Recipe For Baking A Cake Using A Jiko

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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!

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