A sweet tribute to late culinary legend Dorah Sitole

The renowned food writer will forever be remembered for her fabulous recipes — including this one for a featherlight Victoria sponge cake

10 January 2021 - 00:00 By hilary biller
The late Dorah Sitole was an inspiration to many. Pictured right is her Victoria sponge cake.
The late Dorah Sitole was an inspiration to many. Pictured right is her Victoria sponge cake.
Image: Roelene Prinsloo

A featherlight Victoria sponge cake piled high with freshly whipped cream and a garland of seasonal berries felt like a fitting way to honour Dorah Sitole, who passed away last week.

The fact that this cake is one of her many favourite recipes from her fourth cookbook, 40 Years of Iconic Food, makes this tribute even sweeter.

Sitole, much-loved, award-winning food writer, recipe developer and previous editor and food editor of True Love magazine, was an inspiration to many people. Celebrity chefs Zola Nene and The Lazy Makoti credit her for “opening the door to usher in a new generation of black female chefs” — read their touching tributes to Sitole here.

She was also a regular contributor to Sunday Times Lifestyle and a dear friend.

This cake has special significance as Dorah and I were on the same trip to the UK that she mentions in the introduction to the recipe (get it here).

On the first day of the press junket we were treated to Afternoon Tea at the Dorchester in London. We felt like royalty.

Sitting in the Promenade of the top hotel, considered to be one of Mayfair's best sitting rooms, we were waited on hand and foot, sipping champagne, drinking the finest English tea and eating cucumber and salmon sandwiches, spoilt for choice by an array of dainty cakes and savouries on three-tiered cake stands — each of us had our own.

The highlight was going into the kitchen to meet the pastry chefs who had made the feast.

Dorah and I never forgot this special occasion, one of many cherished moments we shared and a memory that will forever live in my heart. Rest in peace, dear Dorah.