Easter treats from the Brahman Hills kitchen

It's nearly holiday time. And with family and friends gathering, the kids home for the holidays and Easter cards and crafts coming from school by the bucket load, we feel the time is right for a little Easter bake-off.

In this week’s post, Brahman Hills executive chef - Jan Louis Van der Schyff - shares a couple of his toothsome recipes. We are going to try our hands at a homemade carrot cake - classic Easter fare. Then there’s delicious shortbread for a moreish holiday treat. And finally Pintrest worthy unicorn bark - easy to make with the kids, festively decorated and delicious fun.

So gather your sieve, don your apron, invite your little helpers and let’s get baking!

Brahman Hills carrot cake

Carrot cake is a firm Easter favourite. Beautifully moist and spicy, you can make this cake in tiers and layer with cream cheese frosting. Be sure to grate the carrots on the smallest setting and don’t be shy with the spices. With add-ins, less is more in this case. Too many extras and the cake consistency will become crumbly, gummy or wet. Not the piece of cake you’re looking for!


1.4kg grated carrot (grate finely)
240g pecan nuts (roasted)
960g flour
40g baking powder
20g ground cinnamon
20g ginger powder
5g nutmeg
5g all spice
20g bicarb of soda
420g brown sugar
16 eggs
120g golden syrup
880ml cooking oil


1/4 cup butter (room temperature)
4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
180g cream cheese


  • Pop the oven on at 160 degrees celsius.
  • Whisk the eggs, syrup and oil together.
  • Add the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, all spice, bicarb of soda and brown sugar.
  • Fold in the carrots and pecan nuts.
  • Bake for 1 hour.
  • Allow to cool completely before icing the top.

Frosting method

  • Mix room temperature butter with sugar, vanilla essence and cream cheese until smooth.
  • Use a pallet knife to slather frosting casually onto the cool cake.
  • Remember, this is suppose to be rustic and homey, so don’t try to smooth it rigidly or be too exacting. Au natural is the way to go!

Brahman Hills shortbread

A tin of home-baked shortbread. Yum! It’s a holiday treat that’s stood the test of many tea times. It keeps everyone happy from granny to baby. If it’s a warm South African day when you’re cooking, then wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill it in the fridge until it’s easy to handle. You can get fancy and roll dough into thin-ish sausage shapes and then twist them before baking - making a fun shortbread twirl. Or dip half the biscuit (after it has baked and cooled) into melted chocolate for a semi-coated look. We’ve also seen a dent made in the top of the biscuit dough cookies which, after baking, are then filled with mini chocolate eggs so they resemble little nests.


175g butter
75g castor sugar
250g plain flour


  • Put oven onto 180 degrees celsius.
  • Cream butter and sugar together.
  • Add flour bit by bit and mix gently (until dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl).
  • Knead dough and make into biscuit shapes.
  • Pop on baking tray with lined parchment paper.
  • Bake in oven for 30 min.

Easter-themed unicorn bark

And finally an especially colourful one that you can easily do with the kids over the Easter holidays! This one is a doddle to make and the kiddies can get involved too. So, the toppings are only limited by your personal preferences, size and availability. You could also buy coloured melting chocolate if you can get your hands on some, but white chocolate coloured by food colouring works just as well. Have a look at the clip from DELISH to see how they do it.


  • 600g of good quality white chocolate (or coloured cooking chocolate).
  • A variety of gel food colouring.
  • Cake confetti (aka hundreds and thousands).
  • Mini marshmallows (or topping of your choice).
  • Small jelly sweets (or topping of your choice).


  • Melt the chocolate either in busts of 30 seconds in the microwave, or double boiling it on the stove top and then stir until smooth.
  • Divide the melted chocolate into 4 or 5 bowls.
  • Add a different food colour (a different colour for each bowl). Add a small amount at a time until you get the colour you want.
  • Line a large tray with baking parchment.
  • Spoon out the chocolate mixtures onto the lined tray.
  • The chocolate puddles should naturally start to merge together.
  • Help them along and fill any gaps using a kebab skewer to swirl the mixture.
  • Be careful not to over swirl or you run the risk of the chocolate blending into one colour.
  • Now the fun really starts - go wild and decorate with your cake toppers and mini sweets.
  • Leave in a cool dry place to harden overnight.
  • Or you could freeze for an hour if waiting overnight will lead to rebellion from your helpers!

Happy baking and happy holidays from the kitchen at Brahman Hills!


The Brahman Hills Team
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