Election day bake

Well today is Election day and I’ll be going to our local primary school to vote and serve at the cake stall/sausage sizzle.

This time, I didn’t do the cutesy-wutesy little panda cupcakes I slaved over in 2013… ain’t got time for that these days. I’m baking a date loaf, easy and quick and something my grandmother used to make a lot. So simple, but so delicious with melting butter.

Not my grandmother’s recipe. This is from The Commonsense Cookery Book, our school cooking class bible in year 7.

Election days are exciting days, and I like to mark the occasion by supplying a cake for the school cake stall. I didn’t bake for the last federal election in 2016, but I did bake cupcakes for the one before that between Rudd and Abbot in 2013…

I was inspired by some cupcakes I saw featured on Housegoeshome blog post 5 cake stall ideas (that will walk off the table)

The post featured cute panda cupcakes from baking website Bakerella

Except Bakerella’s looked liked this…

They are still one of the most popular posts on Bakerella, originally posted in April 2012.

Eleven-year-old Spider Boy George saw a picture of my version last night and said, “I remember those!” He was five when I baked them, and I’ve never attempted them since.

Let’s recap:

Bakerella’s panda cupcakes…

My panda cupcakes…

Nailed it! Don’tcha think?

Oh goodness, it’s already so late in the morning. I’ve got to get a date loaf in the oven before my cake stall shift later.

Will let you know how it turns out!

Will you be eating an election day sausage today? Or buying something from the cake stall? I’ll probably do both.

School Cake-stall Baking

I saw some really cute panda-face cupcakes on Housegoeshome,  so I decided to have a go for the recent Federal Election day cake-stall at school, because they were just so cute, and importantly, looked easy enough.

Still, when I was at the supermarket buying my ingredients, I bought a pack of ready-made cupcakes with brightly coloured icing, just in case I got lazy. I could always scrape the icing off and decorate them like pandas, right? But then I remembered we had to list the ingredients. How could I give the P&C a list with preservative numbers on it? So… I baked.

Small, but perfectly formed

Base applied, ready for panda makeover!

Base applied, ready for panda makeover!

Spider Boy and I mixed the dry ingredients, sending flour and cocoa everywhere. We mixed in the eggs, milk and hot water, exactly to the amount specified. But somehow, the mixture seemed too runny. I commented on this to Spider Boy, who said forlornly, “Oh no, it’s going to be another disaster!” dramatic much? Totally my fault.

“It’s all right,” I told him, “we’ll just add some more flour”, realising the powder spillage before might have had something to do with the runny mixture.

It all worked out in the end though – miraculously, the little cakes rose into perfectly formed little chocolate hills.

A face only a mother could love.

Facing facts: a face only a mother could love.

Big mumma

Big mumma


Mumma and Bubba

To decorate the cupcakes, the recipe called for “white confetti sprinkles” and a “black edible ink pen” for the eyes, but I couldn’t get those things in my little local supermarket so I used a bit of vanilla frosting with a dot of black writing icing that I had in the cupboard.

I also used dessicated coconut instead of “sanding sugar” (whatever that is) to create a furry panda effect. I thought dessicated coconut looked furrier than sugar, and anyway, did we really need the extra sugar on top?  (I know, I’m constantly surprising myself). The original recipe called for 1/3 cup of oil, but being a big fan of butter, I melted some of that instead.

In the end,  the cupcakes were probably the best I’ve ever made. Great chocolately taste, melt-in-the-mouth texture,  perfectly formed.  But because my vanilla frosting contained quite a bit of butter, it did have a slightly yellowish hue, giving my pandas a slightly jaundiced look, but still, they were cute and fluffy enough.

A long way from cupcake disaster indeed.


Now that’s what I call a six-pack

Click through to the recipe here.  Or to check out other panda-inspired food go to http://theverybesttop10.com/2013/09/13/panda-inspired-foods/

Did you have any Election day baking success?

The cookies-and-cream cake of the subconscious mind

My diet detour

My diet detour

Being a Monday, I had decided yet again that I really needed to get my diet , healthy eating lifestyle back on track, as it’s really veered off course the last…oh, seven years or so. “That’s it!” I said, “I’m sick of this! Diet starts now!” I decided I would just have soup for dinner every night during the week. Soup, NO bread, followed by two dates with a cup of tea if I was still hungry later in the evening.

I threw cans of soup, tuna (for lunch) and fresh vegetables into my trolley for my healthy new regime. But since I last went into my local supermarket, they have had a redesign. More shelf space. And what do you think is on those extra shelves? MORE fresh baked goods. I’m talking about “artisan” breads in brown paper packages, soft cookies filled with chunks of white chocolate and macadamia nut, chocolate cupcakes with a Mr.Whippy style swirl of cookies-and-cream frosting on top. And don’t even get me started on the chilled cabinet with it’s lemon tarts, tiramisu and triple-layer chocolate mousse cakes. What are you doing to me, Supermarket?!

I decided to NOT put any of those baked goods in my trolley. But just as I was about to hit the checkout, I caved. I turned back. One packet of cup cakes won’t hurt, right? There’s four cakes in there, but I can freeze them, for later. It’s not like I have to eat them all at once,” I reasoned. So I went back and got them, and felt instant calm. Putting the cakes in the trolley was a salve to the mild anxiety I was feeling at missing out on them.

Once I’d arrived home with the shopping and started unpacking, I realised I’d left a bag of groceries at the checkout. The bag with the veggies, tuna and soup in it. But I had the bag with the cupcakes, clutched in my fat little hand. How’s that for convenient?


This was also in my shopping bag. Nice to have one with a cup of tea. Makes boring tasks less boring.


Look, it’s a health cookie, OK? Oats, raisins – it’s all good. Probably.


They were on sale. $5. Down down, prices were down.