Fonio is an ancient African grain that is a staple in many West African cultures. This Fonio pound cake uses Fonio flour to add nutty and earthy flavors to a tender pound cake that is paired with tropical and tart hibiscus!

Fonio Pound Cake with Hibiscus Glaze

Hello friends!! I have a great new recipe for you today that is special and close to my heart. This Fonio Pound Cake with Hibiscus Glaze is an ode to my African roots and my love of experimenting with new flavors in unexpected ways. Don’t sleep on trying this one if you are looking for a new kitchen adventure! 

I’m proud to collaborate with more than 30 Black recipe developers as we celebrate Black History Month 2022. This Virtual Potluck explores Black food through the lens of Afrofuturism. Our collaboration of recipes explores the intersection of the Black diaspora via culture, future, geopolitics, imagination, liberation, culture, and technology.

Fonio Pound Cake with Hibiscus Glaze

I have been participating in this BHM virtual potluck for a few years now. Each year, I learn new things about the African diaspora and the culture through the amazing food. This year’s theme is Afrofuturism. I wanted to develop a recipe that pulls from my past and utilizes it in a new and innovative way that paves a culinary future. So take a familiar ingredient from my culture and reimagine that in today’s food culture. Which to me that is my baking! 

In thinking of what I would contribute to this year, I turned to see what African meals I eat daily and what I can utilize in new ways. Fonio just so happens to be a grain I was eating more of recently as I’ve substituted it for rice in my daily routine. 

Fonio Pound Cake with Hibiscus Glaze

What is Fonio?

Fonio is an ancient African grain that is nutrient-rich and a staple in many West African cultures including Sierra Leone. It grows in drought conditions and poor soils making it a grain that can sustain regions during doughts. It is a great source of Vitamin Bs and calcium and is naturally gluten-free. 

I grew up eating fonio, cooked like couscous, and paired with several savory soups and stew. The earthy flavor of cooked fonio is mild and it takes on the flavors of what it is paired with. This makes it perfect for baking! 

Fonio Pound Cake with Hibiscus Glaze

This Fonio pound cake brings in the nutty and earthy flavor of fonio into a classic vanilla pound cake. I used fonio flour, which is similar in texture to other grain flours as it is easier to work with flours in cakes. The cake batter is infused with vanilla flavor a touch of lemon zest and the soft crumb I achieved with olive oil and yogurt. It is a very easy and delicious cake. 

The nutty pound cake is paired with hibiscus. A vibrant sweet and tart hibiscus syrup that is made with edible hibiscus flowers and is soaked into the cake. Hibiscus, or Sorrell or bissap, is one of those refreshing juices I grew up on. The classic red color, tart, and sweet flavors mixed with ginger and cloves are so comforting! I bring that tropical bliss to a cake that is already a winner. 

Fonio Pound Cake with Hibiscus Glaze

Anyway, enough talking about the flavors and why you should try this fonio pound cake. Let’s walk you through how to make it.

How to Make Fonio Pound Cake?

As always, if you are not a fan of the step-by-step pictures, feel free to scroll to the end for the recipe or use the “jump to recipe” button at the top of the page. 

Let’s start by gathering our ingredients. 

Fonio Pound Cake with Hibiscus Glaze

I used Yolele Fonio flour for this recipe. Yolele Foods, an African food brand by Chef Pierre Thiam, has been my go-to for fonio. The precooked fonio is an easy way to try fonio grain. You can find it on Amazon and I link it below for you. 

Fonio Pound Cake with Hibiscus Glaze

We start by combining together our eggs, sugar, and lemon zest. Bring out the oils in the lemon zest and whip the eggs until they are pale, pillowy, and thick. 

Fonio Pound Cake with Hibiscus Glaze

Next, we add in the olive oil, yogurt, and extracts. Mix this until incorporated. 

In a separate bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. Make sure they are well combined before they get added to the wet ingredients. 

Fonio Pound Cake with Hibiscus Glaze

Add dry to wet ingredients and mix until just combined. No overmixing here. 

Transfer batter to your prepared bundt pan!! Use your most elegant bundt pan as this cake deserves it. 

Fonio Pound Cake with Hibiscus Glaze


Fonio Pound Cake with Hibiscus Glaze

While you bake the cake, make the hibiscus syrup. To make this, let’s soak the hibiscus flowers in hot water. Let steep. 

Fonio Pound Cake with Hibiscus Glaze

Drain the flowers, combine the hibiscus water with sugar and cook down until reduced and thickens. 

Once the cake is done baking and cooking, brush the warm cake with the cooled hibiscus syrup. Let the syrup soak into the cake. 

Fonio Pound Cake with Hibiscus Glaze

Next, make the glaze by combining powdered sugar with the remaining syrup. 

Top the cake with the glaze and decorate. 

Fonio Pound Cake with Hibiscus Glaze

That’s it! The cake is soft, has a very tender crumb, and is bursting with nutty, vibrant citrus and tropical flavors. I hope you enjoy it! 

Fonio Pound Cake with Hibiscus Glaze

Be sure to check out the below amazing recipes in the Black History Month Virtual Potluck. 

Cook and share the inspiring recipes by checking out the list of participants below. Follow each participant and continue the discussion with us on social media using the hashtag #BHMVP2022

Collard Green Hand Pies by A Girl Called Adri

Sweet Potato Wedges with Peanut Dipping Sauce by Big Delicious Life

Sweet Potato Biscuits by Black Girls Who Brunch

Chicken Plantains and Vegetables by Black Peoples Recipes

Bobo de Camarao (Brazilian Shrimp Stew) by Brazilian Kitchen Abroad

Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart with Candied Peanuts by Britney Breaks Bread

Vegan Coconut Cake with Lime Glaze by Chenée Today

Fried Green Tomato BLT by Coined Cuisine

Shrimp Po’Boy Salad by Collards Are The Old Kale

Warm Brewed Zobo Drink by Dash of Jazz

Sorrel Martini Popsicles by Dish It With Tisha

Fish Patties with Pontchartrain Sauce by Dude That Cookz

Stuffed Shrimp & Grit Collard Green Rolls by Fior

Spicy Berbere Lentil Chili by Flights and Foods

Sankofa Bowl w/ Suya Duck Breast by Food Fidelity

Brown Stew Pineapple Chicken with Roasted Groundnuts by Geo’s Table

Champurrado Custard by Global Kitchen Travels

Caribbean Fish and Chips with Tamarind Sauce by Heal Me Delicious

Curry crab-stuffed dumplings by Home Made Zagat

Nigerian Chapman Cocktail by Immaculate Ruému

Dragon Fruit Pineapple Rum Punch by Jamieson Diaries

Smothered Okra & Tomatoes by Kenneth Temple

Brown Butter Sombi –  Coconut Rice Pudding Brulee by Meiko And The Dish

Coffee and Bourbon Braised Short Ribs by My Pretty Brown Fit + Eats

Fig Cake with Tamarind Glaze by My Sweet Precision

Coconut-Lime Cornmeal Tres Leches Cake by Savor and Sage

Salmorejo (Stewed Crab) over Garlic Grits by Sense & Edibility®

Mango Cake and Coconut Cream by Sims Home Kitchen

Sous Vide Ox Tail with Coconut Rice by Sweet Tea + Thyme

Yam Gnocchi served with Oxtail Peppersoup by The Food Disciple

Bourbon Bean Pie by The Queen of Yum

Black-Eyed Pea And Cornbread by The Vgn Way

Fonio Pound Cake with Hibiscus Glaze
Yield: 1 large bundt cake

Fonio Pound Cake with Hibiscus Glaze

This cake combines two West African flavors in a new way! A nutty vanilla bundt cake with nutrient-dense fonio is topped with tropical and vibrant hibiscus glaze.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes



  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup almond meal/ flour
  • 1/3 cup fornio flour
  • 1 ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • 1/3 cup dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons of hibiscus syrup from above


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-10 cup bundt pan with baking spray.
  2. Combine the eggs, sugar, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed until pale, thick, and pillowy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the olive oil, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Beat until just combined.
  4. Whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  5. Reduce mixer to low speed and gradually add the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Do not over mix.
  6. Spoon cake batter into prepared pan.
  7. Bake cake for 40-45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  8. While the cake is baking, make the hibiscus syrup.  Place the dried hibiscus flowers in a small heatproof bowl. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over the flowers and let steep for 10 – 15 minutes. Strain the flowers out.
  9. In a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine the hibiscus liquid and sugar. Bring to a low boil. Let simmer until slightly reduced to about a 1/3 cup. Remove from heat and let the syrup cool.
  10. Remove cake from oven and let the cake cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool.
  11. Using a toothpick or cake tester, poke small holes over the top of the cake. Brush the cake while still warm with the hibiscus syrup. This adds moisture and hibiscus flavor to
    the cake.
  12. Serve cake with a dusting of powdered sugar or a simple hibiscus glaze (combine hibiscus syrup with powdered sugar to make the glaze).


  1. Recipe adapted from Boy Who Bakes for Bake from Scratch
  2. If you do not have self-rising flour, use 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

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