For anyone with a remotely sweet tooth, Singita can be a bit of a dangerous place to visit! Apart from producing homemade game drive snacks, delicious breakfast spreads, creative lunch menus, dinner every day, and a variety of special dishes for guests with alternative dietary requirements, our chefs are also rather talented when it comes to high tea.
Their creativity in this department is quite astonishing – in the past we’ve featured giraffe-shaped cinnamon doughnuts, chocolate macadamia cheesecake, mango and caramel Swiss roll and frozen guava parfait on the blog, alongside many other inspiring recipes.
It’s safe to say that high tea at Singita’s lodges and camps is an absolute treat, and no less so on Christmas Day at Singita Sasakwa Lodge in the Serengeti. You’ll have a hard time pulling your gaze away from the view of the endless plains below to feast your eyes on the table laden with festive-themed goodies. The pastry team in the kitchen pulls out all the stops with the Christmas confectionary; there are peppermint macarons, sugar-dusted mince pies, iced “reindeer” cookies (eland, wildebeest, kudu and impala!), raspberry and white chocolate cupcakes and a spectacular centrepiece cake. The only challenge you’ll face is leaving enough space after Christmas lunch to fit in all the teatime treats!
How to make Gingerbread & Orange Layer Cake
This decadent gingerbread and orange peel layer cake with salted Amarula caramel is as indulgent as they come! With a nod to traditional Christmas flavours but with an African twist, it is certainly a very special treat at this time of year but can easily be served for any occasion.
For the cake:
1 cup salted butter
3½ ounces molasses
3½ ounces golden syrup
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 medium eggs
1¼ cups whole milk
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 teaspoons ground ginger
¼ cup orange peel
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
A pinch of ground clove
A pinch of nutmeg
A pinch of salt
For the salted caramel sauce:
1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1¼ cups double (heavy) cream
¼ cup unsalted butter
1-2 teaspoons flaky sea salt
40ml Amarula (or any cream liqueur)
For the Amarula caramel buttercream:
15 tablespoons unsalted butter
2⅓ cups icing sugar
½ cup salted caramel sauce
Make the cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
2. Prepare two 18cm round, deep cake tins by greasing and lining the base with parchment paper – or if you would like a smaller but higher cake try 3 x 14cm cake tins.
3. Heat the butter, molasses, and golden syrup in a large saucepan over a low heat until the butter has melted. Beat in the brown sugar and set aside to cool slightly.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs and milk together. Slowly beat into the butter and sugar mixture.
5. Sift the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt into the saucepan, add the orange peel and beat until just combined.
6. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 prepared pans, and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few crumbs attached. Allow to cool.
Make the caramel sauce:
1. Heat the sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the sugar starts to melt, swirl the sugar into the liquid areas of the pan without stirring.
2. While the sugar is melting, gently warm the cream and butter in a separate pan until the butter has melted.
3. After about 10 minutes, or once the sugar has completely melted and is a dark amber color, remove the saucepan from the heat. Immediately whisk in the warm cream and butter mixture (be careful, as the hot caramel can splash up). If the sugar solidifies, return the pan to medium heat until the mixture is liquid again. 4. Stir in the salt and Amarula.
5. Pour the mixture through a sieve into a heatproof bowl to remove any remaining lumps of sugar and leave to cool.
Make the buttercream:
1. Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the butter in a bowl for 3-4 minutes until pale and creamy.
2. Add the icing sugar and whiskey caramel sauce, then continue to beat for another 2-3 minutes until smooth.
Assemble the cake:
1. Level the cakes by cutting off the domed tops (try using a serrated knife for this) and split each layer in half so that you have 4 layers in total.
2. Spread the first layer with about one sixth of the buttercream.
3. Add a rim of buttercream around the edges, creating a “dam” in the centre, into which you spoon about two tablespoons of the slightly cooled caramel sauce. If it is too thick to pour, warm it gently for a few seconds on the stove.
4. Place the second layer of sponge on top and repeat the buttercream and caramel filling steps twice more.
5. Top with the last layer and cover the entire cake with a thin layer of the buttercream (this is called crumb coating).
6. Chill for 30 minutes then pour over the caramel and serve.
If you’re looking for more Christmas baking inspiration then why not try these delicious recipes: hazelnut and coffee Christmas cake, chocolate and mint macarons and festive fairy light cupcakes.
The grassy plains that stretch out below Singita Sasakwa Lodge teem with wildlife, including vast herds of plains game, a plethora of predators and the spectacle of the annual wildebeest migration. Through the Grumeti Fund, Singita is the proud custodian of 350,000 acres of this unique ecosystem. Ensuring the continued protection of Singita’s concessions, situated primarily in the critical western corridor of the plains, is essential to the future sustainability of the ancient pilgrimage that defines these lands.