EAST AFRICAN PEANUT CAKE

Mum talks fondly about a cake that was made by an Ismaili Gujarati friend of hers back in Uganda. Neither her friends nor she had ovens, so they used to take the mixture down to a baker in the East Nile District and go for a swim or play with baby crocodiles while it baked. No one has a record of the recipe, but I’ve created this cake in its memory.

NOTE: You will need a spice grinder or food processor to grind the peanuts.

Serves 8
¾ cup butter, melted (plus extra to grease)
1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
1¾ cups self-rising flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
3 eggs

FOR THE TOPPING

1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
½ cup butter
¼ cup salted peanuts, skins removed, roughly crushed

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8- to 9-inch cake pan with butter and line with parchment paper.

Grind the unsalted peanuts as finely as possible in a spice grinder or food processor. Put the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl, then add the sugar, melted butter, eggs, and finely ground peanuts. Stir to mix until you reach a smooth consistency.

Transfer to the cake pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean, then place on a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, make the icing. Beat together the peanut butter, confectioners’ sugar, and unsalted butter until it’s nice and smooth. When the cake has cooled completely, spread the icing over the top. I prefer the homemade “rustic” vibe with cakes, but you can smooth the icing over with a palette knife if you prefer. Top with the crushed salted peanuts.