One of the pleasures of winter is the wood fired slow combustion stove. The Traditional Japanese architecture of our home wasn't really designed to keep the cold out, but we have insulated the ceiling and closed off most of the drafts, and the wood stoves keep us nice and warm.
My first experience of a wood stove was on my Aunty and Uncles farm in Redesdale, Victoria in the early '70's. Whenever we would visit during winter, Mum would say, "You can't waste a hot oven!", and baking would summarily ensue. Scones, of course, was first on the agenda, but there was this one nifty cake recipe that was as simple as could be and came out perfect every time.
"Wonder Cake" she called it, and I make it now for my children. (Visitors too, if their timing is right!) It makes a great emergency birthday cake, and with the addition of nutmeg, or cocoa, or banana, or dried fruit....it can transform into a myriad of different cakes.
I have altered the original recipe slightly to make it easier to make with the ingredients available here and to use olive oil instead of melted butter. So, if it happens to be your birthday, and your a bit short on preparation time, here's the recipe. It's a piece of cake. Happy Birthday!
1 Cup (250ml) Plain Flour
1 Cup of Sugar
1 Rounded Teaspoon (5ml) Baking Powder
1 Cup of; 60ml Olive Oil, 2 Eggs and fill it up with milk.
Mix it all together, pour it into a greased and floured cake tin and bake for 45 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.