Sunday, 31 August 2014

Orange, choc chip and hemp seed cake and a rally

It has been a busy weekend of catching up with friends, marching and baking.  It was sunny enough for Sylvia to play in a friend's blow up pool yesterday and to make light work of marching against the government's budget cuts today.  When we got home I made a cake that I had been planning in my head since I bought blood oranges last weekend.  With Vegan MoFo starting tomorrow, I decided on a vegan cake.  It was crumby and yummy, albeit not quite what I had envisioned.

We went on a March in August rally today.  Speeches and placards raised a broad spectrum of discontent with the government.  Refugees, education, welfare, climate change, racism, live exports, the media, gender, health care, transport infrastructure and sexuality.  We saw a few familiar faces, bought badges, signed petitions, cheered the speeches and walked and walked.  Afterwards we had churros and chocolate at San Churro.

With sunny weather, wearing unfamiliar summer shoes meant I was rather footsore by the end of the day and happy to get home.  With Sylvia in the bath, I set about making an orange, choc chip and hemp seed cake.  It started as a raspberry and orange cake with coconut crumble, which I found in Emma Rose's Have your cake cookbook.  By the time I had finished with it, she probably would not recognise the recipe.

Perhaps it is the thought of Vegan MoFo that had me ditching honey and eggs in favour of maple syrup and linseeds (or flax seeds).  I had some vegan choc chips so used these instead of raspberries.  And I threw in some hemp seeds because they were there.

The cake was good but not great.  It was quite crumbly rather than being moist and dense.  The orange flavour was there but not quite as prominent as I had hoped.  Nor was the colour of the blood oranges in evidence in the final cake.  And the choc chips were like choc specks.  The maple syrup was far less sweet than honey would have been.  Despite all these quibbles, it was full of flavour and texture and tasted lovely with a dollop of vanilla yoghurt.  I think I would love it with a chocolate sauce.

So the lesson of the post is not to experiment with recipes after a long day of rabble rousing.  I got confused about how much flour I had put in the crumble mixture - was it one third or two thirds of a cup?  Even worse was my discovery that I had totally miscalculated the conversion of the tin size in the recipe to one of mine.

However it does feel good to have cake at the end of a long day and to have cake in the house to start the week tomorrow.  When I shall see you for the start of Vegan MoFo, with perhaps the silliest theme I could have come up with. The Letter S.  More about that soon.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Sourdough Basics 103: Baking a loaf of bread
Two years ago: WW Experiments with Vegan Cheese
Three years ago: Coconut brittle, leftovers and a week of eats
Four years ago: Banana buttermilk muffins
Five years ago: Carrot Cake and the Lost Sock
Six years ago: Shepherd’s Pie Traditions
Seven years ago: Collingwood children’s farm – peppercorn trees and part time vegetarians

Orange, choc chip and hemp seed cake - work in progress
Heavily adapted from Have your cake by Emma Rose

2 tbsp flax seeds (linseeds)
6 tbsp water
3/4 cup rice bran oil
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp finely grated orange rind
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
1 3/4 cups wholemeal flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup orange juice
1 scant cup choc chips
1/2 cup hemp seeds

1/3 cup wholemeal flour, or more
1/3 cup dessicated coconut
1/4 cup rice bran oil
1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup

Mix flax seeds and water in large mixing bowl.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 180 C.  Grease and line a cake tin (recipe said 18cm square tin, I used 20cm cake tin - too small, but in future would use 22cm round tin).

Add oil, maple syrup, and orange rind to flax mixture and whisk lightly or stir vigorously.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Spoon into prepared tin.  Mix crumble ingredients to make crumbly mixture.  (I think I had to add more flour).  Scatter over cake mixture.

Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes.  (Mine took 1 hour 15 minutes in a 20cm round tin.)  Rest in tin for 5 to 15 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.  Great served with cream or yoghurt or other sauce (such as chocolate?).

On the Stereo:
The Captain: Kasey Chambers


  1. What a delicious sounding cake (you shameless agitator you!) :) I only heard that phrase for the first time last Sunday while watching The Village on the BBC. A woman was being called an agitator because she was standing up for her political values. I don't know if they listen.... but we can hope. Big changes are coming here in Scotland and I still haven't decided what to vote, if I will vote at all! (Love your new banner logo too!)

    1. Thanks Elizabeth - the badge amused me - we bought it for sylvia - she just wanted the rainbow - and we were told that was the child-friendly slogan - there was another rainbow badge with an angrier slogan :-) I am finding democracy frustrating at the moment but I think this was an opportunity to show I care. Good luck with the referendum - don't you wish you had a crystal ball to see the future and know if you want to influence it.

  2. I do find oranges quite challenging to bake with. The flavour is never as strong as I expect, and neither is the colour! What a shame your bright blood orange tones didn't come through, but it still sounds like a good cake - full of things I like too. Well done on your marching efforts as well. I hope it gets people thinking.

    1. Thanks Kari - I actually thought of your orange cake experiences when I made this - I looked at 1 tsp of orange zest and wondered if it was enough - after I had made the cake I decided it wasn't. I had also had great vision of blood coloured cake so the colour was disappointing but I was too tired to do much to fix it.

  3. Well done you for going on that rally - nothing will ever change unless we speak up, remember we are many, they are few! On a lighter note your cake looks lovely and you certainly deserve it.

    1. Thanks Lorna - I like your pithy maxim. It is so easy to feel powerless but I think all the small things we do add up.

  4. Hi Johanna!
    I'm sorry you weren't happy with the cake. Perhaps it isbecause of those aching feet. Peppermint usually works for me, lol...I haven't been able to join everyone and their love of orange and chocolate. However, I must say, the ingredients in your cake sure do sound health worthy:)

    Thanks so much for sharing, Johanna...

    1. Thanks Louise - perhaps I should have found some foot cream instead of cake - ha ha! I probably should have waited til I had more energy but that day never seems to come :-) And I think you would at least appreciate that the chocolate flavour is quite muted. However I wouldn't say I wasn't happy with the cake - it is lovely with vanilla yoghurt - just not what I hoped it would be. (Am always happy with food as long as it is not so bad I have to chuck it in the bin)

  5. Even though you weren't happy with the cake, I think it looks pretty good and it certainly has a lot of ingredients to give it great flavour. That political march certainly involved a lot of causes!

    1. I actually think a little cinnamon would have just given the flavour a boost but it is a lovely cake and we are still enjoying it - it was amazing how many causes were on display at the march - and the long list of speeches reflected this

  6. I'd still eat all the cake :) I missed out on the march yesterday but was glad the weather was so fantastic for it!

    1. Thanks Veganopoulous - the weather was great for the march - unlike the last couple of days which have been freezing and wet with not enough sun :-( And I might have eaten more cake if we had not stopped for churros and chocolate on the way home :-)

  7. Shame about the flavour and colour of the blood oranges. I am in love with blood oranges - it's so nice to see them at all the farmer's markets. So delicious!

    1. Thanks Caeli - it was a shame about the colour of blood oranges - I think the zest from a large orange made about 1 tsp of zest which seemed very little - it does have a nice subtle orange flavour but not quite as I had hoped. We have enjoyed juicing some of the blood oranges - the colour is great

  8. Your cake looks great - I think it was a worthwhile experiment.

  9. haha my kind of cake - even if it was a bit of a rubble!
    The churros at San Churro's are vegan!!!! :D Though I've never actually tried them because they're deep fried!
    Not that I'm here to get into a political debate but I thought I'd just share a bit about what I think about government in general. I think people don't realise that 'being' in government is a lot harder than it looks and its not so easy to just change things! Most politicians really do go into it hoping to do the best, and each person's opinion of what is best is going to greatly differ. There will always be people who are dis-satified with the government regardless of which side is in! lol :-)

    1. Thanks Sandy - I am not vegan and didn't check about the churros - have wondered if they are vegan having had them twice lately but was not the one buying either time and I am a bit shy about asking if food is vegan.

      RE your thoughts on government I totally agree about politicians having good intentions and about there always being disagreement about the best way to govern. I am currently reading Tony Blair's autobiography and his insight on this is really interesting. However I have read about a few former governments lately (both labour and liberal) that I have admired so much more than ours and I was interested in Tony Blair's discussion about the vested interests that make policy-making so hard. Having said all of that, I think it is healthy to be able to demonstrate in public in a peaceful way as it does get very frustrating sometimes to live in a democracy and not feel like we have any say.

    2. I'll have to check out his book - it sounds like it would be a great read!

      hehe yep I hear you re asking about food, I'm a bit shy too & would just rather not eat than ask most of the times. My hubby is always brave enough to ask though (very handy)!!!


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