Made famous in Sally Andrew’s Death on the Limpopo, try out Bella’s Divine Loaf, with figs, nuts and chunks of dark chocolate for yourself!
Bella's Divine Loaf
“I knew I was about to die, and was surprised to find that my thoughts went to Bella’s Divine Loaf that we had bought in Graaff-Reinet. I had not eaten it. Not even tasted it. A part of me knew I should be thinking about winding up the window, or about Henk, or Zaba, or my father, or something important. But it seemed like my last thought was going to be regret about an uneaten slice of cake.”
½ cup olive oil
½ cup light brown sugar
1¼ cups (175 g) self-raising flour, sifted
1 cup hazelnuts, roasted and roughly chopped
1 cup slivered almonds, roughly chopped
125 g (about 8) dried figs, chopped
1 bar (90–100 g) dark chocolate (about 40% cocoa), finely chopped
11⁄3 cups mixed (candied) citrus peel, finely chopped
Grated zest of 1 naartjie or 1 small orange
Thick yoghurt, cream or crème fraîche for serving
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Grease a 20×10cm loaf tin.
Whisk together the olive oil, eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. (Use an electric mixer if you have one.)
Fold the sifted flour into the egg mixture.
Spoon in the nuts, figs, chocolate, citrus peel and zest, and gently fold in.
Spoon the batter into the prepared tin.
Bake for 50–55 minutes, or until the top is set and the cake is firm to the touch.
Allow to cool completely in the tin before turning out. The cake is nicest after a few hours of cooling.
Serve sliced, with thick yoghurt, cream or crème fraîche. It is also delicious buttered.
If your naartjie is too thin-skinned for easy grating, you can finely chop the whole peel.
This is a dry fruit cake, but you can make it moist by turning it upside down, and pouring a tablespoon or two of almond or naartjie liqueur over it. Let it soak in for at least 15 minutes before turning the cake the right way up.
You can also make divine biscotti-type biscuits. Slice the loaf thinly, halve the slices, spread them out on a baking tray, and then dry them out in your oven on a low heat for at least 1 hour.
Death on the Limpopo is out now.
YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY