Oh dear! I have been neglecting the blog lately because so many things had to be taken care of this month. The success of my 7-day ‘Tour de Maurice’ required days of detailed planning, hotel bookings, phone calls, reading trip advisor reviews, browsing through several tourist brochures, making to-do and to-see checklists, scanning restaurant menus and negotiating for the best deals within my limited time frame. Travelling from home to places I had only seen on maps and meeting people from all walks of life was an exciting adventure I had always been looking forward to.

From Day1 I started this beautiful journey around the coastal roads of Mauritius, stopping to visit hotels, restaurants, shops, museums, churches, beaches and many places of interest I had never been to. My first stay was at Otentic, where I spent the night in a safari tent and got to taste delicious grilled fish and tarte banane. The next day was a relaxed one with a boat trip to Ile aux Cerfs and a leisurely drive along the Eastern coast. My second night was at the Radisson Blu where I was surprised with nice Opera cake on my Birthday eve.

On Day 3 I travelled along the Northeast coast visiting small forgotten villages, followed by an absolutely gorgeous lunch in a beautiful colonial mansion at Demeure St Antoine. After a tiring day and an evening walk on the streets of Grand Baie [bustling with nightlife], I checked in at Bleu de Toi, a charming little guesthouse in Pereybere. I woke up to a bright Saturday morning on my birthday and set off to discover the Northwest part of Mauritius.

I was struck by the imposing façade of the Historical Ruins of Balaclava which stands proudly on the banks of Riviere Citron within the grounds of Maritim resort. Birthday lunch was seafood pasta and apple flavoured mojito at La Plage in Trou aux Biches. This year I had to do without my usual homemade cake, instead I was wowed by 2 patisserie cakes: a Pear & Chocolate Mousse cake and a Genoise a la Vanille, topped with cream and fresh fruit. To end this perfect day, I got a soothing back massage at the Ispa club, the Address Boutique where I spent my 4th night away from home.

Day 5 was a long one as I had to travel all the way from Port Chambly to Black River. The weather got nasty as we hit Albion but mercifully we had clear skies as I edged towards Cascavelle. Visiting Casela Nature & Leisure Park was the highlight of the day as I had not been to the park to see recent additions including camels, giraffes and rhinos. Maybe I will try out the camel ride someday but they said they will be bringing elephants soon… hmm… so much for the adventurous me! For the night, I stopped at Vanilla House, a well equipped guest house next to La Balise Marina.

The plan for following day was to cruise along the west coast right to the tip of Le Morne peninsula where I [finally] visited the famous Slave route, part of the cultural landscape which has been proclaimed as a National Heritage since 2006. From there I drove to La Prarie beach, one of my favorite spots for a brief photo shoot and eventually reached Baie du Cap. From there starts the dangerous road to Chamarel, a rustic village where I was to spend the night.

For the last night, my accommodation was a simple yet beautifully decorated cottage at La Vieille Cheminee, a self sufficient farm in the heights of Chamarel. Driving into the village on the next day, I discovered its old church, Eglise St Anne as well as the attractions it is famous for: the Seven Coloured Earths and Chamarel Waterfalls. Not far away, the Rhumerie de Chamarel provided a comprehensive guided tour of the rum-making process, ending with a gourmet lunch and rum/fruit paste/jam tasting. The final leg of my trip was along the South coast, stopping at Chateau de Bel Ombre, Gris Gris and St Aubin to finally reach home after my exhausting yet enriching ‘Tour de Maurice’.

Back home, I baked myself a small butter cake in my mini Bundt pan to celebrate the end of my holidays. The recipe from Baker Street was a delight to my sweet tooth as I emptied a whole back of plump whole Seeberger cranberries into the batter along with freshly shaved orange zest. Though a bit late for my birthday, I did make up for the lack of a personalized homemade cake with this rich and fruity combination that got me back to blogging.

ORANGE CRANBERRY BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients:

For The Bundt Cake

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup golden caster sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

Zest of 1 medium orange

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kitchen salt

2/3 cup buttermilk

1 cup dried cranberries

For The Orange Glaze

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan or coat well with cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and salt. Combine thoroughly and set mixture aside.

  • In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes until fluffy.
  • Add the eggs at once and continue creaming for 1 minute. Add the orange zest and vanilla extract.

  • Beat until combined. Add about half the flour and mix on medium-low speed until just combined.
  • Add the buttermilk and mix on medium low speed until just combined. Add in the rest of the flour.

  • Mix until just combined. Gently stir in the cranberries. Spoon the batter evenly into prepared pan.
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Let cake cool in the pan about 10 minutes, and then invert onto a rack.

  • Cool at least 20 minutes before glazing. For the orange glaze, combine all the ingredients together.
  • Whisk until it becomes creamy orange color. Pour glaze over cake and serve at room temperature.

Orange & Cranberries