Brazilian Cornmeal Cake

Cornmeal CakeWhen I started the Peoplehood of the Traveling Swirly Pan "Australian Edition"   I could never have
guessed that one day I would have the opportunity of cooking with Dorothy.  

For those who never heard about it,  "The Peoplehood" is a social project,  a "swirly pan" that goes from one home baker to another, baking up a storm and engaging in several charity/community programs on its way.    It started about two years ago and has a North American and an Australian edition.  

Jenni Field from Pastry Chef Online is the Peoplehood master mind and coordinates North America Peoplehood.  I am Australia edition wrangler and in the past year I have also been having a little help from my friend April Kopt that owns the Perth food blog What Can I Bake.   Dorothy is the North American swirly name;  Australian Swirly is named Matilda.

But today I am not here to talk about The Peoplehood, you can check how to participate and how exactly it works here.  

To cut a very long story short, I had a go with Dorothy while I was in USA and today I want to tell you the story of the amazing person which whom I had the honor of sharing the kitchen with, during
the time I was in Chicago.

My new kitchen partner is Dennis;  a 69 years young Illinois man with a truly inspirational story.  Years ago Denis battled against a throat cancer and won - it was a long and painful journey but he manage to kick cancer's ass and now he is fifteen years in remission.

Unfortunately the radiation treatment left bad scars and just a few years after the treatment he started having problems swallowing - his throat and tongue were atrophying due to the treatment.   Eventually Dennis lost completely his capacity of eating and the doctors had to insert a feeding tube to his stomach.     He would live but would never taste anything again.    

What really amazes me about Dennis story though, is not his resilience and the fact that he beat cancer with heads up despite the sad consequences.    I have absolutely no intention of using his story as a moral example to make you feel bad about how lucky you are for being healthy.     What makes me a big fan of Dennis is his immense generosity.     

Whoever loves food knows that food is not really just about food.    Ok, it may sound a bit confusing but what I mean is, food is more than feeding, it is about sharing, family, friends, culture...    and here is how Dennis found another way of enjoying it:  instead of feeling sorry for himself this amazing man decided to learn how to cook.

Dennis takes cooking very seriously, he is always keen to learn and searching for new recipes.     Preparing super delicious meals to his family became his unique way of enjoying food.     He finds pleasure simply in sharing his culinary creations with people he loves and watching them enjoying it.

Ghandi once said"  "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others".    That's pure generosity and that's why I am now a big fan of Dennis!

Today I will be sharing with you the recipe of the cake we baked together,  it is a very traditional Brazilian cake and has been one of my favorite recipes for many years.     It is made with "Fubá",  a fine yellow cornmeal and is just perfect to be served with some doce de leite (dulce de leche) and a cup of coffee.

Next time I cook with Dennis I might share his "secret"  and delicious breakfast hash that I was very lucky to taste.


Bolo de Fubá ( Brazilian Corn Cake)

Serves: 8  |  Costs: $ |  Difficulty: Medium |  Time: 1.5 h 
Author: Rachel Elich


  • 4 Eggs, white and yolks separate
  • 2 Cups sugar
  • 1 Cup fine yellow cornmeal  (or Fubá if you can find it). 
  • 250ml Vegetable Oil of your choice 
  • 1 Cup white plain flour 
  • 1 Cup lukewarm milk
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 Tablespoon fennel seeds
  • A pinch of salt
  • Sugar and cinnamon (to taste) to dust 


  1. Heat the oven to 180C
  2. Grease and dust a large baking tray (should be about 3 fingers deep and the batter will be filling about 1/2 or 3/4 of it - is a big cake, it raises a lot, if the tray is too small you might need two trays)
  3. In a large mixing bowl stir together sugar, egg yolks, cornmeal, vegetable oil, plain flour, salt and fennel seeds until all ingredients are incorporate
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the whites to soft peaks.
  5. Add the baking powder to the cornmeal batter and stir to combine
  6. Carefully stir the beat whites to the batter 
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared baking tray
  8. Bake it for around 30-40 min, to check whether the cake is done insert a skewer into the center and it should come out clean
  9. Dust with Sugar and Cinnamon to taste while still warm
  10. Cut in squares, transfer to a large plate - you can pile in layers dusting with more sugar and cinnamon between each layer.   

The Untamed Cook

Rachel Elich is a globetrotting, computer engineer, project manager, designer, untamed cook extraordinaire who backpacks around the world. Along the way on adventures, Rachel has adopted and incorporated international influences into all aspects of her creative work endeavours.

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