Every year, Taste of Cayman brings with it a number of hotly contested and hugely entertaining competitions, resulting in the winner receiving cash prizes as well as, more importantly, bragging rights for an entire year.
The annual Heavy Cake Competition is an opportunity to showcase a skill developed at the hands of multiple generations, perfected into one of the most quintessentially Caymanian dishes there is.
Deirdre Seymour had been perfecting her cassava cake recipe for almost 20 years when she won the title at the 25th Taste of Cayman Food and Drink Festival, back in 2013. Her mission to create the perfect cassava cake took her on a journey across the island to meet with some of the best home cooks and custodians of traditional Caymanian recipes.
We’ve done some digging into the Taste of Cayman archives and found an interview with Mrs. Seymour and Flava Magazine (one of our 2018 sponsors!) following her triumph in 2013.
“The pan I used to bake my cassava cake in for the competition is over 80 years old and belonged to my grandmother, Eva Ebanks. My mother told me she can remember stirring her mother’s cake mixtures in that same pudding pan, as she calls it, when she was a small child,” Mrs Seymour said.
“This was my first cooking competition and I felt honoured to win. I was elated and knew my many years of perfecting the recipe had paid off. I have shared my cake with friends and co-workers and their comments are all consistent, that my cake is very good. That is the best reward, when people enjoy your food.”
How about making her award-winning recipe this long weekend?
Deirdre Seymour’s cassava cake
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 3.5 hours
- 4lbs cassava grated
- 2¼lbs brown sugar, half dark/half light brown
- 2 dry coconuts blended to make fresh coconut milk
- 1 tbsp corn starch mix with ¼ cup water added to grated cassava
- 1½ tbsp vanilla flavour
- 1 rounded tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp all spice
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp cloves
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 stick of sweet cream butter
- 1 tbsp sweet cream butter
- (Keep grated cassava in a large mixing bowl)
- 13×9 inch baking pan
- Pre-heat oven to 400F
- Bring the coconut milk, vanilla, brown sugar, butter, salt and spices to the boil for around 20mins.
- Spices should be sifted into the coconut milk.
- Reserve 1 cup of the boiled liquid and then add the remaining liquid to the grated cassava in the large bowl.
- Add 1 tbsp butter to reserved liquid and bring to a quick boil before turning off heat. Grease baking pan and pour in cassava mixture.
- Bake for about 45 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350F and bake for 2½ hours.
- After the first 45 minutes, baste the top of the cassava cake with the reserved boiled liquid and every ½ hour thereafter with a large spoon all over the cake, until finished.
- Cake should be nicely browned on top when complete, fairly firm and slightly gooey on top.
- Let cake cool completely before slicing.
Think you have what it takes to win this year’s Heavy Cake Competition? If you’re ready to get stuck in, email email@example.com to reserve your spot.
Reproduced from Flava Magazine
Written by: Joanna Lewis | FlavaScribe
Flava Issue 2 2013