Janny de Moor Janny de Moor

Millet cakes from Uganda


Baking material:

  • heavily greased mini muffin baking tray
  • with 12 holes, approx. 2 cm deep, diameter holes 6 cm



  • 100 g finely ground millet grains
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 100 g fine granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder (4 g)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 75 g soft margarine (or butter)
  • 1 egg (L), beaten
  • 100 ml milk or water

In May 2012 the first Cake Festival ever was held in Kampala. With works of art as described in the delicious book Baking cakes in Kigali (Rwanda) by Gaile Parkin (2009). Something totally new in Uganda? Looking for an answer I consulted Taste of Uganda, recipes for traditional dishes (2002), in which the traditional preparation of bananas and legumes, in addition to chicken, roasted white ants and grasshoppers. The list of meat also includes elephant and giraffe, but author Jolly Gonahasa wisely does not provide precise recipes for this. But she does for a large number of cakes, originated in the English era, but in a Ugandan version, namely with millet, cassava or corn. These are the three main food crops in Africa, of which to this day especially porridge (ugali) is cooked, which serves as bread. For the millet cake, the grains must be ground. Fortunately, that goes well in a coffee grinder, because millet flour is sometimes hard to come by.

Man started growing gluten-free millet (panicum miliaceum), rich in protein and iron, in 6500 BC. In Northern China and Mesopotamia, remains have been found dating from 3000 BC. Greeks and Romans knew it, but knew little to do with it. Good for the canary and to fill juggling balls we find in The Netherlands nowadays. Not so in the past. ‘The Perfect Dutch Kitchen Maid’ (De Volmaakte Hollandse Keuken Meid, 1761) gives a recipe for Gierste Struiven, a sweet oven dish of millet porridge with lots of eggs and rusk, which she concludes with: ‘is very good’.

  • Preheat the oven at 180˚C/350˚F/gas 4.
  • Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  • With two knives dice the fat in the bowl into very small pieces.
  • Make a hole, and the egg and moisture and beat with the kneading hooks of the mixer. Continue beating for three minutes.
  • Spread the batter over the holes of the muffin tray with two tablespoons. Bake for 20 minutes on the middle shelf.
  • Remove from the oven, let stand for a while, then turn the cakes on a wire rack and leave to cool under a cover.

Deel recept