Coconut Chai Cake

IMG_2094When we were very young, our parents would take us exploring in our cabin cruiser, “The Hurricane” up through Howe Sound, and further up along the Sunshine Coast towards Texada Island. While I never remember staying overnight on the boat, we did do some very long day trips. We’d sit in a line along the bench at the stern of the boat, with lifejackets rubbing our chins, while the sun and wind toasted us. Dad would sit on a high seat, steering, sometimes allowing one of us to help him. There was a small cabin, with counters, a table & bench seating. It most likely converted into a bed if needed. Mom would have packed our very reliable picnic basket with egg sandwiches, some sort of cake, and cookies, and lemonade. At some point, tins of Shasta sodas usurped the bottles of lemonade.

We’d spend all day doing long runs out in the sea, or poking from inlet to inlet, getting off the boat to explore. Needing to swim into shore, or be lifted by Dad.

On a recent road trip up to Bowser, and lots of tucking into the beach all along the way, north of Parksville, we stood on the beach and looked all the way from just south of Baynes Sound towards Vancouver. With the calm waters, and the hint of summer in the air, I was transplanted back to that bench at the stern of the boat, feeling the sense of adventure we always felt when leaving the dock, and very much felt the presence of our parents. Those wonderful boat trips, although early in our lives, imprinted the need to be near the ocean in all of us.

This is a delightful snacking cake that would be perfect for a day on a boat, or a picnic. Originally from BBC Good Food, I have tweaked it a bit, a delicious idea to put the wonderful flavours of Chai into a cake. Enjoy! Continue reading

Mixed Baking Spice

IMG_6641 A spoonful of this, and a spoonful of that ~ usually we add many different spices to a baking recipe.  However, there are lots of times that adding a premixed spoonful will give you great results, with a bit of mystery that you wouldn’t get by mixing in two or three.  Speculoos/Speculaas cookies and biscuits are identified by a spice mix.  This same mix has moved its way into pastes and spreads.

This one is similar, and it can be used in any baking with apples and pears, beautifully, or anywhere you might use a pumpkin spice mix. I use it in bread puddings, fillings for sweet rolls, and in cookies.

The recipe doesn’t make too much, so it keeps fresh.  Give it a try the next time you go to grab a clatter of spices.  Continue reading

Molasses Crinkles

IMG_4775The summer is winding down.  Even though the days are still warm, the sun has dropped out of sight by 8PM, and the nights are cold.  I refuse to say it’s fall, as there’s technically still a week or so of summer left.  However, the fragrance of cooked spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger encourage me to think of the arrival of fall and the coziness that comes with it.

These were one of the first cookies I baked unassisted as a child.  I can well remember rolling the balls of dough in sugar and placing them in lines on the cookie sheets, carefully putting drops of water onto the sugared top of the unbaked cookies.  This “crinkles” their tops, and creates a bit of crunch. Continue reading