Handsome Husband had a special weekend devoted to his birthday. He deserved it and we were just so happy to pack up and head to Jinja for the weekend. I have been in Uganda for 16 months now and have only been to Jinja twice. This, I do not understand and having spent a deeply relaxing 26 hours staring at the Nile I resolve to go more often. It is only an hour and a half from Kampala, an easy drive by Ugandan standards and the rewards are sweet once we arrive.
Throw a few good friends together, mix in a lovely place to stay, a campfire, happy children in tents, plenty of drinks, hammocks and books and add a fabulous view and a good weekend is guaranteed.
The only down side to the weekend was the birthday cake, worth mentioning since it has to go down in history as the Worst Birthday Cake in the World. I had emailed in advance and asked for a cake to be organized. After all who can have a birthday without cake? I didn’t think I could conjure up a cake since I was supervising a Guy Fawkes Night at school on the Friday evening and then had Pantomime business to attend to before leaving Saturday morning. Anyway I thought I could trust a restaurant kitchen to bake a cake. Who was I to know?
I went into the kitchen to light the candles and promptly saw that this cake, being turquoise and wrapped in a shiny red bow had come from a store in downtown Jinja. Okay, I thought, it is from a Cake Shop. Can’t be that bad, can it? Camera, ready I went to wait for the waitress to carry out the cake. 5 minutes later, I was still waiting as the staff thought it would be best to bring out all the plates and forks before hand, with little care for the candles which by now were mere stumps. Finally, out it comes, in all its turquoise spendour.
When the knife wouldn’t go through, that was the first indication that we had a problem. Then finally after some strenuous sawing action the cake snapped, sending shards of royal icing flying across the table. The cake inside looked like brown stone, drier than saw dust, harder than a brick. I gingerly put a small crumb in my mouth and nearly gagged. It tasted like nothing I had ever experienced before; more like pulverised and re glued mouldy brick than anything else. How long had that cake been sitting on the shelf of “Jinja’s Best Cake Shop?”
A wise teen to my right cleared up the confusion. “All Uganda cakes are like that.”
So now I know.
Once we arrived back in Kampala we set matters right and sought out the best Death by Chocolate Cake we could find. No one can miss cake on their birthday. Even in Uganda.