Sierra Leonean-style rich cake

Sierra Leonean-style rich cake

You must be logged in to favorite a recipe.Login

Thanks for your rating!

You must be logged in to rate a recipe. Login

  • 6-8
  • Easy
  • 30–40 minutes

"I have fond childhood memories of the preparation process involved in making this cake. We would often cream the butter and sugar by hand using a wooden spoon in Sierra Leone and this could take hours, but the end result was worth it. The next step is where Sierra Leonean ingenuity comes in. We would butter the inside of empty powdered milk tins and use these as baking tins." – Maria Bradford


  • 150 g butter, plus extra for buttering
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 50 g plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 150 g self-raising flour
  • 1 – 2 T full-cream milk
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 t natural orange flavouring

Cooking Instructions

1. Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature. Generously butter a 18cm cake tin. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

2. Using an electric hand-mixer, cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until the mixture is pale, light and fluffy (10–15 minutes). Don’t rush this step; the more thoroughly the butter and sugar are combined, the lighter the cake will be.

3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating the mixture well between each addition. Add 1 tablespoon of flour with the last egg to prevent curdling.

4. Sift both flours into the bowl and gently fold in, adding just enough milk to give a mixture that drops slowly from a spoon when the spoon is held away from the bowl. Fold in the orange zest and orange flavouring.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 30–40 minutes or until golden-brown on top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Turn the cake onto a cooling rack and leave to cool. Slice and enjoy.

This is an extract from "Sweet Salone: Recipes from the Heart of Sierra Leone" by Maria Bradford. Published by Hardie Grant and distributed by Jonathan Ball Publishers. Design and location photography by Dav E Brown. Recipe photography by Yuki Sugiura.

Find more cake recipes here. 

Maria Bradford Recipe by: Maria Bradford
View all recipes

Maria Bradford grew up in Freetown, and started helping her mother prepare meals from about nine years of age. Inspired by her heritage, Maria prepares traditional African dishes and high-end Afro-fusion cuisine. Maria studied at Leith’s School of Food and Wine and founded Maria Bradford Kitchen in 2017, which became known as Shwen Shwen. Her catering is in high demand for corporate events and private dining throughout the UK and Africa. Maria lives in the south of England with her husband and two children.

Social Media

Related Recipes