When my daughter was in Grade 6 she embarked on her first school camp and I volunteered as a parent helper. This was to be a study camp focusing on the tropical rainforests of Far North Queensland. The camp site was quite a luxurious one complete with cabins, a dining verandah with gorgeous cathedral ceilings and a cosy meeting area with a fireplace. Yes, it does get quite cold in the mountains of the tropics. This beautiful “resort” is run by Catholic Education up in the lush rainforest of the Paluma Ranges where the students are able to walk into the rainforest to observe the rainforest floor and right up to the canopy. By night, the rainforest comes alive with glow worms and the sights and sounds of the creatures not heard in the day.
Of course, all this walking makes for a huge appetite. So, there amid the ancient trees and cool mountain air we were treated to a wonderful array of homebaked treats by the cook. Home made icecream, muffins, apple crumbles, salads, lasagna and hamburgers were all prepared on site from fresh good quality ingredients. The students didn’t realise how lucky they were – camp wasn’t always going to be like this.
The Cook was strict! Children were to eat everything on their plates – “What do you mean, you don’t like eggs?” And cleaning and washing up was done by groups of students – “Carefully now! Don’t chip the plates!”
My daughter, now 15, still fondly remembers that school camp as the “one with the best food, it’s all down hill from there.” I remember it because the Cook and I exchanged recipes. She gave me this excellent recipe for chocolate cake which contains Coca Cola. Apparently, Coca Cola chocolate cakes were popular in the 60’s complete with Coca Cola Icing. Actually, I’m no a big fan of the drink but it make a delicious, moist Chocolate cake. I have added a Coca Cola Icing that is smooth over the hot cake.
Coca Cola Chocolate Cake
2 cups plain flour
4 tablespoons cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Coca Cola
2 tablespoons rum
Preheat oven to 180C.
Grease and line 20 cm square cake tin.
Sift all dry ingredients together into a large bowl.
Melt butter and cool off a little. Carefully add coke to melted butter.
In medium bowl, beat eggs, vanilla, milk and rum until well mixed.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well until smooth. The batter will be thin.
Pour into prepared cake tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from the oven but do not turn out.
Coca Cola Icing ( adapted from here)
3 tablespoons Coca Cola
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cocoa.
Heat to boiling point butter, cocoa and Coca Cola. Add icing sugar and vanilla; stir to blend. Using a skewer make holes in the hot cake and pour the hot icing over it.