28 September 2017

Thank you! and cakes

It's a constant battle here at the moment keeping the water up to our tube stock in the front garden and the vegetables and fruit out the back.  I've just come in from the garden where I watered plants for over an hour and fought off another bush turkey. I'm hot and worn out. I've parked myself at my computer with iced water and the fan going, so I thought I'd do a short extra post.

I'm happy I have this chance to thank you for the wonderful response to my post yesterday about Kerry's new shop.  Last night after work he checked his Instagram and was really delighted to see all the new followers.  He messaged me and asked me to send a "big thank u" to everyone who followed him and to all those who sent good wishes in the comments here.  

There is this huge ever-evolving, indistinct and mostly unknown entity usually called a "readership" who visit here every minute of every day. I know what to expect from you now - and that is support, love and encouragement. Kerry however, is new to this and I think he was surprised - a very nice surprised.  So thank you from both of us because you've helped Kerry build a part of his business that is notoriously difficult.


Anna in Sussex asked for the recipe for the chocolate cake I made for Hanno's birthday. We have a vegan in the family so it was made with no butter, eggs, honey or milk, but it was still fabulous.  If you've never make anything vegan before, this is a good starter recipe.  This cake is best eaten the day of baking or the following day. I didn't ice the cake and it has a tendency to dry out without frosting or icing.  Shane made a vegan cake too and he iced his. When he comes over next time I'll ask him for the icing recipe and pass that on too. All I know at the moment is that is contained coconut oil.
  • 1 ½ cups plain /all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder - I used unsweetened Dutch cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb/baking soda
  • 1 ¼ cups hot water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil - I used sunflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

This is one of those easy cake mixes that is divided into dry and wet ingredients. So sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and bicarb/baking soda in a large bowl.  Pour the water, vanilla, oil and vinegar into a jug and mix together.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet. Mix together but do not over mix - as soon as the ingredients have combined, stop.  Pour the batter into a greased 20 cm/8 inch round cake tin, and place in the oven for about 30 - 35 minutes.  The cake will be ready when you can smell baked cake and a toothpick poked into the centre comes out clean.

I didn't take a photo of Hanno's birthday cake but I did take a photo of the blood orange cake I made this week. The recipe is the same as my whole orange cake recipe already on the blog. I added the candied orange slices and syrup I wrote about a few days ago to the top of each piece as I was serving it.  Absolutely delicious and something I'll add to my seasonal recipes so we can have it every year when the blood oranges are in season. And it used up the entire orange instead of having the waste skin.

BTW, I read that there are now blood oranges you can grow in hotter areas so I'm seeing if I can sprout the seeds I took from these oranges. I'll let you know how that goes.

I hope you have a lovely day. 


  1. Rhonda I can imagine you being hot in this heat. It isn't too bad here although it is hot if you are in the sun. Next week should be back to normal apparently but we badly need rain soon. I hope you get your water tanks filled up soon.

  2. Hi Rhonda, Love that photo of your divine orange cake. It sounds and looks delicious. I grow blood oranges here in Southern California, and it is also very, very hot. They're wonderful trees. I hope you can get one. That sounds kind of scary with the wild turkey. Glad to hear Kerry got so many followers. What you said is true.

  3. Vegan recipes are so great. On the weekend I didn't have any eggs handy so I looked up a vegan strawberry muffin recipe. They are probably the best muffins I have ever made! I make vegan banana muffins all the time, none of the ingredients are perishable so they are so easy to whip up.

    We grow blood oranges up on the range to great success. They don't get the really red colour but are still extremely delicious. My partners work are planting a whole orchard of them!

  4. Your blood orange cake looks so good and the candied slices and syrup go well. Reminds me of a pudding with the syrup.

  5. I don't know if it will help, but we've got an Italian bread recipe that we really like (not vegan, has Parmesan cheese in it) but it also dries out very fast. I'm experimenting with adding extra butter in small increments to see if it helps. You might try adding just a bit more oil to see if it helps with the drying out. I've done that with some other things, and it does seem to help.

  6. I'm a long way from Aussie and I can smell the cake. Coffee is on

  7. Blood orange cake looks lovely. Am very interested in how the seeds go.

  8. Hi Rhonda. Ive made your whole orange cake over the weekend with my little helper (our 2 year old grandson who loves cooking) and it was delicious. I love the fact that we can use the whole orange.
    I wonder if you would consider putting a cookbook together with all your recipes. I know you included some recipes into your books already but i think it would be lovely to have them all in one cookbook.
    Food for thought? (Pardon the punt)

    1. A lot of readers have asked for a cook book but I don't have it in me at the moment. I don't want to publish any more commercial books but I may string together an ebook one day. Who knows.

  9. Thanks for the chocolate cake recipe Rhonda. There are times when a quick cake like that with handy ingredients is very useful, and I must try those candied orange slices sometime. They look so professional and delicious. Have a great weekend. Pauline.

  10. Watering has become a real difficulty hasn't it. I have decided to remove all my tomatoes this weekend, except the cherry one and clean out a lot of the other vegetables that are coming to an end and put the garden 'to bed' until next year when it cools down a little.
    Happy belated birthday to Hanno.
    Cheers Lyndie

  11. Rhonda, I hear you regarding the seemingly endless cycle of watering plants just to save them from desiccation.
    Being on rain water tanks, I have a 150lt blue drum that the day's grey water goes into.
    So each morning I bucket that onto the most precious plants. Its all there is & it barely keeps them alive. I've given up trying to fix the pH!
    I'm on the western side of the highway in the hills a little north of Pomona & we haven't had rain for months (since ex-cyclone Debbie).
    Here's hoping for some rain before a fire comes.
    This morning I got up early to do the grey water waltz before the day got hot. It's almost 40C out there now at 11.45am so I too am parked infront of the pc with ceiling fan on. I wont go back out today until horse feeding time at dusk.

    1. I visit your area fairly frequently, Clissa, because we have family near there. I gave up on some of our plants and pulled our the large tomatoes, corn and sprouting broccoli but I hope to keep the rest going. Good luck with yours. Hopefully we get some rain on Sunday and next week. Fingers crossed.

  12. All your recipes are in your books so one only has to buy at least the first one, Down To Earth. Then you get the bonus of lots of other information as well. They are all one needs really.


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