Cake it Till You Make it – A Cake Baked on a Brazier

by Tionge Chirwa

Photo by Kondwani Chirwa

Growing up, every Christmas celebration ended in rice with chicken and obviously, cake! Regardless of whether we were in the civilised Lusaka, at my parent’s home or deep in the heart of Luanshya, at my grandmother’s where baking was done in a hole in the ground.

The increased load shedding hours in Zambia led us to need an alternative for our baked goodies, but a hole in the ground was not an option. Not only because we lived in a rented house, but also because there was no space to do so. So we started to explore other alternatives. A Gas stove was a good idea but this meant completely switching to gas as a baking method and we were not ready for that. This then led to exploring using a brazier to bake our cake. Yes, you read right, a brazier with charcoal on it. The first few attempts were a disaster ending in extremely burnt offerings. With practice, we finally nailed it and learned the art!

On a lovely Thursday evening, while reminiscing on a cake we had made (in the electric oven) and successfully handed over to a client, we got a call, a cake order, something from our previous designs. No sooner had we hang up than we heard some popping sounds outside. Then all went pitch black. A few minutes later, we heard the sirens of a fire truck, a ZESCO transformer had blown up. Immediately, I knew we were not going to bake that cake in the electric oven; neither was the whipped cream going to be whipped in the electric mixer.

The next day, we quickly made the cake batters (Lemon and chocolate) with a dish and hand whisk. When this was done, we made a fire on a brazier and started to bake our cake until it was ready. We let it cool while we hand whipped the cream. After adding the frosting, it was ready for delivery! Take a look at the pictures below.

Cake in the “oven” | Photo by Kondwani Chirwa
Checking if the cake is ready | Photo by Kondwani Chirwa
Cake ready for delivery | Photo by Tionge Chirwa

So, even when there is no power countrywide, do not fear to place your order. We gat you!

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