Thursday, June 9, 2011

Trapping the Sunshine

Winter is officially upon us here in Brisbane. Today I think the sun must have taken a look outside its bedroom window and decided not to even bother rising. Grey, craggy skies filled with clouds and a chill wind greeted me this morning as I walked to work.
But I was smiling the whole way.
Because I was carrying the baked form of sunshine!
I like to think that citrus fruits are nature's way of capturing the sun for us to enjoy through the days when there are no rays brave enough to break through the horizon.
A bounty of citrus fruits; limes, oranges, lemons and grapefruit, greeted me at the markets on Saturday and I can't resist the shiny green skin of a fresh lime and so these beauties welcomed me home all week.

A Lime and Toasted Coconut Yoghurt cake was just the right thing to add some sunshine to our day of grey. Think of this as winter's answer to the pina colada. A reminder of the tropics that we have left behind for another season, a little bit of comfort when the clouds don't shift all day.
Here is my version of trapped sunshine, bake it and share the sun with those you love!

Lime and Toasted Coconut Yoghurt Cake


1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 tbs finely grated lime zest
3 tbs fresh lime juice
1 tsp coconut essence
2 large eggs
1/2 cup natural yoghurt
1/4 cup dessicated coconut

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Butter and line an 8 inch round cake tin.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a mixer beat together butter, zest and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  4. Meanwhile spread coconut across a baking tray and roast in oven for about 5 minutes or until beginning to brown at the edges. Be careful not to burn (trust me on this one, it can happen quickly). Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  5. Add eggs to butter mixture one at a time, combining well after each addition. Beat in 3 tablespoons of lime juice and the coconut essence.
  6. Reduce speed to medium-low and beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with natural yoghurt, beginning and ending with flour.
  7. Gently fold in toasted coconut and then pour into cake tin.
  8. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
  9. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely before spreading with lime icing. 
Lime Icing
Mix together 3 tablespoons of lime juice and 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar. Spread over cooled cake. Top with more coconut if desired.

The only picture of the cake prior to being devoured.
More ways to share the sunshine...
I talked to her yesterday; finally opened my mouth and said the words that I had been thinking for weeks.
And she smiled.
There is a lady who frequents my gym, I see her every afternoon I go. She started out walking, now she sprints. I have watched her journey from afar, seen her sweat, and breathe and quietly go about her journey to health.
I needed to tell her that I had noticed. There have been some afternoons that I have climbed on that treadmill and I didn't want to keep running. Then I would see her walking along, running maybe, and I would feel inspired to keep going.
So the other day I turned to her when she stepped on the treadmill next to mine and I smiled. I told her that she looked fantastic and that I had seen how hard she has been working and that I think she looks amazing.
And she smiled.

We talk so much about boosting our own body image, about talking kindly to ourselves, not listening to the lies of what we perceive in the mirror some days. There is power in that single voice, our own voice, telling us we are beautiful and we are working hard and we are gorgeous just the way we are.
But there is more power in numbers.
What if every day you told at least one other person that you think they are beautiful, or that their hair looks pretty today, or that the colour of their sweater really brings out their eyes?
What if you tell that quiet lady at the gym, or the old man who walks with his dog everyday, or the new mum who jogs with the pram in the mornings; what if you told them that you see their hard work, that it inspires you, that you think they are doing a wonderful job?
They will smile.
If we pass on the sunshine, if we let people know that we notice their efforts, that they inspire us, we take that single voice of confidence and build it into a choir. A chorus with a refrain that echoes that we are beautiful, and we are working hard and we are gorgeous just the way we are.
So next time you notice someone working hard, turn to them, smile and share the sunshine.

1 comment:

  1. Amy...I know I have only been following your blog for a short time but your posts are ALWAYS so powerful. I look forward to reading more and more from you!

    That cake looks absolutely delicious...I must try it. I agree---fruit always makes me feel the sunshine :)

    That gym story. WOW. Just amazing. Such a good reminder to always share the sunshine with others. I bet you totally made that lady's day! It is so easy to get caught up in ourselves...especially at the gym. So to take the time to notice someone else's journey is truly inspiring! I want to keep this in mind! Thanks for sharing :) Have a fabulous day!