Festive Cake Press Release

The act of giving is in my DNA, making Christmas my favourite time of the year. It makes sharing my Free State fruitcake with you and the story behind it extra special. It’s the fifth year that this festive cake has been at the heart of our mission to give back to our community. Looking through the lens of Covid 19 has sharpened my focus to do something meaningful to help vulnerable children and the elderly.

We will be baking 1 200 fruitcakes to sell countrywide, in aid of our chosen charities for 2020.

Butterfly House is an NGO with a community resource centre in the Drakenstein District, running programmes such as a feeding scheme to provide children with nourishing meals and a safe haven. We also support Huis Uitvlucht in the Klein Karoo town of Montagu, and its programmes to enrich the lives of older people in their care, many who are frail and fully dependant on their small monthly Sassa grant. The project is supported by KWV, Sasko, Moir’s and Montagu Snacks, all brands much loved in South African kitchens.

I will appreciate it if you could tell others about our Festive Fruitcake Charity Drive. It sells at R560 and weighs a hefty 1,8 kg.

My passion for this traditional bake was rekindled when my sister Marné sent me one in a beautiful old cake tin, all the way from Bethlehem in the Free State. I took inspiration from a friend’s heirloom recipe, adjusting it to reflect my love for dates, brown sugar, good brandy and abundance. (I include the recipe and baking tips should you wish to make it for your own festive table, or as a gift for someone you care about.) We started baking it in early October, the festive aromas of butter and cinnamon penetrating every nook and cranny of my KWV Cathedral Cellar Kitchen here in Paarl.

It’s a team effort with Vytjie (Corleen) McGee fully in command, measuring, mixing and lining her pans. Her husband Dawid Opperman lends a hand as Vytjie is too short to reach everything. Marita Pieterse takes care of the wrapping and prettifying, while Frikkie Janse van Rensburg and Cedrick Moubima handle the logistics. Jasmine Fransman, lovingly known as Sponsie, does the quality control and keeps things going at my Station Street Kitchen. Theresa De Vries, my friend from Namaqualand crocheted every star by hand, adding a homemade touch to the recyclable gift packaging. That she did this selflessly despite the drought and difficult circumstances on the farm, tells its own story of giving.

Enjoy every bite of the fruitcake – now or later, preferably later, as it gets better with time. Just keep it well-wrapped, sprinkling it with brandy now and then. Mynhardt Joubert

Ps: I’m also launching Eating from the Krismisboks, a full-on Christmas menu for the festive table which can be ordered in advance from my Station Street Kitchen, for home delivery in the Cape, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban.
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