Kid-friendly Brazilian "Bolo de Cenoura" Mini Carrot Cakes with Oh, So Sweet Chocolate Cream Glaze Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Brazilian "Bolo de Cenoura" Mini Carrot Cakes with Oh, So Sweet Chocolate Cream Glaze

Family Meal Plan: Brazilian "Bolo de Cenoura" Mini Carrot Cakes with Oh, So Sweet Chocolate Cream Glaze

Brazilian "Bolo de Cenoura" Mini Carrot Cakes with Oh, So Sweet Chocolate Cream Glaze

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by Dylan Sabuco
prep time
15 minutes
cook time
15 minutes
makes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Brazilian "Bolo de Cenoura" Mini Carrot Cakes with Oh, So Sweet Chocolate Cream Glaze

Bolo de Cenoura is a beloved Brazilian staple, prepared in kitchens from bustling São Paulo to beachy Rio de Janeiro. Why is it so popular? Partially because it’s incredibly versatile; it’s equally at home as an everyday snacking cake and as the centerpiece of a birthday celebration. It’s also simple to make, extremely tasty, and pretty to look at!

The secret to the beautiful orange hue of these Brazilian “Bolo de Cenoura” Mini Carrot Cakes is, of course, the fresh, grated carrots. But what truly sets this cake apart is the Brazilian-style chocolate glaze—rich, glossy, chocolatey goodness that oozes over the slightly crisp layer that gives way to the tender, sweet cake beneath. Trust me, it’ll make you forget all about what we think of in the United States as the traditional cream cheese topping for carrot cake.

Give ‘em a try! These scrumptious, uncomplicated little cakes are guaranteed to bring samba steps to your kitchen floor and smiling faces to your kitchen table!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief
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Shopping List

  • FRESH
  • 2 large or 3 medium carrots
  • EGGS
  • 3 eggs **(see allergy subs below)**
  • PANTRY
  • 2 C all-purpose flour **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil **
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated or brown sugar
  • 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 2 tsp dark cocoa powder **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 to 3 T chocolate sprinkles, optional **(see allergy subs below)**
  • HAVE ON HAND
  • 1/4 C water

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • bake :

    to cook food with dry heat, as in an oven.

  • drizzle :

    to trickle a thin stream of a liquid ingredient, like icing or sauce, over food.

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • scoop :

    to pick up an amount of food with a utensil to move it to a dish, pan, or container; utensils that can be used to scoop are spoons, dishers (small scoops used for cookie dough or melon balls), ice cream scoops, or large transfer scoops for bulk foods.

  • wet vs dry :

    to mix wet and dry ingredients separately before combining them: dry ingredients are flours, leavening agents, salt, and spices; wet ingredients are those that dissolve or can be dissolved (sugar, eggs, butter, oils, honey, vanilla, milk, and juices).

  • whisk :

    to beat or stir ingredients vigorously with a fork or whisk to mix, blend, or incorporate air.

Equipment Checklist

  • Oven
  • Muffin pan
  • Paper cupcake liners
  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Grater
  • Whisk
  • Toothpicks (or knife or fork) for testing cakes
  • Can opener
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Ingredients

Brazilian "Bolo de Cenoura" Mini Carrot Cakes with Oh, So Sweet Chocolate Cream Glaze

  • 2 C all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour)**
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 C vegetable oil **
  • 2 large or 3 medium carrots
  • 1 1/4 C granulated or brown sugar
  • 3 eggs **(for EGG ALLERGY sub 2 T flaxseeds + 1/2 C water—more info below)**
  • 1/4 C water
  • 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub 3/4 C dairy-free/nut-free yogurt + 2 tsp granulated or brown sugar)**
  • 2 tsp pure unsweetened dark cocoa powder **(for DAIRY ALLERGY check label for small amounts of dairy; for CHOCOLATE ALLERGY sub carob powder)**
  • 1 to 3 T chocolate sprinkles, optional **(Omit for CHOCOLATE ALLERGY; for VEGAN option use 100% natural sprinkles)**

Food Allergen Substitutions

Brazilian "Bolo de Cenoura" Mini Carrot Cakes with Oh, So Sweet Chocolate Cream Glaze

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour.
  • Soy: Substitute canola oil or other nut-free oil for vegetable oil.
  • Egg: For 3 eggs, substitute 2 T flaxseeds + 1/2 C water. Stir and soak flaxseeds in warm water for 5 minutes or until fully absorbed and thickened.
  • Dairy: For 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk, substitute 3/4 C plain dairy-free/nut-free yogurt + 2 tsp granulated or brown sugar. Check the label of the dark cocoa powder for dairy ingredients; use pure unsweetened cocoa powder. Use vegan 100% natural chocolate sprinkles.
  • Chocolate: Substitute carob powder for cocoa powder. Omit optional chocolate sprinkles.

Instructions

Brazilian "Bolo de Cenoura" Mini Carrot Cakes with Oh, So Sweet Chocolate Cream Glaze

1.
intro

"Bolo de cenoura" is the Brazilian version of carrot cake. This recipe includes sweet carrots, a simple cake batter, and the twist that makes it different from the classic carrot cake: CHOCOLATE! At first, chocolate and carrot cake wouldn't seem to match well together, but once you try this unique flavor combination, you will ask yourself, "why doesn't every carrot cake have chocolate added?"

2.
measure + whisk

Start by having your kids measure 2 cups flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium mixing bowl and whisk. Then, in a large mixing bowl, they can measure 3/4 cup vegetable oil, 1 1/4 cups sugar, 3 eggs, and 1/4 cup water. Whisk to thoroughly combine or until no lumps remain. Pour the dry ingredients from the first bowl into the wet ingredients in the second bowl. Whisk again.

3.
grate + fold

Finely grate **2 to 3 carrots. Add all the grated carrots straight into the bowl of batter. Gently fold the carrots into the batter until fully incorporated. Try sneaking in some counting in Portuguese while you cook today: um (oohm), 2 dois (DOY-eess), 3 três (TREH-eess), 4 quatro (KWAH-troh), 5 cinco (SEEN-coh), 6 seis (SAY-iss), 7 sete (SEH-chee), 8 oito (OY-too), 9 nove (NOH-vee), 10 dez (DEH-iss).

4.
scrumptious science

Both baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents, which means they are added to baked goods before cooking to produce carbon dioxide, causing them to rise. Baking powder contains baking soda, but the two substances are used under different conditions and can provide very different results. Baking soda has only one ingredient: sodium bicarbonate. It is about four times stronger than baking powder and is used in recipes that contain an acidic ingredient. Baking powder contains baking soda, but it also includes an acidifying agent, like cream of tartar.

5.
preheat + pour + bake

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Place cupcake liners in the wells of a muffin pan. Using a 1/4 measuring cup, scoop 1/4 cup of batter into each well. Once all the wells are filled, slide the pan into the oven and cook for 13 to 15 minutes or until a knife, fork, or toothpick can be inserted and removed from the cupcake cleanly.

6.
cool

Remove the muffin pan and allow the cakes to cool for at least 15 minutes before trying to decorate them. If you decorate too quickly, the glaze will melt off the cake.

7.
measure + whisk

Now, let's make the glaze! Open 1 can of sweetened condensed milk and pour into a bowl. Then, measure 2 teaspoons of dark cocoa powder and add that to the bowl. Finally, whisk until fully combined.

8.
drizzle + serve

Drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons of the Oh, So Sweet Chocolate Cream Glaze over each cake, then finish the cakes with a few chocolate sprinkles if using. "Bom apetite" or "Enjoy your meal" in Portuguese!

Surprise Ingredient: Carrots!

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Photo by Kindel Media

Hi! I'm Carrot!

“I'm at the root of this recipe! Get it? Root? Carrots are root vegetables! We grow up in dark and cozy soil. Our leaves get plenty of sunshine, though. If you grow us, it's so satisfying to pull us out of our underground home and know you'll be tasting our crunchy sweetness very soon. But you may want to wash us first! You can eat carrots raw or cook them first. Either way, you'll enjoy our flavor, texture, and color in salads, savory dishes, and desserts, like carrot cake!"

History

  • Before carrots were orange, they were purple, red, white, and yellow. In the 16th century (after the Middle Ages), Dutch carrot growers invented the orange carrot in honor of the House of Orange, the Dutch Royal Family (for Kings and Queens). They did this by crossbreeding pale yellow carrots with red carrots. 
  • Carrots soon caught on in England as both a food and a fashion accessory. For example, it's said that ladies in the 1600s would decorate their hats with carrot tops instead of feathers! 
  • The carrots we eat today were domesticated from a wild carrot native to Europe and southwestern Asia.
  • No one knows exactly how old carrots are, but history traces them back about 5,000 years. They were mistaken for parsnips before the carrot was identified as a distinct vegetable. Carrots and parsnips are related but from different families. Parsnips are white and look a lot like carrots. They're also root vegetables!
  • When carrots were first grown many hundreds of years ago, farmers prized them for their aromatic leaves and seeds—not just the roots! 
  • According to some sources, carrots are the second most popular vegetable in the world, behind just one other. Can you guess what's number one? Potatoes!
  • The longest carrot ever recorded was over 20 feet long! (The measurement included the taproot's long, skinny end.) The heaviest carrot recorded weighed over 22 pounds!
  • You may think rabbits love carrots naturally, and this is largely because of the popularity of the wise-cracking and charming cartoon rabbit character named Bugs Bunny. We see Bugs Bunny munching on a carrot in most scenes. In reality, if a rabbit ate a whole carrot, it would be like you or me eating 20 carrots in one sitting! Way too much! Here's another fun fact: The voice of Bugs Bunny, Mel Blanc, reportedly did not like carrots at all.

Anatomy & Etymology

  • Carrots belong to the Umbelliferae family, named for their resemblance to an umbrella when their leafy green stems are attached. This family includes celery, parsnip, fennel, dill, and coriander.
  • Carrots are root vegetables, meaning they grow underneath the ground. Their feathery leaves grow above the ground. Can you think of other root vegetables? A few of them are beets, onions, turnips, potatoes, radishes, parsnips, fennel, garlic, and jicama.
  • You can eat every part of the carrot. Typically we eat the root part of the plant, but the stems and leaves are edible, too! A carrot's root can grow anywhere from 2 to 20 inches long before it's picked!
  • Carrots like to grow in cooler climates, not tropical, hot places. For this reason, they are usually grown in the autumn, winter, and spring months.
  • Baby carrots sold in grocery stores started as long carrots that were sliced and tumbled into smaller pieces to make them "baby-sized."
  • Carrot seeds are tiny. Find a teaspoon. How many carrot seeds do you think will fit inside? About 2,000!
  • A carrot plant will live for two years, meaning new crops need to be planted from seed every two years.
  • There are two main classes of carrots: Western and Eastern. The Western class includes four types, classified by their root shape: Chantenay, Danvers, Imperator, and Nantes. Several cultivars (varieties created by selective breeding) exist under each type. Many varieties have different colors than the typical orange. How many colors have you seen? The next time you're in the grocery store, look for these diverse carrots.
  • The English word "carrot" comes from the Greek word "karoton."

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • One large carrot or a handful of baby carrots counts as one vegetable serving. Aim for three servings of veggies a day for kids and five servings for adults.
  • Carrots can be eaten raw, roasted, juiced, boiled, mashed, or steamed. However, they are most nutrient-dense when cooked and eaten with fat like butter or oil.
  • When you eat a carrot, how does it taste? Modern carrots have been bred to be sweet, which is why we often use them in baked goods like carrot cake! On the other hand, ancient carrots were bitter, not sweet.
  • Look for firm, brightly colored carrots with smooth, firm skin. Carrots that are limp or black near the top are not fresh.
  • Thicker carrots may be older and tougher to eat, whereas thinner carrots are typically younger, fresher, and sweeter.
  • Store carrots in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator, where they will keep for a few weeks!
  • One of the tastiest, easiest ways to cook carrots is to toss them with melted butter, salt, honey, and garlic, then roast them at 425 F for 20 minutes.
  • You can grate raw carrots and add them to salads or chop them to add to soups or stews. If you boil or steam carrots, you then puree them to add to breads, cookies, cakes, or even tomato sauce to sweeten it. Carrots add natural sweetness to whatever recipe they're in (and a pretty orange color, too!).

Nutrition

  • Eyes! The color of a fruit or vegetable tells us what nutrient it contains (nature is amazing!). Orange vegetables and fruits have a particular nutrient called beta carotene. Beta carotene was named for the carrot itself! This nutrient converts to vitamin A inside the body, which is good for our eyes! Studies have shown that only three percent of beta carotene is released from the raw vegetable when we digest it. But this percentage can be improved when we juice or puree raw carrots or cook them with fat like butter or oil. Carrots have the most beta carotene of any vegetable!
  • Teeth! The crunchiness of carrots helps clean the plaque off your teeth and gums, just like your toothbrush! Of course, this doesn't mean eating a carrot at the end of the day can substitute for brushing your teeth! Carrots also have minerals that protect the teeth. 
  • Purple carrots include anthocyanin, an antioxidant, just like purple eggplants, blueberries, and other colorful fruits. 
  • As with all vegetables, eating carrots helps protect us from getting sick! 

 

History of Carrot Cake!

Photo by OlgaBombologna/Shutterstock.com
  • Sources lead us to believe that carrot cake evolved from a medieval carrot pudding eaten in Europe in the Middle Ages. There are tons of recipes for carrot pudding in historic cookbooks—this was 'the' dessert of banquets in Europe and many other places around the world. Bakers used carrots to sweeten recipes because sugar was too costly. 
  • The earliest recipe for carrot cake may have been in a French cookbook from 1827. However, food historians claim that George Washington was served a carrot tea cake at a tavern in New York City in 1783. 
  • Carrot Cake caught fire in the United States in the 1970s when it was touted as a “health food,” likely because, in addition to carrots, recipes most often contained the addition of nuts and raisins. 
  • Carrot cake is the most popular flavor for children’s birthday cakes in Switzerland.
  • In Brazil, "bolo de cenoura," or "carrot cake" in Portuguese, is covered in a chocolate ganache.
  • Frosting cakes with cream cheese became popular in the United States in the 1960s; cream cheese frosted cakes can be traced back to Eastern Europe.

Let's Learn About Brazil!

Photo by IrenaV/Shutterstock.com (Rio de Janeiro with Christ the Redeemer statue and Sugarloaf Mountain)
  • The Federative Republic of Brazil is the largest country in South America. It is in the central-eastern part of the continent on the Atlantic Ocean. Brazil consists of 26 states and a federal district. 
  • Brazil shares borders with every other South American country except Chile and Ecuador. To its north are Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. It borders Colombia in the northwest. Uruguay is south of Brazil, and Argentina and Paraguay are southwest. Bolivia and Peru are on its western border.
  • Portugal colonized this part of South America in 1500. Brazil declared its independence from Portugal in 1822, becoming official in 1825. Sept 7
  • The government is a federal presidential constitutional republic with a president, vice president, legislature, and supreme court. The country's currency is the Brazilian "real" (pronounced HAY-al). 
  • Brazil's total area is 3,287,956 square miles and spans four time zones. Worldwide, it is the fifth largest country. Brazil's population is seventh in the world, with over 200 million people. The capital of Brazil is Brasília, and the largest city is São Paulo.
  • The official and national language is Portuguese. More people speak Portuguese in Brazil than in any other country. Numerous other languages exist in Brazil, including over 200 indigenous languages.
  • Because of its size, Brazil's geography is very diverse. It has plains, highlands, hills, mountains, plateaus, lakes, rivers, and rainforests. About 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest is in Brazil, along with almost two-thirds of the Amazon River. The country has 4,655 miles of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. 
  • The Pantanal is the world's largest tropical wetland covering between 54,000 and 81,000 square miles. Iguaçu Falls, on the border of Argentina, is taller than Niagara Falls in the United States and wider than Victoria Falls in Southern Africa.
  • The country is rich in natural resources, and its economy is fueled by agriculture, mining (metal ore and gems), and automotive, food, and other industries. It is the world's largest producer of coffee, oranges, soy, and sugarcane. 
  • Brazil is the most biodiverse country in the world, with over 70 percent of all listed plants and animal species. The jaguar is the national animal. The piranha is a well-known fish found in the Amazon River.
  • Brazilian culture has been influenced by the cultures and traditions of its indigenous people, its Portuguese colonists, other European immigrants, Africans, and more recent Japanese, Arab, and Jewish immigrants.  
  • Brazilian music styles from Rio de Janeiro, like the samba and the bossa nova, are recognized in many other parts of the world. Different forms of the samba are heard during Brazilian Carnival, the most popular holiday in Brazil, celebrated on the Friday before Ash Wednesday and Lent. 
  • "Feijoada" (black bean and pork stew) is considered the national dish. Coffee is the national beverage.

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Brazil?

  • Because Brazil is below the equator, kids get out of school for summer vacation in early December and return in early February. 
  • The sports kids may participate in are soccer, volleyball, Brazilian martial arts, and swimming. Other games include "queimada," (a dodgeball game) and "bola de gude" (marbles).
  • There are several parks and beaches in Brazil for families to enjoy together. Other fun activities include riding the little red train up Corcovado Mountain to the 125-foot Christ the Redeemer statue or taking a cable car up to iconic Sugarloaf Mountain, a cone-shaped mountain, rounded at the top, like a refined loaf of sugar. Kids can visit sea turtles at a beach or over 500 bird species at the Parque das Aves near Iguaçu Falls. 
  • Kids may have a sandwich or French bread and butter for breakfast with chocolate milk or "pingado," a drink of steamed milk with a splash of coffee. They may eat rice with beans and meat and a salad for lunch. 
  • Favorite snacks in Brazil include "pão-de-queijo" (cheese bread or bun) and "coxinha" (deep-fried dough with shredded chicken filling).
  • Popular sweets and desserts are "brigadeiros" (chocolate fudge balls), "paçoca" (peanut candy), and "bolo de rolo" (roll cake with guava jam).

The Yolk's On You

What’s a vegetable’s favorite martial art? 

Carrotee! (Karate)

The Yolk's On You

What is a rabbit's favorite cake?

Carrot cake!

That's Berry Funny

What kind of candy is never on time? 

Choco-LATE!

Lettuce Joke Around

What did the rabbit say to the carrot? 

"It’s been nice gnawing you!"

THYME for a Laugh

What did the carrot say to the rabbit? 

"Do you want to grab a bite?"

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