Keke – Lime Cake
In the vibrant tapestry of West African cuisine, there is a dessert that effortlessly combines zesty flavors with the warmth of cherished childhood memories. It’s none other than the West African Lime Cake, affectionately known as Keke. This delightful cake, with its refreshing citrus notes and moist crumb, has the power to transport me back to a time when laughter filled the air, and the company of childhood friends made every bite all the more special. Join me on a journey as we uncover the secrets behind this beloved recipe, which holds the essence of shared moments and timeless friendships.
This is such an easy recipe it only has 6 ingredients just sugar, butter, eggs, lime, flour and baking powder. Easy peasy to throw together. The peanut topping is optional. It only takes 25 – 30 minutes to cook.
This recipe makes an 8×8 square pan or an eight- inch cake pan would work too. I thought the consistency of it was more like a brownie than a cake, but we loved it and hope you do too!
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 1/2 Tbsp butter, softened
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 ½ cups flour all purpose
- 2 ¼ tsps baking powder
- 2 tbsps peanuts, chopped
- Preheat Oven to 180o C.
- Grease and flour a 30 x 30 square pan or a round cake tin.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy with a hand mixer.
- Add eggs in one at a time until incorporated and then add in the lime juice mix together.
- Stir in the flour and baking powder until all is well combined.
- Pour batter into the baking pan.
- Bake for 25 minutes until top is lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool.
- Garnish with crushed peanuts if using and serve.
Maandazi: A Taste of Childhood Memories and Culinary Delights
“Maandazi has always been a thread that weaves together the tapestry of my childhood,” reminisces Bright, a warm smile lighting up their face. As we sit down to talk, the air fills with the tempting aroma of freshly fried maandazi, transporting Bright back to a time of carefree joy and cherished friendships. Growing up in East Africa, these deep-fried pastries held a special place in Bright’s heart, not just for their delicious taste but also for the precious memories they carried. Today, as an adult, Bright finds solace and a renewed appreciation in savouring the same beloved maandazi, as it connects them to their heritage and evokes a sense of nostalgia.
Bright’s eyes sparkle as they recount the scenes of their childhood, filled with laughter and the anticipation of their neighbourhood friends gathering together. “Our mothers were the maestros behind the trays of golden-brown maandazi,” they recall, their voice filled with fondness. “We would impatiently wait for them to cool down just enough to hold, devouring them with sheer delight.” The pillowy texture of the dough, delicately sweetened and infused with the subtle aroma of coconut, was a revelation to their young palates.
However, as the years passed and responsibilities grew, those carefree moments of laughter and maandazi seemed to fade away. “Life became busier, and the simple pleasures of childhood were momentarily forgotten,” Bright reflects, their voice tinged with a hint of longing. Yet, like an old friend, maandazi found its way back into their life, rekindling the flames of cherished memories and cultural heritage. As an adult, Bright found pleasure in recreating these beloved pastries, not only for their flavours but also for the memories they invoked. Each bite became a time machine, transporting them back to a time when friendships were forged and bonds were strengthened over shared plates of warm maandazi.
for 40 mandazis
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (375 g), plus more for dusting
- ½ cup sugar (100 g)
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- 13 ½ oz coconut milk (400 mL), 1 can
- oil, for frying
- Icing sugar to dust (optional)
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cardamom, and salt. Make a well in the center, then use a rubber spatula to mix in the egg and coconut milk until the dough comes together.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Divide the dough into 4 portions. Roll out 1 portion of dough into a circle about 2 cm thick. Cut into 8 triangles. Repeat with the remaining dough portions.
- Heat the oil in a large pot until it reaches 180˚C.
- Working in batches, fry the mandazi for 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
- Serve as breakfast or a snack with some coffee or chai.