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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Z for Zimbabwe ~ Chikenduza / Zimbabwe Candy Cake

Event: BM #44         
Choice of Country: The Republic of Zimbabwe
Capital City: Harare
Official Languages: English, Shona and Ndebele

It's now time for the alphabet 'Z' and the last post of the marathon that has been going on this month, with the theme 'Around the World in 30 Days'. I picked Zimbabwe as my "Z" country. This landlocked south African nation was formerly called as Rhodesia. 'Zimbabwe' literally means 'House of Stone', which refers to the 800 year old stone ruins left by the Shona people. The Shona and Ndebele people alternately held power over this land until the Europeans occupied the region in 1850's. The Britishers occupied it until 1923. 

Zimbabwe Cuisine:
I must say I was shocked to learn about what they call delicacies in the region. (No offense meant). During the summer, open-air markets sell dried mopane worms (spiny caterpillars) and flying ants by the pound. They are eaten fried and are said to taste chewy and salty. Flying ants can be eaten live. They tear off the wings and eat the bodies. 
Meat and game such as beef, springbok (African gazelle), kudu (large antelope), and goat are eaten, the larger game reserved for special occasions. At more expensive restaurants, crocodile tail, shoulder of impala (a type of antelope), and warthog may be on the menu. (Source: Here) 
As a result of British rule, their cooking infiltrated Zimbabwean cuisine with non spicy food, sugar, bread and tea. The Lipopo and Zambesi rivers which border the nation provide the source for cultivating crops. They dry various produce and meat after the rainy season for consuming during winter months. "Sadza" a cornmeal based dietary staple happens to be the national dish.

I thought it would be befitting to end this journey on a sweet note as I ended up posting mostly sweet treats from around the world. I tried this popular candy cake called chikenduza from Zimbabwe and people in the region who grew up eating it seem to have fond memories attached to it. This is not really a cake but a 'cakey' bread if you ask me. It is sweet to taste like a cake and even have beautiful hued icing but the texture is more like bread / buns. I tasted one without icing and liked it. It was a hit with my son too while my daughter who went crazy icing the cupcakes wasn't so when it was time to taste them. She is not into sugary stuff unless they have chocolate in some form and so her opinion didn't matter. :) 
The recipe comes from here and the blogger had mentioned that the original cake is about the size of 2 muffins. She used a 15 cm cake tin (I guess it is around 6 inches tin). I halved the recipe and chose to go with a muffin pan for individual servings and besides I didn't have a small cake tin. If you are planning to bake this as a cake, double the ingredients and use a baking pan of that size mentioned in the original recipe. Also I would recommend using muffin liners for a muffin pan (even for a silicone pan) since the finished product tends to get stuck to the pan. (Mine did.)

Ingredients for cake: (for 6 standard sized cupcakes)
1 tsp yeast (I used dry active yeast)
1/4 cup warm milk
6 tbsp. sugar
1 & 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
3 - 4 tbsp milk
2 tbsp yogurt
1 tsp vanilla 
Ingredients for icing:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tsp water
A few drops of food color (I am assuming from the post that originally the icing is pink but I went with orange color instead.)

* Combine yeast, 1 tbsp sugar and warm milk in a bowl and leave it in a warm place for about 10 - 15 minutes or until frothy. Add the remaining sugar and mix well.
* Now add all the other ingredients (except water) to the yeast bowl and mix well to form a thick dough. Add water if the dough appears dry. 
* Cover the dough and leave it in a warm place to rise. Let it proof for about one hour or until it bulks up. The leavened dough would be on the sticky side.

* Grease the cake tin if using or line the muffin cups. If using a muffin tin, fill 3/4th of the cups with the dough using a greasy spoon. (They rise again after the second proofing and so don't fill the cups to full. This quantity gave me 6 cupcakes). Allow to rise for about 20 minutes.

* When you are through 10 minutes of the second rise, preheat the oven to 350 deg F. 
* Bake until they turn golden brown, about 30 minutes.
 * Whisk powdered sugar with enough water and a few drops of food color to make a thick icing.
* Decorate the cupcakes / cake with the icing and serve.



Varada's Kitchen said...

Lovely mini cakes to end the world tour. Nice pictures, especially liked the one with icing droplets on the plate.

vaishali sabnani said...

The bread ..cake whatever you might call. .. it is absolutely delightful to watch. .since thats all I can do from so far.it looks amazing and that icing is a stunner..that click too is just gorgeous. .Suma you have put in great efforts and it has been a wonderful learning process reading your pots. You simply rocked:)

Priya Suresh said...

Omg, yeasted cake sounds awesome, wat a lovely choice Suma, that icing makes me drool, would love to grab some and munch now.

Usha said...

Someone also mentioned about the flying ants and dried mopane worms. That reminded me of the red ants chutney from Chhattisgarh. The second picture came out really well with icing falling off the bread cake. Nice bake to end the international cooking.

Unknown said...

A complete new dish for me,amazing clicks

Srivalli said...

That's a great dish to end this wonderful series. I thoroughly enjoyed all your dishes Suma..each one so aptly selected and pictures were so good...thanks for the efforts!

Harini R said...

Wow! A yeasted cupcakes is just out my dreams!! I shall have to make this to satisfy my craving :)
It has been a pleasure as always to go through all your posts in this series!

Gayathri Kumar said...

Same pinch Suma. Even I made Chikenduza and we just loved it. The batter consistency was a bit different with my cakes. Love that orange coloured icing..

Pavani said...

Those candy cakes look super cute especially with the dripping frosting.
I got goosebumps reading about the 'actual' Zimbabwean cuisine especially the flying ants ;-)

The Pumpkin Farm said...

absolutely befitting...lovely recipe and enjoyed reading all your posts and loved it

Padmajha said...

That surely looks so yum! What an interesting recipe! Bookmarked to try.
And it was a pleasure doing this marathon with you Suma.Enjoyed all the dishes in this series :)

Unknown said...

They look cute & yum.. Sweet way of ending a series.

Unknown said...

wow the bread looks fabulous , I actually wanted to make them but missed it , yours look perfectly made :)

Chef Mireille said...

sounds like a great snack although I think I would probably prefer it without the icing too

cookingwithsapana said...

Candy cake looks superb and with that icing it looks so tempting.

Archana said...

A befitting end to lovely marathon with you Suma. I loved all the delicious goodies you have presented. Loved them all.