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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Cake!

I like parties.  Everyone likes parties.  The best thing about parties is that dancing and eating require no language skills.  Since I have spent most of the last year without language skills, I have thrown many parties here.  I reasoned that although I eventually wanted my service to be about more than parties, there was nothing wrong with making people like me. It is universally true that a good way to make people like you is to give them cake.

I told a couple other PCVs about making cakes in village and was met with either dumbfounded stares or enthusiastic badgering for how I did that.  It's really easy!

Acquire a gas burner, or fire and sticks, or a charcoal stove and charcoal.  I've only done this with my gas burner but I'm sure you can do it with other heating methods as well.  Heat is heat.  Put a thick sturdy pot with a lid on your heat source.


Put something in the bottom of the pot to prevent your cake pan from touching the hot burner, since if it got too close it could scorch the bottom.  I use either a flat metal plate (if I'm making muffins) or a small upside-down bowl (if I'm making cake).  Doing this effectively means that your batter will be surrounded entirely by hot air, and that's all an oven is.

Four muffin tins on a metal plate.
Turn the heat on low and keep it covered until they're cooked.  A 6-inch diameter cake will take about a half hour, these muffins take about 20 minutes.

mmmmmmm
That's it!

Suffee cutting up a round peanut butter cake


When you can make a middle aged woman dance without music, you know you're doing something right.

Recipes:

Muffins:  mix 3 cups flour (part of this can be millet or corn flour), 2 cups sugar, 1 tsp baking soda or powder (I know they're not the same - I think powder is better, but there's only soda at my local boutique and that tastes fine too), 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp cinnamon (if you've got it).  In another bowl mix 4 eggs and 1.25 cups oil.  Stir the dry and wet ingredients together.  Throw in whatever additions you think might be delicious, especially vanilla if you've got it.  Cook in little metal cups - I bought them in Thies, they're probably in many markets if you look around.  You can cook muffin batter in a cake pan, too, to make a giant muffin-cake.

Peanut butter cake:  mix .75 c margarine (the Jadida they sell at boutiques works fine), .75 c peanut butter, 3 eggs, 2.25 c sugar, 2.25 c flour, 3 tsp baking soda or powder (like the muffins, i think powder is better but soda works too), .75 tsp salt, vanilla if you've got it, and a cup of milk (or Vitalait in water).

Coffee cake:  mix 1 c sugar, 1.75 c flour, and 2 t baking powder or soda, work in 4 T butter with a fork or your fingers, add 1 beaten egg and 0.5 c milk, sprinkle 1 tbsp sugar mixed with 1.5 tsp cinnamon on top.