bake off

To celebrate International Chef’s Day, the teams in the Elewana kitchens rallied together for a Great Elewana Bake Off. Showcased on the Elewana social media channels, there were some delicious results. The Kitchen at Elewana Arusha Coffee Lodge cooked seeded sour dough bread using a 2000 year old technique that requires no yeast, whereas the Elewana Loisaba Star Beds team opted for mandazis, a delicious doughnut-like confection that originated on the Swahilli coast.

Elewana Sand River Masai Mara produced an extraordinary signature bake of a delicious vanilla and lime sponge cake, topped with some beautifully creative decorations; followed by a delicious tray of cinnamon buns for teatime; and finished off with show-stopping chocolate cupcakes, topped with strawberry icing and a chocolate dipped strawberry. Below are some recipes for you to try at home:

Elewana Sand River Vanilla & Lime Sponge Cake


  • 7 large eggs, separated
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 4 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar


  • 4 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons grated lime zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • Lime zest strips
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks, water, oil, lime juice, lime zest and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients; beat until well blended. In another bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form; fold into batter.
  2. Gently spoon into an ungreased 10-in. tube pan. Cut through batter with a knife to remove air pockets. Bake on the lowest oven rack at 160°C for 45-50 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Immediately invert pan; cool completely, about 1 hour. Run a knife round sides and centre tube of pan; set aside.
  3. For lime curd, in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, whisk the eggs, sugar, lime juice, zest and salt until blended. Add butter; cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Transfer to a small bowl; cool for 10 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
  4. In a small bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form; fold in 1-1/2 cups curd.
  5. Cut cake horizontally into two layers. Place bottom layer on a serving plate; spread with remaining curd. Top with remaining cake layer; spread whipped cream over top and sides of cake. Garnish with fresh fruit.

Elewana Sand River’s Cinnamon Buns


  • 100g/3½oz unsalted butter
  • 200ml/7fl oz milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 250g/9oz plain or wholemeal plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 250g/9oz strong white flour
  • 1½ tsp fast-action yeast
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • Olive oil, for greasing


  • 75g/2½oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 100g/3½oz caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  1. In a small saucepan heat the butter, milk and salt until the butter is melted. Allow the mixture to cool until it is lukewarm.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flours, yeast, cardamom and sugar until combined. Make a well in the centre and crack in the eggs. Pour in the lukewarm milk mixture and stir everything together to form a sticky dough. You may have to use your hands as the dough becomes stiffer.
  3. Oil the work surface with a teaspoon of olive oil. Turn the dough out onto the oiled surface and knead vigorously for 5-8 minutes, using a plastic scraper as needed to prise the dough from the work surface. Don’t be tempted to add flour, as this will make the buns dry and tough. Keep kneading until the dough is considerably less sticky, smoother and more elastic. Shape into a ball, and put into a large, greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place to prove for an hour, or until doubled in size.
  4. Meanwhile, for the filling and topping, mix the softened butter in a bowl with half the sugar and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon. Use a fork to mix the sugar and spice into the butter until it is completely combined. Mix the remaining sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl and set aside.
  5. When the dough has risen, turn out onto a floured work surface and gently roll out into a 36x24cm rectangle. Spread the cinnamon-sugar-butter evenly over the dough with a table or palette knife.
  6. With the longest edge closest to you, roll the dough up into a cylinder. Cut into 12 even slices.
  7. Place each slice onto a flattened out paper cupcake case on a baking tray, or into a greased muffin tin. (Baking in a muffin tin will make your cinnamon buns taller and domed.) Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside to prove again for 30-45 minutes, or until risen.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
  9. Brush the tops of the buns with beaten egg and dust liberally with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 12 minutes until the buns are dark golden-brown. Sprinkle with cherries and blueberries.

Elewana Sand River Cupcakes


  • 125g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 125g butter, diced and softened
  • 1 ¼ cups caster sugar
  • 3 extra large eggs
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ cup cocoa


  • 3/4 cup (149g) chopped strawberries
  • /2 cup (112g) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (95g) shortening
  • 4 cups (460g) icing sugar
  1. Pre-heat oven to 170°C. Place large cake cases into muffin pans.
  2. Combine chocolate and water in a saucepan and heat gently until chocolate has melted. Allow to cool.
  3. Place butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer, beating until pale and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa. Gradually fold into the butter mixture until well combined. Add cooled chocolate mixture, beating until smooth. Spoon mixture between cake cases and bake for 30 mins. Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  5. To make the icing, add the chopped strawberries to a food processor and puree until smooth. Strain the strawberry puree through a fine mesh sieve. Set puree aside. Beat the butter and shortening together in a large mixer bowl until well combined and smooth. Add the icing sugar and mix until well combined and smooth.