Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Zanzibar cake.

When my duo was younger we received Ella Takes the Cake as a gift from a friend. Ella, the namesake and protagonist, is a delightful little elephant who desperately wants to help her mother in the bakery she runs. Ella's mom is very busy, but of course, she cannot allow Ella to take cakes out of the hot oven or even cut a slice of cake for the customer {the knife is much too big}. Ella is crestfallen because {say it with me now} she just wants to help. In the end Ella "helps" her mother make a zanzibar cake. 

It is a charming book filled with beautiful illustrations. 

We loved Ella. 

And cake. 

So naturally, my kids wanted "Zanzibar Cake."

While many mothers would have researched until they found a suitable cake recipe from Zanzibar, I did nothing of the sort. Did I mention I had twins? And at this point they were toddlers.

My solution: lie. 

Don't get all high and mighty on me. We lie about Santa, the Easter Bunny and what mommy and daddy are doing in the room when the door is closed. Cake is the least of my worries.  

And so I lied and told my kids the yummy Pumpkin Bread I've made for years {passed down from Noni, my life-long friend Ashley's grandmother} is called Zanzibar Cake. 

No time to take pictures; we had to have a warm slice.
From that point forward all pumpkin breads suffice as Zanzibar Cake and my kids L*O*V*E it. 

This proved quite handy when I desperately needed to get out of the house for a breather {read: coffee}, because Starbucks makes the best Zanzibar Cake. Of course, you have to be a bit sly when you order it. Shouting "two slices of Zanzibar Cake and a skinny latte" is not self explanatory.  When you then whisper "pumpkin loaf", they still don't catch on and repeat the order back as "a skinny latte and two slices of PUMPKIN loaf."  Cue the cries from the back.  Thanks for that. 

At age nine we may still call it Zanzibar Cake now and again, but they know it is pumpkin bread, because of course, they love to help!

Pumpkin Bread (aka Zanzibar Cake)

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 3/4 cup flour 
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup raisins (optional - not in the Zanzibar version)
1/2 cup nuts (optional - not in the Zanzibar version)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. allspice

Sift flour and other dry ingredients together. Cream sugar and oil. Beat eggs into creamed mixture. Add pumpkin and stir to combine. Add flour mixture alternating with water.

Bake in a greased loaf pan at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour. 

Enjoy! It is a staple at our Thanksgiving table. 

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