Chef Mynhardt’s signature festive tradition lights up Christmas

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CHEF Mynhardt Joubert’s legendary fruitcake will again take centre stage this year on many a festive table. It has been Mynhardt’s pledge since the inception of his Festive Fruitcake Charity Drive in 2016 to light up South African households during the festive season with his cherry-bejewelled cakes. Now in its sixth year, Mynhardt’s famous cakes have entrenched themselves as a holiday tradition, and for the charities who benefit from the proceeds of its sales, this tradition makes a huge impact too. 

Festive season 2022 can once again see loved ones gathered around a table to celebrate each other with unbridled joy. Families and friends can break bread together unmasked and look forward to the lunch and dinner finale to crown the feast: The much-loved festive fruitcake.

The recipe for Mynhardt’s famous cake has travelled from its humble Free State roots where he grew up, to the hearts of South Africans across this country. It is appropriate that this cake tells the story of maternal love: “My mother and grandmother always encouraged me to be creative in the kitchen. Christmas in South Africa is synonymous with a fruitcake, shared on Christmas day and many times for days beyond that. It resembles family, especially when the quintessential aromas of warm baking spices fill the whole house. Christmas is exceptionally sentimental to me this year as the pandemic has created the yearning to spend more time with loved ones,” says Mynhardt. 

Mynhardt’s 2022 Festive Fruitcake Charity Drive beneficiaries include Helpende Handjies, a small NPO run by Wilma Christoffels in Montagu. Wilma feeds and supports 30 children in the community and relies on donations. It includes buying school accessories for children who cannot afford them. 

The other organisation is Butterfly House, a community resource in Paarl that facilitates positive change in a vulnerable community. Over 300 children are registered to participate in their programmes to receive meals and stationery, with access to shower facilities, homework, and recreational spaces – all in a safe environment. The founding vision of Butterfly House was to address and expand the holistic care practices provided by Drakenstein Palliative Hospice (DPH).

This year, Chef Mynhardt is partnering with renowned South African brands, including SASKO, Montagu Dried Fruit & Nuts, Bonnita Butter and KWV Brandy. Their sponsorship will ensure these beautiful cakes reach more than the aimed 2000 households countrywide. It is easy to understand why. This is far from being your average fruitcake. This cake exemplifies all the best parts: it is free of unnecessary frosting frills or fancy decorations. It is honest in what it represents, and one only needs to feel the weight of this 1.9kg cake to know it is packed with goodness, laden with generosity, and made with love. 

“I hope that the cake represents the message of abundance. Christmas is a joyful time, and where possible, it is that time of the year that sparks the need to give back and spread happiness. The most amazing part of giving, under any circumstances, is to see how it manifests in stories around you – love in motion,” says Mynhardt.

Chef Mynhardt’s festive fruit cakes are available at R500 per cake. To order yours in time for the festive season, email [email protected] Follow his Festive Fruitcake Charity Drive on Facebook, and Instagram and be sure to feel inspired with plenty of ideas for your festive cooking.

FREE STATE FESTIVE FRUITCAKE RECIPE

PREPARATION: 30 minutes

COOKING: 2–3 hours

PASSIVE: at least one month before eating the cake 

8 – 10 servings

preheat oven: 120°C

Ingredients:

  • 400ml water
  • 100g Bonnita butter
  • 200g soft brown sugar
  • 400g fruitcake mix
  • 250g dates, chopped
  • 100g Montagu golden sultanas
  • 200g Montagu raw whole almonds, roughly chopped
  • 7ml bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 20ml vanilla extract
  • 75ml KWV brandy, plus 75ml to drizzle
  • 100g whole red glacé cherries
  • 100g whole green glacé cherries
  • 200g SASKO self-raising flour
  • 5ml salt
  • 5ml ground cinnamon

Method:

  • Preheat the oven, with the rack in the middle. Butter a deep 25cm cake tin, line it with 3 layers of baking paper and butter the top layer.
  • In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter, sugar, fruits and almonds to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Add the bicarb, mix through and remove from the heat. Leave to cool completely.
  • In another bowl, combine the eggs, vanilla and brandy and add it to the cooled fruit mixture. Add the cherries, flour, salt and cinnamon and mix well, making sure all the flour is incorporated. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 2 hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean (it can be moist, but not doughy).
  • Once the cake comes out of the oven, drizzle the remaining brandy over it and leave to cool in the tin. Store the cake in an airtight container and moisten liberally with brandy once a week to let it mature and allow the flavours to develop. 
  • To keep the cake moist, wrap it in baking paper, cover in clingwrap and store it in an airtight container. After being ripened for a few weeks, it is easy to freeze.
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