Making it proved a drama from the start as I needed to double the recipe. Big quantities. That is nearly one and a half kilos of chocolate, 16 eggs, and 6 cups of icing sugar, not to mention the butter! Ooh! Let's not count calories! I also needed to drive miles to borrow a cake pan large enough from my sister, only to realise my oven wasn't big enough when the time came to put it in. And what happened to my lovely big cake at the birthday venue? The serving staff decided to cut it up before bringing it out to sing Happy Birthday. Hence, the grid. The birthday boy (man) called it an artwork. A curator said it looked like an Imants Tillers (one of my favourite Australian artists). That did console me. Anyway, I suggest you try this recipe. Trust me. It is worth it.
It is called:
SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE CAKE
Yes, I admit to being frugal when it comes to food. Being raised in a post-war period, our mamma was taught to make the most of what was available. I see nothing wrong with this. In fact, in an age of high consumption and even higher waste, I think we should all try to be more frugal when and where we can. Take muffins, for instance. So easy to make a batch using ingredients that are already in the pantry or fridge. Fruit that is over ripe (but not rotten) and milk that has reached its use-by date are actually great to use. (There is a very scientific reason for this, but I will not go into it here.) This batch was made with pears (too soft for my liking), milk (past the date) and other quality ingredients such as chocolate and flaked almonds.
All were gobbled up with no complaints.
Well, the last apple, actually. God only knows how this one failed to grab the attention of the ravenous birds. I suspect it was because it was nestled between the net and the post. Now that the net has been removed, I am sure it won't make it to the weekend. I'm prepared to bet on that one.
This is one of my go-to recipes when I need to make a cake in a hurry, particularly if I am visiting friends and am in charge of dessert. I promise it will never fail to impress. It is the recipe for the first cheesecake I ever tasted, baked by my mother’s sister, zi’ Anna (auntie Anna). Whenever we were invited to my aunt’s I would look forward to this being one of the many sweets we would be offered. She was given the recipe by a Jewish neighbour of hers back in the 1960's. My aunt is an amazing cook, and it’s no wonder her son, who trained as a science teacher, decided instead to become a chef and opened his own restaurant.
I have copied this recipe from my mother’s book. It came with no instructions so I will tell you what I do.
Connecting with nature is vital to our mental and emotional health argues Richard Louv, whom I recently heard interviewed on Radio National. He coined the term "nature deficit disorder" and talks about the importance for children especially to play outdoors and get to know the natural world. Witnessing the abundant wildlife on our property always brings a smile to my face. The day I took this photo in the vegetable garden I also saw two tiny frogs, loads of birds, rabbits and wallabies. Ok - I do sometimes curse the rabbits and wallabies.....
When I am not busy sewing down at our island retreat, I love spending time in my organic edible garden or in the kitchen.