A recipe for Chikenduza (Zimbabwe Candy Cake)! These thick, yeast-based cakes are topped with a bright pink icing for a fun and delicious treat.
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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. The Candy Cake name comes from the coating of a powdered sugar pink glaze over the tops.
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.
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.
Chikenduza (Zimbabwe Candy Cake) Recipe
Adapted from Global Table Adventure and Fiso’s Kitchen
Chikenduza (Zimbabwe Candy Cake)
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) lukewarm milk 105-115˚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 at room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup (85 grams) powdered sugar
- 1/2-1 tablespoon water
- Red or pink food coloring
To make the cake:
- 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˚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.
To make the pink glaze:
- 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.