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East African Snack Time: Jugu Cake

November 3, 2010

Mehnaz and I ‘met’ through Brazen Careerist and over time, learned we had more in common than just our cultures! A few months ago I had the pleasure of meeting her sister Zoyah. I follow Mehnaz’s blog pretty regularly (go check out her blog… I LOVE the way she writes!) and visit Zoyah’s blog whenever I need some sweet inspiration (check out her really fun blog on baking and cooking here). This week, the amazing sisters from Canada share their recipe for a family favorite.

We grew up in a household with no shortage of neighbours popping by for a quick cup of chai, Friday night cook-outs, and on-the-fly beach barbecues. Any East African/ South Asian grandmother will tell you that you should always be ready for company that may happen to drop by.  After our family left East Africa, we carried with us to the new country, the proud tradition of overfeeding our guests (not that anybody seems to mind).

Jugu cake (the word “Jugu” means peanut in Kiswahili) is an East African and Indian cross-over similar to biscotti, but chewier and denser.  It is still a favourite in the home, and usually disappears within the week when it is made.  We should caution you that it is entirely possible to eat too many in one sitting.  Here’s how it’s made:


  • 3 cups roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder (heaped)
  • 3 eggs, beaten (remove one egg yolk and save in a separate bowl)
  • Half cup margarine (1 stick)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup milk


– Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F)
– Grind peanuts until they resemble a mealy texture, not a complete powder
– Mix together peanuts, flour, white sugar, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl
– Melt margarine completely and pour over the dry ingredients
– Beat the eggs (3 whites, and 2 yolks), and add to the dry ingredients and margarine
– Warm the milk in a pan, until simmering.  It should be nice and warm
– Add baking soda to the milk (frothing is normal – the milk, not you), and pour over into the mixture
– Work Quickly : Bind until the dough comes together.  The dough should be pliable, but not tough
– Divide the dough into 5 equal portions.
– Roll each piece into a log (about 12 inches in length), and place into a greased baking sheet.  Place slightly separately from each other.  Note: We sometimes find it easier to roll the logs right in the baking sheet, just to avoid having to carry logs back and forth and risking breakage and tears.

– Add 1 tsp of milk to the egg yolk and brush the logs generously
– Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until golden-brown

– Allow to cool for about 5-8 minutes.
– Cut into diagonal slices about 1.5 – 2 inches thick (like you slice biscotti).
– Eat all the ends, and bits that have fallen apart.
– Jugu cake is best served with a cup of home-made masala chai, a glass of warm milk, or a cup of your best coffee.

Storage:  Store in an airtight container (though there likely won’t be anything to store).


Mehnaz and Zoyah are sisters (and polar opposites) who live in Vancouver, BC, Canada.  Mehnaz is a writer and editor who blogs regularly at Speak Softly and Carry a Red Pen.  Zoyah is a biology student who blogs her baking adventures at Honey Tops by Zoyah.  When they aren’t starting useless arguments and borrowing each other’s clothes, they come together over their love for food (Zoyah does the baking, Mehnaz, the eating).

6 Comments leave one →
  1. November 4, 2010 2:39 am

    Never heard or read of Jugu cake. What an interesting name and recipe. To be honest I’m not a fan of peanuts in general but I’m tempted to try this, since its a family fav recipe and it goes well with masala chai!

    Got a question…can I use a butter instead of margarine? Or it won’t be authentic then ?

    P.S. Love that picture of Zoyah and Mehnaz together. Sibling love 🙂

    • November 4, 2010 12:49 pm

      Originally we used to use butter, Kulsum, but these days we find that it makes them too heavy, and gives them a bit of an acrid taste. You can definitely try though – the results might be different for you 🙂

  2. November 6, 2010 1:15 pm

    I made this for date night last night! It’s soo yummy! I was worried at first because my logs and the dough itself didn’t look anything like these pictures–I think I didn’t grind the peanuts well enough, my cake turned out chunky (which I also like), and I found the dough really sticky and hard to work with, but I pulled it off! Yours look so much more professional than my homey first try 😉 But I’m excited to try this again and improve! But so far, soooo yummy! I’m having a slice right now!

  3. Mehr permalink
    April 16, 2018 10:49 pm

    Can we use oil instead of magrine or butter?

  4. Tasneem Amijee permalink
    October 21, 2018 9:52 am

    we made the jugucake at home ,and it was great !
    Thanks to Mehnaz and Zoyah.


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