This cake was inspired by walking down and around Marylebone High Street on one of my foodie forays for Time Out. On New Cavendish Street (just off the High Street) is a Le Creuset showroom and shop. For a foodie this is a must-go to destination – if only to browse and plan your next purchase. Eventually, Diana – the store manager – and I started talking and I explained what I was doing. She was very enthusiastic and we had a good conversation about the quality of Le Creuset. At one stage we got bogged-down talking about whether Teflon must be used at medium heat. It was a similar ‘Teflon debate’ together with consultations with professional chefs that led Le Creuset to develop a new stainless steel range with an anodised exterior and un-coated stainless steel interior. The pans are now on my wish list.
I was about to head off when Diana said she would give me some recipe cards, including a colourful brochure featuring their new Brazilian range. She also gave me the nod, saying that it would include a recipe for making a cake in a pan (a Le Creuset, of course). The recipe here is inspired by Le Crueset’s Brazilian Breakfast Cake. As the brochure explains, throughout Latin America, sweet cakes and breads are eaten in the morning along with a cup of strong coffee.
I started thinking about making my own version of the Brazilian cake and the idea of eating cakes for breakfast. The muffin is a cake by any other name and becoming popular – I find a blueberry muffin is just about palatable at breakfast. Cakes and buns with struesel topping, cinnamon and syrup are very American. They follow the coffee cake and cinnamon bun model, also eaten in the morning. The cinnamon bun is not very different from some Danish pastries. So it would seem a denser, syrupy cake might hit the mark.
Corn is a staple in Latin America, so I have developed a recipe based on polenta. It is drizzled with syrup, and flavoured with orange and has a some of the sweet and bitter appeal of marmalade. As with so many Latin American pudding and cake recipes, the Brazilian recipe uses condensed milk – but I used my own version by heated cream, butter and sugar. I have also used the blender method of mixing described in the original recipe – it may feel counter intuitive, but it certainly saves time (and dishes).