The arc of the sun measures time in the bush and on safari during the day. It is how we connect to nature at the most basic level. The key milestones are celebrated with food, the most pleasing of which is the ‘high tea’. It is actually the third meal of the day – a totally decadent indulgence, which is tempting and actually mostly irresistible. The photo here shows a full selection of delights on offer – one of which is quite clearly the beautifully decorated carrot cake that is showered with a garden of pansies. Chef Nancy from Kalahari Plains Camp, way down deep in the heart of Botswana in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, has shared her recipe with me – give it a try.
Ingredients – for the cake
2½ cups flour
1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon salt
1¼ cups oil
2 cups grated carrot
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon mixed spice
1½ cups sugar
½ cup chopped pecan nuts
1 cup grated fresh pineapple or crushed tinned pineapple
¼ cup smooth apricot jam
Method – for the cake
1. Sift the dry ingredients.
2. Beat the sugar, oil and eggs together until well blended.
3. Beat at high speed with an electric beater for three minutes.
4. Add the carrots, nuts, pineapple and jam and mix well.
5. Sift the dry ingredients over the wet mixture and fold in until uniformly blended.
6. Grease and line a 28cm spring form tin.
7. Pour the mixture into the tine and bake at 180°C for 45 minutes.
8. Allow the cake to firm and cool in the tin for at least an hour before turning out.
Ingredients – for cream cheese icing
½ cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
4 cups icing sugar
1 cup cream cheese.
Method – for cream cheese icing
1. Cream butter and gradually add the icing sugar.
2. Add the vanilla.
3. Add cream cheese.
4. DO NOT OVERBEAT!
5. Ice the cake when it has cooled.
6. Cascade pansies from the top and over the one side of the cake, or decorate with your own ideas. This is wonderfully delicious and easy, but not quick to complete. However, there is one caution here, this cake will only taste truly magical when you pair it with a glass of iced tea or coffee and you are looking over the open plains in front of Kalahari Plains Camp! That is the magical ingredient that will make this wonderful carrot cake taste just right.
Written by Marian Myers
Photographs by Mike Myers