Thursday, May 17, 2012

Best melt and mix chocolate cake you'll ever eat

We had two birthdays recently, and a combined birthday party, so that meant a lot of cake making.
I know, I know, the hardship!

Mostly vanilla, for which I used this recipe, (I just left out the lemon juice and added vanilla) but one of them somewhere along the way was chocolate.

Now, I am all about ease when it comes to cake-making. If I can avoid having to beat butter and sugar together, I most surely will.
 Melt and mix is where it's at in my kitchen for birthday cake making.

So I give you the recipe I use for making the perfect melt and mix chocolate birthday cake.

It works well for any other occasion too, but it is perfect for birthday cake decorating because it's firm enough, it freezes well so you can make it ahead of time, it never sinks when baked and it makes a good quantity.
Oh, and it tastes really, really, really, really good.

(Don't kid yourself that this is healthy in any way though, I make an exception to healthy stuff for birthday cakes.)

(If you want to print this recipe, have a look on my side bar and follow the link with the chocolate cake picture. 
It will take you to my squidoo page where there is a print button at the bottom of the recipe.)


2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups white flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup of milk
100 grams melted butter (1/2 a cup)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup of boiling water

  • Heat your oven to up 180 Celsius or 375 Fahrenheit.
  • Line a 23cm square pan (9x9 inch)
  • Melt the butter in a small pan.
  • Into your electric mixer, put the eggs, milk and vanilla. Mix briefly.
  • Add your melted butter and mix well.
  • Mix together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder. Add this to the butter/egg/milk mixture and mix on medium for about half a minute.
  • Pour in the boiling water and mix on low until flour is incorporated and there are no lumps. (The batter will look thin.)
  • Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out cleanly.
  • If you are like me and your cakes break when you try to turn them out while still warm, leave your cake to cool in the pan.

VARIATION: You can pour the batter into two 9 inch round baking pans and bake for about 30-35 minutes.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

How to keep chickens out of your garden pots

Our chooks looove to jump into the potted trees and have a good scratch around. 
That's not so good for the roots as it can damage them but it also leaves them exposed to the elements, as the chooks seem to scratch the dirt over the side.

Actually, it's only the wyandottes, as the silkies can't get their feathery butts up there.

Here is Anakin Skywalker having a good old nosey at what I'm up to.

So I came up with this not-very-beautiful solution which seems to be working. I throw on any old, dried plants (that get tossed over the fence to the chooks when I'm gardening) and I've weighed it down with rocks and bits of brick.

This is a feijoa tree, I might put it in the ground round the front when the rest of those pittisporums come out.

Here's one of the boys' miniature cherry trees we gave them for Christmas, looking rather forlorn as it loses it leaves. But it didn't seem to like having it's roots messed with either. 

The chooks now don't bother getting up there much and can't access the dirt with their claws if they do. The little monkies have plenty of other dirt round to scratch about in.

Now, I just went to online to check out if daphne (the plant) is toxic. 
Somewhere in the back of mind I must have heard it is because when I sat and looked at this photo, something in me went uh-oh.

That daphne bush has been out the back for a few years now and it's a favourite spot for the chooks to hang out. They've now been here for nearly 5 months so it hasn't affected them, but they haven't been here when it's been flowering, which it's about to do.

Poop. I would hate to have to get rid of it but it seems like I may have to. I do love the smell and the one out the front has just recently inexplicably died. Well, it's looking more dead every day so I think it's on it's way out. 

The girls are still laying after a brief hiatus, only two of them though and I'm still not sure which two.

But have a look at this teeny, tiny egg we got the other day.
The big one of the left is a real size chook egg and the others are from our bantams.

See the teeny one? It's about 3 cm long. 

Got some winter veggies in the garden too, just waiting for it all to grow now....if it ever stops raining!

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