Monday, May 30, 2011


I don't have any photographic evidence, it all got consumed. EVERYONE who ate this cake complimented me on it, which is rare. Gluten free it was amazing. And huge. The only reason it all went so quick was that I had the neighbours over in the morning and the men's bible study at our place that night. YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS CAKE. It is made like muffins, add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir to combine. I think it will probably freeze well too. I will have to test that next time I make it :)


Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white rice flour

  • 1/2 cup sweet rice flour

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch

  • 2 cups castor sugar

  • 1 teaspoon bicarb soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 230g butter

  • 5 tablespoons cocoa

  • 1 cup boiling water

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a large baking tray or lamington tray with baking paper. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and allow mixture to cook for 3 minutes. Stir in boiling water and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a minute or so.

Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir to combine with a balloon whisk. Add buttermilk, eggs and vanilla, mix until a batter consistency. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until cake springs back to the touch. Pour icing over warm cake and cool in pan.

For the Icing:

  • 110g butter

  • 5 tablespoons cocoa

  • 3 1/2 cups icing sugar

  • 6 tablespoons milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter in a saucepan, add cocoa. Then add the sugar, milk and vanilla and stir over low heat until smooth and shiny. Pour over warm cake.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Yes, it sounds presumptuous, but I have been giving this recipe out for years as everyone who eats them asks for the recipe. It has ended up all over the world as it's shared with friends and family. So it IS world famous! And easy to make, which is always a bonus.
When you need a chocolate fix there's nothing better. Seriously.

125g butter
1 1/2 cups castor sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup flour [gluten free or wheat, depending who you're baking for]
1 teaspoon baking powder
250g chocolate chips [I always use dark, but use whatever you prefer]

Melt butter in a medium saucepan or microwave jug. Stir in sugar, cocoa, salt, eggs and vanilla, mixing well.

Stir through flour and baking powder. Stir through chocolate chips/pieces. The mixture will be quite stiff. Line an 18 x 28cm slice tin with baking paper. Spread brownie mixture evenly in tin.

Bake in a moderate oven [180C] for 25-30 minutes. Brownies will seem quite soft, but will firm on cooling. Leave in tin to cool completely [I put it into the fridge in the tin and cut it later - you get neater cuts when it's less gooey]. Cut into squares.
Store in refrigerator.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Miss 4's birthday cakes

Here are the two cakes I made in the last 24 hours for Miss 4's birthday. The swimming pool was for her tea party with two friends from church. The koala was for her family dinner celebration. Just as I'd finished cutting the koala shape she asked me if I'd put a baby on the koala's back [I thought you'd better know in case you thought I was confused about koala anatomy].

I always use wacky cake as my base for kid's birthday cakes, because you often need a double or triple batch and they really only eat the icing anyway, which is expensive if you need lots of eggs and butter in your gluten free cake recipe. Wacky cake holds it's shape well when you cut it out, and if you make it chocolate tastes pretty good gluten free.

Now that I'm through the last 6 weeks of "3 kids' birthdays plus various other crazy life events" I will get back into some sort of routine and try to find photos of Miss 6 and Miss 8's cakes. When I find them I will post them here. If only posting photos here meant I was scrapbooking them as well. Sigh.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Update on our Australian Native Garden

A year ago this week we planted an Australian native garden. Just the other day I was commenting to Mr E that I was frustrated at how little it has grown. We have had a VERY wet season [including flooding, though thankfully not our property] so it has not been the best time for growth, especially for natives like grevilleas that don't like wet feet.

So I thought I'd look back at last year's post where I uploaded photos of our garden when it was new. I was totally flabbergasted at the amount of growth that has taken place:

At the moment our 6-seater outdoor table is on the paved area so we can finish off the new patio near the house. So the back corner looks more cluttered. We also have a low wall in front of the garden to separate it from the turf [yes, we have grass instead of mud now as well - very exciting]. The wall is about 30cm high so that gives you an idea of scale. We have harvested lemon myrtle leaves and made tea, pancakes, shortbread, and added them to roast chicken. Totally delicious.

Ironically, the only plant we lost with all the water was our swamp lily which rotted away! We have added a couple of baby gymea lilies, a couple of aniseed myrtles, a couple of low-growing eucalypts, and another grevillea recently to fill in the gaps that were starting to become apparent. Perhaps it wasn't such a poor growing season after all?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Ages ago we bought this colorbond raised garden bed from Bunnings for the kids. We FINALLY put it together just before Easter, and the kids all helped to layer it with the required newspaper, manure, lucerne hay etc.

Mr E put in irrigation [we're hopeless at remembering to water plants, which is why nothing except natives have ever survived for us] then the kids chose a quadrant each and planted their area with seeds like rainbow chard, purple carrots, beans, and flowers.

In the photo above you'll see a plastic box sitting in the garden and one lonely plant:

This is a single strawberry plant that I popped in about 2 weeks ago when we realised there were no seeds left and there would be no harvest for the girls. The reason for the lack of seeds:

Now we use the plastic box to protect our one lonely plant whenever we let the chickens out. And Mr E is going to make a chicken wire screen or dome for the garden bed before we plant anything else in there!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I have a new obsession: muffins. I got sick of cupcakes, brownies, chocolate marble slice, fruit cake, and yummy layer slice [my standard baking I seem to do in a month].

Those of you who know me outside of cyberspace will know that I only eat dark chocolate. I have been known to remark that putting milk into chocolate just removes space that could be taken up by more "pure" chocolate. And I never let white chocolate rubbish pass my lips!

Newsflash! I have found a reason to eat white chocolate: raspberries. I tried these muffins with regular wheat flour last week for bible study and they worked really well. Then I had to try to convert the recipe to gluten-free.

The result is delicious.


2 cups gluten free flour [either blended yourself or a commercial one]

2 teaspoons baking powder

2/3 cup caster sugar

180g block white chocolate, roughly cut into small squares

1 egg

3/4 cup buttermilk

125g canola oil [you can substitute melted butter, I was just too lazy to melt]

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup frozen raspberries [don't defrost]

Fill a 12-hole muffin pan with muffin papers. Preheat oven to 190C.

Combine dry ingredients [including chocolate and frozen berries] in one bowl.

Combine wet ingredients in another bowl.

Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry, until just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX or they won't rise as much and will be tough.

Spoon into muffin papers and bake for 20mins.

Turn onto wire rack to cool.

I then decided there was only one way to improve them: make them dark!!

I added 1/4 cup cocoa to the dry ingredients and substitute dark chocolate for the white.

Go make some muffins!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Today has been a lovely day. I have started to teach some of my friends to sew, and I spent the morning making tote bags with them. I actually had one made up and another in pieces when we began. I hadn't expected the girls to get beyond cutting out but fortunately I'd asked them to bring sewing machines as they all got sewing quite quickly. They did so well I had time to put together the second bag and cut out a third. I had intended to leave the butterfly bag and hearts bag in different stages of construction so I could demonstrate the next stages of construction at our next lesson, but I was having so much fun that when they left I quickly finished the bags off!!

There are already a myriad of tote bag tutorials on the internet so I'm not going to post mine here. It takes less than a metre of fabric [the remainder of the metre the girls needed is for our next project]. I guess my next sewing project will be to cut out ANOTHER tote and remain self-controlled enough to NOT FINISH IT so I can use it as a demo.

It's been great to get the machine out again... I've missed Bertha [yes, I named my machine]. Now if I can just get my sewing room furniture sorted, I'll be able to leave Bertha out and visit with her any time I please!

Saturday, May 7, 2011


I bake. A lot. More than I probably would but because two of my girls are coeliac I have to. Just for our family of 6 and the two bible study groups we host, I have to bake a 2-3 things a week. Usually it's just my standard easy and quick things like fruit cake, brownies, a slice. Occasionally I bake WITH my kids, which always takes three times as long as you expect AND then there's the clean-up. It's enough to put me off baking at all!

One day recently Miss 3 wanted to bake but I didn't want the mess so we compromised and made giant freckes:

Just melted chocolate poured into patty papers, and then she sprinkled the 100's and 1000's over the top. Pop them in the fridge and eat them when set. Yes, it was messy as 100's and 1000's go everywhere, but it was fun, she could do it all, and the clean up was still minimal.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My new sewing & craft room - BEFORE

Here are some "before" shots of my new sewing/craft room. I had hoped to have it furnished and in use by now, but that wasn't to be. Hopefully progress will happen steadily from now: my shelves are in the garage ready to put together, then I have the old change table to paint and work surfaces to build [with Mr E's help... if I can drag him away from the cubby house he's building]. I am nearly finished with tradesmen now. Just a few days left and the house will be mine again.

Now to get our things out of the shed, organise cupboards, and get my craft room built!!!