I am loudly and proudly South African. Nothing will ever change that. As a female born and raised in this great place, I am aware that no nation is without its setbacks. But that’s not what this post is about. This post isn’t going to harp on about what’s wrong with our beautiful country or the other, other Jay Z. Instead, this post is going to celebrate everything that’s undeniably right with it. Ahead of Heritage day aka National Braai Day, I decided to get a little patriotic paying tribute to our country and its finest exports.
I suppose this cake recipe stemmed from the fact that I had my first Bunny Chow this weekend at the ripe old age of 23. It was mutton and hotter than most things I have ever eaten in my life. Nevertheless it was delicious, just like my incredible boyfriend who accompanied me to Hollywood Bets in Springfield for the auspicious occasion (shout out to Ryan Celine, you were (and still are) hotter than that Bunny… Sorry, I’m not sorry). This South African dish got me thinking about what today’s post would be about, and in that moment of fearing my lips would melt from my face due the positively radioactive nature of that Bunny, I brushed the curry-induced sweat from my brow and decided that today’s post would be a tribute to the unbelievable gees (Afrikaans for “spirit”) of all things South African.
For those of you who don’t know, Amarula is like drinking (Zulu) angel tears, and whether you’re a local or an expat living abroad, you’ll know there’s simply nothing like it. It’s the Mrs Balls Chutney of liqueurs, and has the potential to take any dish from lackluster to flippen lekker.
My amaChocolate Amarula cake combines two flavours that were simply meant to be, like Sunday nights and Carte Blanche, pap and Chakalaka. You see, to me, Amarula and chocolate are like biltong at Loftus, vuvzelas at a Kaizer Chiefs match, Trevor Noah and political commentary. By themselves, they still make sense, but together, they’re the “Shosholoza” of dessert anthems. (A proudly South African shout out to the Daywalker himself, Mr Trevor Noah. You’re my favourite coloured ou and I can’t wait to go and watch you this weekend).
The creamy texture of rich mascarpone cheese coupled with (shambok) lashings of Amarula makes this cake what it is. Although the frosting only demands 30-40ml of Amarula, I suggest you buy a big daddy bottle. That way, if all you do is bake a cake for National Braai Day, you can surely get yourself and your guests properly electric on the leftovers. Much like the elephants in the bush who realized that they were on to something fezzy when they first got drunk off of the fermented marula fruits that fell from the trees around them, this Amarula will have you feeling wild and free in no time. (A mention must go to Tayla Smith aka Granny Smith who is currently working in the South African bush. I miss you more than words could say, but I am so proud of you for living this adventure).
On an even soppier note, this one is for everyone who has lived, still lives and may always live in this spectacular country. It’s also for the ones who have left, who know what it means to leave South Africa, but have South Africa never leave them. For those who still miss the milk tert, Nik Naks, Sparletta Crème Soda, Oros, Ouma Rusks and boerrie rolls. Even if you never bake this cake, I hope this post leaves you with that warm fuzzy feeling of home. In particular Skye Pie, Raus and Rob Dog who have found themselves scatterlings of Africa, across the seas and away from the ones that they love most. This is for my people. (Yes, I know that belongs to Missy Elliot and is not at all South African, but I think she’ll let me borrow it. Just this once…)
So here’s to the lekker, the kiff and to all things ayoba. To all the “ja’s”, “haibo’s”, “ekse’s”, “awe’s” and most of all, to being loudly and proudly South African!
Happy Heritage Day to all my South African mense! Like Toto once said, “It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you” and to be honest, I doubt anything ever will. So what if the grass may be greener on the other side, my grass is green and gold.
So crack open your ice cold Castle or raise your Klippies and Coke, boet. I present to you in all of its Heritage Day glory, my amaChocolate Amarula Cake.
Yours in Baking & Bitching, Biltong & Braai-ing (because “xoxo” was too mainstream)
amaChocolate Amarula Cake
For the cake:
3 extra-large eggs, separated
1 of cup castor sugar (divided into two ½ cups)
½ cup of milk
½ cup of sunflower oil
1 cup of cake flour
½ cup of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
2 teaspoons of baking powder
Pinch of salt
250g mascarpone cheese
½ cup of whipping cream
30-40ml of Amarula (depending on how fezzy you like your frosting… I go for all 40ml. Life’s too short really)
½ cup of icing sugar
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade
- Separate egg yolks and egg whites into two separate bowls (the whites into a glass bowl)
- Add ½ cup of castor sugar to the yolks and set the rest of the castor sugar aside for later
- Whisk egg yolks and sugar together until light and fluffy and add in milk, vanilla and oil
- Sieve the flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder into yolk mixture and mix in
- Take the egg whites and beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form, then add the other ½ cup of castor sugar gradually, beating until stiff peaks form and the whites are thick and glossy
- Stir one big spoonful of egg whites into the yolk mix to loosen it before gently folding the rest of the egg whites in
- Spoon into two round greased 18cm cake tins and bake for 18-20minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean
- Remove from oven and leave to cool completely. Whilst cooling, place a glass mixing bowl in the freezer to chill for when you make the frosting
- Remove the mascarpone and whipping cream from the fridge
- Remove bowl from the freezer and add the mascarpone, cream, amarula and icing sugar
- Beat with an electric mixer until it reaches piping consistency (you will see the cream start to thicken and the frosting will take shape)
- Sandwich two cakes together and pipe on top of cake, or if nobody got time for that, simply spread it with a spatula
- Serve straight away or cover in an airtight container and store in the fridge
Health hack: Look, I’m going to be real with you. It’s Heritage Day for goodness sake. Celebrate your roots, have a piece of cake. It won’t kill you. Plus, any substitutions would kill this cake’s vibe and you wouldn’t want that would you?