Easter With The Olivier’s – Part II: Fruit Cake

Ma Olivier’s Fruit Cake

Ma Olivier and her daughter Gaylee prepared a fruit cake, she believes that a lot of people think that a fruit cake is only for Christmas. In her household they have it for Easter too.

As I was busy taking pictures I noticed a lot of love going into making this cake….and it was wonderful watching mother and daughter in the kitchen……..

I had a chat with Ma Olivier about her cooking and inspiration behind her dishes.

 When did you learn to cook / bake?

“I started to learn the skill of cooking and baking after I got married.  After my husband and I got married we spent four years at my mother in law’s house.  In that period mother in law taught me everything I know about cooking.  She used to let me cook and just be there to guide while she was doing her needlework.  Those are my fondest memories being in the kitchen.  Now I enjoy cooking for my children and husband and cooking doesn’t feel like a chore because the whole family gets to participate”

Ma Olivier and her daughter Gaylee


Do you teach your children how to cook?

Yes, I’ve taught my children how to cook and now that they are grown up I don’t do much cooking.  They cook for me and its all thanks to training them from an early age.”

Ma Olivier’s children are all grown up now and two of them have pursued careers in food. One is a food scientist and the other is studying towards becoming a chef.  It’s all thanks to all the time spent with mom in the kitchen.  I asked her to share her tips about cooking and life in general: ” Teach your children how to cook from an early age to equip them for life and marriage. ”

Every foodie I know is/was inspired by someone in their lives.  It’s inspiring to witness the transfer of skill and the love of cooking from generation to generation.  In this case Ma Olivier learnt to cook from her mother in law, she then passed on the skill to her own kids who are now passionate foodies in their own right.

I sincerely enjoyed spending time with the family and they really inspired me.  Besides being a family that cooks together, they are very close and there’s so much love between them.  Even their dog , Milo is a happy chappie, a typical Cape Town dog with missing front teeth! I’m really not joking, his front teeth are missing LOL!


Ma Olivier’s Economical Fruit Cake Recipe

Adapted from Kos en Kookkuns – 1981


500g fruit cake mix

80g red cherries

30g almonds, crushed

200g sugar

130g butter

250ml boiling water

5ml bicarbonate of soda

500ml (2cups) cake flour

3ml baking powder

2ml coriander, ground

2ml ginger, ground

1ml salt

2 eggs, beaten

25ml brandy, optional


  1. Prepare 180mm cake pan. Line the pan with a greaseproof paper.
  2. Cook the fruit mix, cherries, almonds, butter, sugar and water for 5-7 minutes.  Stir constantly to prevent burning.
  3. Add the bicarbonate of soda into the mixture, let completely cool down.
  4. Sift the other dry ingredients.
  5. Fold in the dry ingredients alternating with the egg bit by bit into the fruit mixture.
  6. Add brandy and mix.
  7. Transfer the mixture into the cake pan.
  8. Bake at 150۫C for 75 minutes.
  9. After removing from the oven let cake sit in the pan for 10-15 minutes.
  10. Transfer into a cooling rack.

About Author


Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

Comments ( 4 )

  • Franci

    Hey Thuli!

    Both of the “Easter with the Olivier’s” articles are thoroughly entertaining and very well written, had a ball reading all about it! Very tempted to try the pickled fish at home 🙂

    • Hehe! Thanks Franci! I’m glad you enjoyed the posts!

  • What a lovely write up and beautiful pictures.

    • Thanks!:-) Hope you get to try some of the recipes!

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