Candy. Cake. From Zimbabwe.
Given the name… and the fact that we needed a celebration recipe (this being the last recipe of our ‘official’ adventure to eat a dish from every country in the world)… well, I had to make it.
That’s not to say there weren’t other choices for celebration food. I could have made sweet potato cake (spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg) or sliced mango with custard.
But I was sold when I saw the shiny pink glaze on the mound of cakey bread.
I would have never known this cake existed, if it weren’t for several homesick Zimbabweans who shared their pinings on Fiso’s Kitchen. This is a treat you’d find in Zimbabwe’s city bakeries.
From what Fiso says, Candy Cakes are usually big and dense, made in a double a standard muffin, but I made mini ones in my muffin tin so I wouldn’t have to go buy special equipment. Though her version is yeasty, she also mentions a recent trend of baking powder being used in Zimbabwe’s Candy Cake. Personally, I’m with her: the old way tastes good. Really good.
Makes about 7
2 tsp yeast
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm milk
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup softened butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp water
red food coloring
Add the yeast, sugar, and warm milk to a bowl. Let proof until frothy, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, measure out the other ingredients. Mix them all together until a thick but wet dough forms (kind of like cookie dough).
Let proof for 1 hour.
Measure in 1/4 cup sizes, roll into balls and place into greased muffin tins. Preheat the oven to 350F while letting the cakes rise a second time, for about 20 minutes.
Bake until puffed and golden about 30 minutes.
Now let’s make the icing:
First, find some Zimbabwean sugar cane.
Whisk the powdered sugar with enough water to make a thick icing. I only needed about 1 1/2 Tbsp of water. If you use too much water, it’s easy to fix: simply whisk in some more powdered sugar.
Add a drop or two of food coloring, to make it pink.
This is a great one to do with kids. There’s no “right” way to get the pretty pink icing on top.
Just so long as you get plenty!
Thank you, Zimbabwe.
Thank you from the bottom of my sugar-happy heart!