When traveling abroad, Americans are often surprised to find that, in many countries, dinnertime is usually much later than what they’ve come to expect in their everyday lives.
In my home country of Brazil, dinner is typically served around 9 p.m.
Although this takes some adjusting every time I visit, I tend to prefer a later dinner. The main reason being more time to enjoy “lanchinhos” in the late afternoon.
Lanchinho (lung-sh-ing-o) is what Brazilians, like my grandmothers, call their afternoon snack or teatime.
In their households a variety of baked snacks are always on hand in case a neighbor decides to drop by for a chat, a standard in Brazilian hospitality.
From an early age I realized that visiting any household meant a delicious snack was waiting for me.
Homemade cookies with frosting, fresh-baked breads or fluffy warm cakes, I always accepted a taste.
That is why I loved accompanying my grandma Adelma when she visited anyone.
One of her favorite sweets to whip up is a simple “blender cake,” which calls for the majority of ingredients to be blended before being mixed with flour to form the batter.
My favorite flavor, and my grandmother’s, is the “bolo de laranja” or “orange cake.” Blender cakes like this one are usually subtly sweet and are best served as an accompaniment to tea or coffee. They also feature some sort of glaze, which helps them maintain moisture. The recipe I share for the cake today is my grandmother’s, but the glaze is my own creation.
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Although the concept of visiting another person’s home may still seem abstract at the moment, soon we’ll hopefully all have neighbors and friends knocking on our doors for afternoon chats.
When those chats come, we might as well be prepared with a sweet lanchinho to share, along with a year’s worth of stories.
You can follow Alexandra on Instagram, @TheHungryGaucha
Bolo de Laranja (Orange Cake)
For the cake
1 large orange, peel on and cut into quarters
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup of canola or vegetable oil
2 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
For the glaze
Juice of 1 large orange
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup of sugar
Pinch of cardamom
For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Remove the stem and seeds in the orange before blending but maintain the peel.
In a blender combine orange, eggs, sugar and oil. Blend until smooth.
In a large bowl sift flour and baking powder.
Mix wet blender ingredients with the flour until smooth.
Grease a Bundt cake pan with oil or cooking spray before pouring in batter.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife can be inserted and removed cleanly. Allow to cool before turning out.
Gently and sparingly poke with a fork before drizzling glaze.
For the glaze: In a small saucepan combine the juice of one large orange, honey, sugar and cardamom.
Consistently stir until the mixture boils and allow to simmer for a few minutes to reach desired consistency.
Allow to cool slightly before drizzling over the cake.