Cake Baking after Power Cut

I experienced something great. No it wasn’t love in Africa, but it was something which reminds me of home. I had my first power outage while with mom. Now I know that doesn’t seem all that interesting or wonderful, but I love them. Must be due to the fact that we had them so frequently when I was young. When we lived in Venezuela we experienced them so often that I learnt to enjoy them. Though the power outages were usually accompanied by a massive thunder storm which lit up the entire sky and this one however was done on a beautiful hot day.

Although there wasn’t the beauty of a storm to match the silence of everything around us, the power failure was grand. As mom and I walked Austin on our afternoon walk we noticed kids outside enjoying sports equipment, making use of their trampolines, or actually walking their dogs. In this day of age children no longer really have use for physical activity as their mind is predominately concerned with games and TV. When I grew up all I did was cycle or swim in the pool. (Though keep in mind that it is the tail end of winter in South Africa, so pools are too cold to enjoy now.) Today there seems to be less of that, though I have seen some mountain bikes laying on the grass of some neighbours lawns. That meaning boys are going around the neighbourhood to hang out with their friends and their mode of transport is their mountain bikes (similar to the ones I had growing up).

So while we still had sunlight I made a Greek salad that featured brown rice. It didn’t look all too appetizing, but it tasted wonderful! Especially so as mom and I sat with a kerosene lamp between us as a form of light. Very 1800’s, right? I loved it! After dinner mom and I sat in our living room and enjoyed the intimate serenity that came with reading under the flickering light of the lamp. It was just so peaceful. When are nights that peaceful anymore?

Anyway, this is what our night looked like:

Dinner under a lamp

The meal doesn’t look like much but if you are interested I got the recipe from here.

I was a little nervous that our power outage would last till the following day which it thankfully did not.  But the reason I was so nervous was that I was planning on baking a cake. Since moving to South Africa, I’ve began baking like a madwoman! But I thought with this cake we could bring it to a friend for tea. Plus if the cake was a hit I would make another one for our housekeeper. Last week I decided that I would make a cake for every Friday when we would see our maid. That way she could bring the cake home to her granddaughter and they could enjoy it together.

Lemon Zucchini Cake

Well guess what? My cake was a hit! It was a lemon zucchini cake and I got the recipe from here.


  • 2 cups (256g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (170g) canola oil
  • 1 1/3 cups (268g) sugar
  • 2 TB lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) buttermilk
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup (120ml) zucchini, grated

Glaze ingredients:

  • 1 cup (128g) powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon milk


  1. Mix flour, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Then add oil and sugar until well blended. Add lemon juice, buttermilk, lemon zest to this mixture and blend all together.

  3. Fold in zucchini until it is mixed well.

  4. Add dry mixture to the wet mixture and blend all together until well combined.

  5. Pour batter into greased 9×5 loaf pan.

  6. Bake at 350ᵒF (175ᵒC) for 40-45 minutes.

  7. While still warm, make glaze and spoon over the bread. Let the glaze set up before cutting and serving.

Tell me, does anyone use buttermilk for anything BUT baking?

I hate that when you buy buttermilk you have to always buy a large carton of it and whenever you use it for cake or other baked goods the remainder of it just gets chucked out. So instead of buying buttermilk for this cake I just used the vegan version of buttermilk. I know veganizing things can be a bit of a turn off to many, but when you already have the ingredients in your house why not utilize them? So for a vegan buttermilk you take a cup of non-dairy milk and mix it with one tablespoon of vinegar. You let the substance sit for about five minutes where it will curdle pretty much immediately. Then just halve the recipe and use half of the “buttermilk” for your cake. It looks gross but it is better to use ingredients you already have at home than to buy a carton of buttermilk that you will barely use, right?

Vegan "Buttermilk"

So since moving to Africa my mom and I have sort of taken up a hobby. That being bird watching. Okay well we didn’t really take up such a hobby, but we are very interested in the birds in our yard. Today alone we saw five different species of birds in our backyard. I did photograph one of the birds as he is large enough to see with my poor camera on my phone but the others were unable to be photographed. Pretty neat though, eh?

Meet the Glossy Ibis

Anyway, I hope you all love this cake as much as we did! Let me know if it is a success – with or without the buttermilk!

Happy baking!

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