Ben and I have well and truly settled into our new home. It’s a treat to have such light and space, to be warm and comfortable, to really feel like your home is home.
Over this past month I’ve unpacked a whole lotta boxes. Books, plates and glasses have gone to the op shop, some have been stored in the garage, just in case. Ben has been forced to use or lose his box full of unopened black socks (seriously…) and I’ve finally gotten into my styling groove. Rather than have all of my pretty bowls and jugs and tins on display in some disordered vintage shrine, most are stored while a few get to sit out and say “hey”. This way I do not, on the surface, appear to be the crazy bowl lady we all know I am.
Our home feels organised, succinct. I like it. So let’s continue this way and I’ll dot point a few of my present thoughts. And at the end, a cake recipe. How neat.
♥ In anticipation of my sure inability to handle the end of Mad Men, Ben and I are starting to watch The Sopranos. We’re one episode in and it feels right. We ate bolognaise and drank red wine whilst viewing last Sunday, and I am delighted at the prospect of this becoming a regular event.
♥ Last week, sitting in the car outside the library with a looming return deadline (I already checked, someone was waiting and I couldn’t extend the borrow), I furiously finished The Witness Wore Red. I then googled all I could because, damn, that stuff really happened. I got home at 6:30pm and Ben was waiting outside (oops) because we only have one set of keys (oops). I am now diving into The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt. Side note, isn’t Donna Tartt” a fabulous name? She sounds feisty.
♥ Today is our 13 year anniversary. 13 years ago I received a text message asking if I wanted to “officially be boyfriend and girlfriend”. O, I am slain by how sweet we were. During the house moving process we found a notebook we had shared during the first six months we were dating, aka going to the movies and house “gatherings” (not parties, mum and dad, gatherings).Our sixteen year old selves would pass this book back and forth, adding photographs and declaring our love. The book lasted for six months, during which I attempted to move Ben’s affection away from Jennifer Love Hewitt towards Britney Spears, and he scribed Incubus lyrics. I cringed at my use of “baby” when referring to Ben. I was trying it on for size, but it’s never felt natural for me to call Ben “babe”. I’ve never been able to do that. I think I also called him “sexy”. Oh, boy… Anyway, 13 years ago today we became official. Happy Anniversary, sweets. Tonight I’m taking you out for dinner.
♥ Last weekend I made us a chocolate coconut cake, which was based on my cherry ripe coconut fudge cake recipe. It was rather scrumptious so I thought I might share it here. This cake is made with coconut flour, an ingredient I know many people don’t have on hand but I’ve enjoyed playing with in my kitchen. Though after all this experimenting I’m well and truly out of coconut flour and will likely stick to almond meal, which I’d be keen on using in this recipe one day (though I’d reduce the liquid content slightly), just from a cost point of view. Regardless, here is my chocolate coconut cake recipe if you do happen to have a bag of it in your pantry. I topped our slices with creme fraiche and a sprinkle of cacao and coconut. Ben always tells me I add too much creme fraiche/olive oil/everything to whatever I’m serving. This time I got in before he could suggest moderation. 13 years of creme fraiche domination deserves an extra dollop of creme fraiche, don’t you think?
Chocolate Coconut Cake
Adapted from my cherry ripe coconut fudge cake recipe.
100g unrefined Coconut Oil, in its solid form.
100g Dark cooking Chocolate* (at least 70% cocoa)
1 cup Coconut Flour (from health food stores)
3 tablespoons Raw Cocoa Powder
1/3 cup organic* Shredded Coconut
1 and 1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup runny Honey
50ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup quality Jam (I used a rich mixed berry variety)
1/2 cup Milk
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
* I say “cooking chocolate” because they tend to be sweeter than your regular eating chocolate, so bear this in mind when adding sweetener (consider how sweet your chocolate is). Real talk, I tend to grab whatever is on sale when baking, but for eating I love Green & Blacks Organic or Anvers Fortunato No.4 dark varieties.
** I say organic here as the quality coconut goods (desiccated, shredded, flakes etc) are preservative and sweetener free, and really they’re a completely different product to the regular stuff. A worthy splurge in my opinion, I get mine from Bulk Wholefoods.
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line a 22cm round springform cake tin with baking paper.
2. Over a double boiler, melt the coconut oil and chocolate, stirring often until melted. Allow to cool.
3. Sift the coconut flour, cacao, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the shredded coconut and stir to combine.
4. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the eggs vigorously. Add the vanilla, milk, honey and olive oil, stirring to combine.
5. Add the cooled, melted coconut oil/chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients and briefly fold through. Add the egg mixture and fold until all the flour is incorporated. Leave for a minute or so to allow the mixture to thicken, then add the jam and fold once more to ensure there are no lumps.
6. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and then place in the oven and cook for 18-23 minutes. I check this cake at about 15 minutes but sometimes it takes over 20 minutes until the centre is cooked. The cake will be done when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean and the top is not wobbly to touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes in the tin, before removing the tin and baking paper, and allowing the cake to cool completely on a wire rack.
7. When completely cool, frost, slice and serve your cake. If wrapping individual slices in the freezer do not add the frosting.