Friday, March 4, 2011

Brazil Nuts Cake--Right for the Carnival

Yesterday I learned that today was the first day of the 2011 carnival in Rio. Wouldn't it be nice to celebrate that with a piece of a rich Brazil nuts cake? This idea came to me when I was wondering what to do with the pound of Brazil nuts that I had bought recently.

Brazil nuts are an important source of protein, vitamins, and omega three fatty acids. Brazil nuts are also the richest source of selenium, which has anticancer properties. This is why you can buy the Brazil nut oil in many healthy food stores and it is also used to make vitamin supplements.

One easy way to get all these nutrients in your daily food is to use the Brazil nut oil in salads instead of olive oil. You can also use Brazil nuts instead of pine nuts to make pesto sauce, although I am not sure if pesto with Brazil nuts tastes better than the original version. Besides, on this particular occasion, I was looking for something more festive.

During my vacations in Poland last summer I got a recipe for a cake with Brazil nuts and bananas. It is not only very tasty, but also very rich and nutritious, like a muffin or a banana bread with nuts, bananas, and oats.

This is not a cake that I would serve as an after dinner dessert. It feels almost like a good cereal, or Swiss muesli breakfast. The nuts make it crunchy, while raisins and bananas make it sweet and soft, and oats make it very filling. So today, to celebrate the opening of the carnival in Rio, I have started my day with a cup of coffee and a slice of the Brazil nuts cake.

Brazil Nuts Cake
(For a 10" loaf pan)

2 cups all purpose flour,
1 cup oats,
1 cup sugar,
2 stick butter, room temperature,
1 cup raisins,
1 cup Brazil nuts chopped,
3 bananas, cut into small pieces,
3 eggs,
1 tsp cinnamon,
1 tbsp cocoa,
1 tsp baking powder,
1 tsp baking soda.

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. In a stand-up mixer mix together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy.
3. Add eggs, one by one, running the mixer in between.
4. Add the bananas and mix well.
5. Put flour, oats, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Mix them and then incorporate everything into the batter.
6. Butter the loaf pan and sprinkle it with breadcrumbs.
7. Add raisins and nuts to the batter, mix well and put the whole batter into the loaf pan.
8. Bake for 50-60 minutes.

Cool and serve with a chocolate sauce or powdered sugar on top.