Baking a cake using a Jiko, which is a type of charcoal or wood-burning stove commonly used in East Africa, can be a fun and delicious experience. Here’s a simple recipe for baking a basic vanilla cake on a jiko. Please note that you’ll need a sturdy, heat-resistant pot with a tight-fitting lid to act as an oven.
For the Cake:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup milk
For the Jiko Setup:
- Jiko or similar charcoal/wood-burning stove
- Heat-resistant pot with a lid (cast iron or aluminum is suitable)
- Charcoal or wood chunks
- A metal rack or trivet to elevate the cake pan inside the pot
- Aluminum foil
- Prepare the Jiko:
- Start by lighting the charcoal or wood chunks in your jiko. You’ll want to have a good bed of hot coals to maintain an even temperature.
- Place a metal rack or trivet inside the jiko to elevate the cake pan. This will help ensure that the cake cooks evenly.
- Prepare the Cake Pan:
- Grease and flour a cake pan that fits comfortably inside your heat-resistant pot. You can use an 8-inch round or square pan, depending on what fits.
- Prepare the Cake Batter:
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set this dry mixture aside.
- In a separate large bowl, cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract.
- Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients, alternating with the milk. Begin and end with the dry mixture, mixing until just combined. Be careful not to overmix; this can make the cake tough.
- Bake the Cake:
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan.
- Cover the top of the cake pan with aluminum foil to prevent ashes or debris from falling onto the cake.
- Place the Cake in the Jiko:
- Carefully place the cake pan on the metal rack or trivet inside the jiko.
- Cover the jiko with its lid to create an oven-like environment. Make sure the lid fits tightly.
- Bake and Monitor:
- Bake the cake for about 30-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Rotate the cake pan occasionally to ensure even cooking, as the heat in a jiko may not be entirely uniform.
- Cool and Serve:
- Once the cake is done, carefully remove it from the jiko and allow it to cool in the pan for a few minutes.
- Afterward, remove the cake from the pan and let it cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
Remember that baking with a jiko may require some practice to get the temperature control just right. It’s essential to maintain a steady heat source and keep an eye on the cake to prevent burning. Enjoy your homemade jiko-baked cake!