Episode002 - The 10-Week Zimbabwe Cake

“I was so worried that I had offended everyone at the wedding, but then everyone knew I didn’t like it and so I didn’t have to eat it.” - Sarah

When Tennessee and Zimbabwean lovebirds dine, culinary compromises unfold…that even a mother-in-law could approve of. Sarah and her Zimbabwean mother-in-law Suzanne walk me through the busy preparations for this year’s Zimbabwean Christmas Cake - a three month process founded on staying connected, blending cultures, and finding a place called home.

Sarah’s Pantry Must-Have: Taganda tea, mealie meal, Nando’s hot sauce @nandos, rusks

Sarah and suzanne prepping the cake for baking

Sarah and suzanne prepping the cake for baking

Proud jeremy holding this year’s christmas cake

Proud jeremy holding this year’s christmas cake

One of kind art installation at the carroll’s. each item has its own story!

One of kind art installation at the carroll’s. each item has its own story!

Zimbabwean Christmas Cake…a la Sarah

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-2 sticks + 2 Tbsp soft butter
-1 1/3 cup brown sugar
-6 eggs
-2.5 cups flour
-1 ½ tsp mixed spice
-1 heaped tsp baking powder
-½ tsp nutmeg
-7 oz chopped almonds
-2 lemons, zest + juice
-1 box yellow raisins
-24oz raisins
-1 cup glace cherries, chopped
Soak all fruit in 1 cup brandy overnight the night before completing the steps below


– 10-weeks before Christmas
Grease round spring form cake tin, line on base and sides with 2 layers greased wax paper. Protect outside (bottom & sides) with double fold of brown paper
Mix all ingredients and place in prepared tin
Bake at 300 F for about 2 hours until skewer comes out clean
Remove and allow to cool in tin for 20 minutes
When quite cold, turn cake upside down and prick with skewer
Pour a little (+/- 2 caps) brandy over base and rub some onto sides
Turn cake right side up and leave on wire rack for 30min to allow brandy to soak
Wrap cake in aluminum foil and leave on shelf until decoration
Baste with 2 caps of brandy every week

Marzipan: – 2 weeks before Christmas
Dredge with powdered sugar and knead
Roll as thinly as possible
Brush sides of cake with apricot jam, cover with marzipan
Repeat on top
Cover with tea towel and allow to breath

Royal Icing – a few days before Christmas
3 egg whites
500g powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp glycerine
Place the egg whites in a bowl, then stir in the icing sugar, a spoonful at a time, until the icing falls thickly from the spoon.

At this stage, stop adding any more sugar and whisk with an electric whisk/mixer for 10 minutes or until the icing stands up in stiff peaks, then stir in the glycerine. Now spread the icing all over the top and sides of the cake as evenly as possible using a palette knife. Switch to a broad-bladed knife (or smaller palette knife) to 'spike' the icing all over to give a snow-scene effect. Leave the cake overnight for the icing to dry out before placing it in a container until needed. Enjoy!


My slice of the cake

It was as delicious as it was complicated to make. Note the nibble in the front. It’s an embarrassing lack of discipline that I can’t even wait to take a photo before jumping in to this sweet holiday goodness.