I had a great aunt with silver coiffed hair and quite worldly, having lived in Europe on and off. She would throw lavish Saturday afternoon cocktail parties after lawn bowling. There would be little green olives stuffed with red pimentos, bright green and pink cocktail onions, nuts in their shells, cubed cheese on toothpicks and aspic jelly fish molds, all accompanied by copious amounts of gin and Oros (an orange concentrate). It was the 70s after all.
There were a few things I loved about these soirees. I got to help out in the kitchen putting nuts and things into small bowls and arranging the snacks with the help of Ester, my aunts housekeeper. The best room in the house was at the back, which served as a bar and a den and housed the stash of little glass bottles of Coke and Sprite. Then there was picking the deep purple, gnarled granadillas that grew along the fence at the back of the house and sitting with Ester on the steps in the warm sun. She would cut them in half for me and we would dip them in sugar and suck the sweet, sour stringy flesh, cracking the little black seeds with our teeth. The adults partied inside.
Granadillas take me straight back to my South African childhood and memories of Auntie Elsa. This simple, fool proof sponge cake recipe of hers with granadilla frosting, is heaven on a plate and must for sure, be eaten in the sunshine.
Yield: 1 Loaf tin cake
2/3 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line the base of a loaf tin.
2. Combine the butter and sugar in a medium sized mixing bowl and mix until pale and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until combined.
4. Sift the flour and baking powder and fold into the butter mixture.
5. Add the milk, lemon zest and lemon juice and mix.
6. Pour into the loaf tin and bake for approximately 45 minutes.
For the frosting:
2 T soft butter
Pulp of 1 large granadilla
2 cups confectioners sugar
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
To make the frosting, combine the butter, granadilla pulp and lemon juice. Add in the confectioners sugar, bit by bit.
Slice the loaf in half and spread with granadilla frosting and then sandwich the two halves together. Spread the rest of the frosting over the top and sides.