If you look up authentic African food on the internet, you may find stews and soups, but you may not find many recipes for traditional baked goods. But our African baking recipes make amazing treats. African sweets recipes have been passed down by our mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers. On the continent, we use many native or traditional African baking supplies and methods, like using open flame cooking. It may sound limiting but you can make anything from cake to African pies! But we also use modern equipment like the electric oven. That’s right, we practice conventional dessert-making tricks too. And vegans shouldn’t worry, you can switch up recipes, for example, if you need a baking egg replacement. We have baked goods for everyone!
In this category, you get to interact with authentic African food. But this time in the form of desserts. You’ll find them to be sugar-rich, mouth-watering, and creatively made. African baking supplies combine elegantly to produce African pies, cakes, puddings, cookies, and other bites eaten across the continent.
If you are a beginner, this might be a good place to start. These baking recipes are simple, cheap, and absolutely rewarding. And if you want to learn how to create a coal fire for cooking, you can read here.
Recipes of traditional baked goods
As you will realize here, primary ingredients include wheat flour, cinnamon, raisins, nuts, bananas, oils, honey, and coconut. Do these sound healthy? Well, they can be, but who said Africans don’t love their sweets?
There are hundreds of traditional baked goods recipes out there, so here’s a list of some favorites:
- Did you know that most people believe pie to have originated from the Ancient Egyptians? Of course, now there are many variations and adaptations. We can, however, still look at the popular Nigerian meat pie. These African pies are like empanadas but baked. You may be exclaiming, “Hold on… did you say meat??” Yes, I did! But don’t worry. There is always a vegetarian option. Meat pies are typically one type of meat with lots of veggies and some sauce. So we can just skip the meat and maybe add some mushrooms or seitan. Now for the African sweet pies, you can add some native fruits. Maybe African cherry orange… my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
- Zimbabwean Chimodho: I love a good slice of cake with frosting, but chimodho doesn’t have that. Yet when I hear its name, my mouth waters even more. This Southern African sweet treat can be both a dense cake and bread. You can make it with cornmeal, cassava, or sweet potato. Still in the south, there is Malva pudding. When it comes to authentic African foods, it doesn’t get any better than this. It is so popular that you will find it being the dessert of choice for many on Come Dine With Me: South Africa. And yes, it is very sweet.
- Going back up to the North, we have Batbout. This is a Moroccan flatbread, classified as African sweets as you can enjoy it with honey or jam. Unlike the usual flatbread, you make it with semolina and yeast, as well as wheat flour. In traditional baked goods, most people commonly know of bread. And you can make many of them using open-flame cooking.
How do open-flame cooking & baked goods go together?
You don’t always need an oven to make traditional baked goods. Baking uses dry heat without direct exposure to a heat source. So open flame cooking can do the trick, given the right conditions.
Not only that, even the ingredients have a twist. Some ingredients that you may find easily in your pantry aren’t used in authentic African food. Instead of using them, you may find some ingredients swapped. Like flax seeds as a baking egg replacement. Yes, seeds! But not only that. Have you heard of Amasi? This is sour/fermented milk that most locals in Southern Africa enjoy. They relish it with pap, but you can use it as a cottage cheese or plain yogurt replacement in recipes. In African sweets, we add it to scones.
If you think Africans are going to spend hundreds for machines to do what a pair of perfectly washed hands with rolled-up sleeves can do, you are slightly mistaken. Slightly, because sometimes the easy way is tempting… Who needs a baking spatula when you can use a butter knife? And who needs piping bags when you can cut a hole in a piece of bread plastic? And don’t get me started on how you can use normal oven-safe pots to make your traditional baked goods in the oven, instead of baking trays. Don’t be fooled, Africans can afford all these things, we just like being resourceful sometimes. Forget about simple baking egg replacements, we have replacements for everything! Some households don’t even have ovens, but open-flame cooking keeps them more than satisfied.
African sweets are too good not to share
By following these unique baking tricks, you will indeed please your sweet tooth. You may find it hard to share. But, as is popularly said in Africa and in the spirit of ‘Ubuntu’, everything tastes best when shared. These African sweets will have you longing for more! Subscribe to our monthly digest, because the sharing never stops here.