreading the frosting.
- Make the Frosting: Melt chocolate in a water bath until it’s just melted. Remove from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Add the vanilla, sugar, and butter and mix until homogeneous. Spread frosting on the cake while still warm, making some swirls with a spoon to decorate. Allow the frosting to set at room temperature, then cut into rectangles or squares.
If you liked this recipe, you might also enjoy:
Brazilian Chicken Salad (Salpicao de Frango)
American Style The Best Carrot Cake
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