Serves 8 – 10
I remember the taste from my childhood. A unique, traditional South African “railway” cake, it was served on the trains when one travelled from Cape Town to Johannesburg. It is very simple to make, but so delicious to eat and pretty to look at. It will keep moist for 2 – 3 days and also freeze very successfully.
Products in this recipe

Vanilla Cake

You will need

1 x 600 g Ina Paarman’s Vanilla Cake Mix (reserve 2 T)
100 g red glacé cherries, cut whole ones into ¼ ‘s
250 g butter at room temperature
1 t (5 ml) almond essence
3 extra large eggs, at room temperature
1 ½ cups (375 ml) buttermilk
1 T (15 ml) grated lemon zest
1 T (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
30 g flaked almonds

double cream yoghurt or whipped cream


Adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Butter a 20 cm cake pan. Line the base with baking paper.
Ignore package instructions and follow the method below.
Reserve 2 T (30 ml) of the dry Cake Mix and toss with the quartered cherries.
Cream butter and almond essence until butter is soft. Add 1 egg and 1 heaped tablespoon of Cake Mix at a time, beating after each addition, until you have used all 3 eggs. Don’t be concerned if the mixture curdles.
Add buttermilk, lemon zest and juice. Beat it in. Add all remaining dry Cake Mix. Add floured cherries and gently fold in by hand with a spatula until evenly mixed. Don’t over mix.
Spoon mixture into the prepared pan. Make a slight hollow in the middle of the pan to prevent it from forming a peak when baked. Sprinkle the almonds over the top. Flatten them lightly into the mix with the back of a spoon.
Bake for at least an hour until nicely browned and cooked in the middle. Allow to rest in the pan for 10 minutes.
Turn out onto a cooling rack and remove baking paper from the base.
Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Serve with yoghurt or cream.