Chikenduza, also known as Candy Cakes, are sweetened bread-like cakes from Zimbabwe. They have a texture similar to the sweet yeast bread popular here around the holidays and are traditionally the size of large muffins. Their Candy Cake name comes from the coating of a powdered sugar pink glaze over the tops. These cakes would have been perfect for Claire’s birthday party.
The dough should be wet, between a cake batter and bread dough. If it too solid, mix in a little more milk. If it is too watery, add a little more flour. Don’t want to wait for the dough to rise? Fiso also has a recipe using baking powder and baking soda.
These cakes are traditionally the size of jumbo muffins, so I used these large muffin cups. If you don’t have this size available, you can also use regular muffin tins or 1 (six inch) cake pan- cooking times may vary.
I originally planned to use natural food coloring from beets to dye the icing pink. Unfortunately, I had an off batch that turned the water more brownish/yellow instead of red. If you are using natural food coloring, you may not need to add any water to the powdered sugar or only up to 1/2 a tablespoon. For artificial food coloring, you will only need a drop or two and up to a tablespoon of water to create a smooth glaze. If the glaze is too watery, add a little more powdered sugar. If it is too thick to drizzle, add a little more water.
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup (120 ml) lukewarm milk, 105-115 degrees F
2 1/2 cups (300 grams) all purpose flour
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 tablespoons (65 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup (85 grams) powdered sugar
1/2-1 tablespoon water
Red or pink food coloring
In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast over the warm milk. Stir to combine. Allow to sit until frothy, about 10 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Mix in the softened butter, egg, vanilla extract, and yeast with water to for a wet dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest until doubled, about 1 hour.
Grease 6 large muffin tins and preheat oven to 340 degrees F (170 C). Use a spoon to transfer the dough into the prepared muffin tins, about 3/4 full. Use the back of a wet spoon to smooth out the tops. Cover and allow to rise until puffed, about 30 minutes.
Bake in preheated oven until lightly golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out dry, 25-30 minutes.
Allow to cool on wire rack to room temperature.
In a medium bowl, add the powdered sugar. If using natural red food coloring, mix in a little and enough water to form a smooth pink glaze. More water may be needed if using artificial coloring- 1 to 2 drops. If too thin, add more powdered sugar. If too thick, add more water. Drizzle over cooled cakes.