Thursday, 20 January 2011

Vovo Nene's Moist Carrot Roly Poly - Torta de Cenoura da Vovo Nene - Recipe

This recipe is very special to me, I lived in Portugal with my grandma until I was ten years old, she gave me the best birthday parties ever, with beautiful themed birthday cakes handmade by the same lady every year and a "menu" of cakes and sweeties that I loved, year after year.

This year for my husbands birthday I decided I wanted to treat him to one of my childhood favorites, so I asked my grandma teach me how to make it, and it turns out it's really easy!

I am sharing my grandma's recipe with you because I think it's the yummiest ever and a great way to get the kids to eat carrots :)

Vovo Nene's Torta de Cenoura
Carrots - 1.150 kg
4 eggs
Sugar - 500g
Baking Powder - half a teaspoon
Flour - 4 Spoons
Butter/ Margarine to grease

Oven tray
Greaseproof paper
Vegetable mill or food processor
Sift (or colander with really fine holes), if you have none of these improvise with an old kitchen towel.
Mixing Bowl x 2
Whisk / Hand Mixer

Peel & cut the carrots in smaller pieces and boil them. Once boiled, drain them very well, then use a vegetable mill or food processor to cut them all up so it resembles a carrot "mash". You then put the carrot "mash" into a sift (a sort of colander with really fine holes) and leave it resting over a container for the water to drain.

If you have not got a sift or a colander with fine holes, drain as much water as possible out while in the pan and then put carrot "mash" in an old and clean kitchen towel, bring the cloths points together and twist so you get as much of the water out as possible.

The longer you leave the carrots to drain, the better, my grandma says you should leave it overnight but I as I am not very patient I leave it for a few hours and from time to time I mix it around and push it down with a spoon to get as much water out as possible.

Once the carrots are well drained they should be roughly half the weight, so assuming you started with 1.15kg you should end up with around 500g of carrot "mash".

Take the carrot mash an place it in a large mixing bowl, add the sugar and mix it up.

Now take the eggs and separate the egg yellow from the white, placing the white into a separate mixing bowl and the yellow into the carrot mixture and mix it around, do this for all 4 eggs and make sure you give the carrot mixture a mix each time you put a egg yellow in.

Once that is done you should have a bowl with the egg whites, whisk until you get firm/ stiff peaks, you should be able to tilt or tip your bowl and the egg whites stay where they are, leave this to one side. (video on how to beat egg whites here)

Now add the flour and baking powder to your carrot mixture and mix well, take your bowl with the beaten egg whites and place about have of those to the carrot mixture and fold the mixture to involve the egg whites in, this is done slowly and in a folding motion as to keep the egg white air bubbles intact so you get a fluffy and airy mixture, add the remaining egg whites and repeat.

Now you should have a lighter carrot mixture, lighter in texture and lighter in color, its tempting but try and not taste it because if you are anything like me you will end up with a much smaller cake!!

Take an oven tray, it has to be a bit deep, (the one I use is 33cm wide, 26cm height and about 6cm deep) , cut a greaseproof sheet and cut it to size, remembering that you need it to cover the sides, grease it with butter or margarine. Place the greased sheet in the oven tray and then place the carrot mixture in it, spread it nicely so it goes to all the corners.

Now it goes in the oven at 180 degrees (mine is a fan assisted electric oven, may vary in other ovens) for around 40 minutes until ready. You can check if it's ready by taking a piece of spaghetti or a skewer and "stabbing" the cake in the middle, if the skewer or spaghetti comes back clean, it's ready, if it comes back with mixture, then it needs to stay in for longer.

When you take it out, let it cool down a bit, while still warm (as warm as your hands can handle, without burning yourself of course!) and roll up on the widest side, this is best done on a flat surface, using the greaseproof paper that it was baked on.

Let it rest, so it cools and settles and pop it on a serving tray or plate.

The picture on top is of about half the cake as we had already managed to eat the other half by the time I took it.

You can make it with less sugar for a healthier option, try about 400g of sugar, it ends up not so "sticky" and sweet but still tastes mighty nice! Any questions, or just to let me know how you liked it, please comment below :)


Monica xx

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