Technically I have travelled outside of the country. I have vague memories of visiting El Salvador as a child. But vacationing in Costa Rica was the first time I got to experience it as an adult. It was SO cool to learn a little bit about the culture out there. We did tourist attractions in which we met other Americans and realized that being able to speak Spanish was a big plus. We had a day of adventure in Buena Vista in which we did zip-lining, which they call a canopy tour. We also did horseback riding and chilled in natural hot springs after slathering in volcanic mud.
Our adventure day included lunch. The food was great, very similar to what I usually eat; chicken, rice and beans. What was different was the dessert! It was a slice of yellow cake sitting in a sweet, red sauce. I was so full, but I ate the whole thing and some of Enrique’s because it was SO good. At first bite, it reminded me of a pumpkin pie. I was wondering, “What is that??” and then I saw a whole clove in the middle. The clove gave it that wonderful spice taste that I’ve never had in our desserts. I asked the waitress what it was and she said, “Queque de vainilla,” which is simply vanilla cake. Normally I would say “pastel de vainilla” in Spanish, so that was already a difference I noticed in the dialect. The next day, at our hotel, I had another piece of cake. It had that same kick of spice, even though I didn’t see any actual cloves in this piece. But I knew when I got home, I needed to try and replicate it. It took me some time, but I found a recipe that had similar ingredients. I changed it up, in hopes that it would taste like the ones I had tried.
I have to say, it looked a little different, but it tasted pretty similar! The only difference was mine was a little more dense, while the ones I tried were more spongy. I will try less baking powder next time and see how the consistency is. Anyhow, I am very pleased with the result! I love that it includes my favorite spices of cloves and cinnamon. It has been so hot here in Fontana and I am so ready for autumn and fall inspired desserts!
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 4 tbs butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tbs baking powder
- 1/2 tbs cinnamon
- 1/2 tbs whole cloves
- 2 tbs vanilla extract
- Maraschino cherries
- Cherry juice
- Mix 1/4 cup vegetable oil with 4 tbs butter on stir speed of stand mixer.
- Add 1 cup sugar and 2 eggs.
- While still mixing, add 2 cups flour, 2 tbs baking powder and 1/2 cup milk.
- Add cinnamon, cloves, and vanilla extract.
- Dice up about 5 maraschino cherries and add to the mixture.
- Pour mixture into 8 x 8 baking pan.
- Bake in 350 degree oven for 35 minutes.
8. Let cool.
9. Cut into squares.
10. Pour 2 tbs of cherry juice and place piece of cake on top.
11. Add whipped cream and a cherry.
12. Add a cup of coffee and enjoy!
The coffee out there is so delicious! I usually take my coffee with lots of creamer. In Costa Rica, I could have it black because it was so flavorful on its own. We brought some back as souvenirs and everyone loved it!