Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wholemeal Apple Chocolate Cake :: Calendula Soap

One of my favorite breakfasts at the moment, porridge with homemade almond milk, dates and walnuts with a teaspoon of honey on top and a pinch of cinnamon.

On Tuesday I had a sore throat and headache. I made some herbal tea with ginger, thyme and cloves with a bit of lemon added at the end. I also ate an orange and had stir fry for lunch with onion, ginger and garlic in it.  The next day the sore throat and headache were gone. There is something to be said about the power of food. It is as Hippocrates said: 'Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.'

I love taking recipes and making them healthier. Yesterday I took a Chocolate Cake Recipe and changed a few ingredients to make Wholemeal Apple Chocolate Cake. The ingredients I used were:

1 cup wholemeal flour (I used spelt)
1/3 cup plain flour (or you could use all wholemeal)
1/3 cup cacao or cocoa
3/4 teas bicarb soda
1/2 teas salt
1 teas vanilla
1 tab apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup water
1 grated apple

Sift the dry ingredients. Melt coconut oil and add to the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Add apple. Mix. Pour mixture into a 20cm cake tin and bake at 170 'C  (150 'C  in a fan forced oven) for 35 - 40 mins or until cooked.

This makes a nice moist cake. Do not over bake. This cake passed the taste test by me and my 11 and 14 year olds.

After the Chocolate Cake I decided to make some soap. Thank you to Christine for her inspiration to make Calendula Soap.

These are NOT detailed instructions for soap making. You can find detailed instructions on Rhonda's blog. If you haven't made soap before you will need to read Rhonda's instructions before doing so as soap making could be dangerous if not done correctly. Make sure you wear goggles and gloves. Not very attractive but it might save your eye sight. 

 I use Rhonda's method but with these ingredients:

460 gms olive oil
600 gms rice bran oil
440 gms coconut oil
570 mls water
230 gms lye (caustic soda)
calendula petals

I steeped some calendula petals in the rice bran oil from the recipe. To do this I put the oil and petals in a saucepan on low and turned the hotplate off after about 1 hour. Christine put hers in a crockpot which is probably a better/safer idea. I left it there for about 2 hours keeping a close eye on it. I then strained the petals off, reserving the oil. I rechecked the oil and found it didn't quite weigh enough so I added a bit more to make it 600 gms. 

While this was happening I ground some more calendula petals in a coffee grinder and put them aside.

The oils were weighed, placed in a saucepan and heated to 50 'C.

The lye and water were weighed, added together and left to do their thing.

When the oils and lye were both 50 'C  I carefully added them together. This is what it looked like to begin with.

After carefully mixing with my blender it changed to look like this.

When a trace forms you can add the ground calendula petals. Mix well.

I put my soap in molds and left them overnight.

The different colours shows some of the soap has cooled more than the rest.

The end result. This soap will need 3-6 weeks to dry properly before using. The colour will end up more uniform when it's dry and the white colour will disappear.  The first time I used these molds the soap had gaps in the sides. This time I used a teaspoon and kept putting little bits of soap into the molds and pressing down. Problem solved. One happy mumma. 

Thank you for reading.

Love Julie xxoo


  1. There is something so comforting about starting the day with a bowl of hot porridge isn't there?
    Love how you have vamped up the cake recipe to make a healthier version, doesn't seem so naughty indulging in a slice or two.
    We are getting down to the last few cakes of soap from the batch I made in December, I can't believe how long it's lasted, best make another lot.
    I can attest to food doing wonders for ones health, it's how I managed to come off bp medication. I now swear by it :)

    1. Have fun with your soap making Tammi. Well done with coming off medication by changing your food habits. xxoo

  2. I can't wait to taste the cake. Will have to make it soon. Thanks, Kelleyn

    1. I hope you like the cake Kelleyn. Thanks for visiting. xxoo

  3. Oh my gosh, Julie, I wanted to eat those soaps! The whole process looks like you are making a decadant fudge. Gorgeous! And I know how lovely your soaps are as I've been blessed with a couple of bars from you:) That cake looks yum too. Will try it out for sure x

    1. I feel like I could eat the soaps too Kim, except I know what's in it. (LOL) I hope you like the cake. xxoo

  4. I couldn't agree more - food is medicine. I'm the same if I feel out of sorts or a cold coming on {it definitely works!}, but especially try to eat that way all the time x

    1. Yes Elisa, it's amazing how you can feel better just by making small changes to your diet. xxoo

  5. Food is like fuel for your body, the better quality ingredients you put into it the better off you will feel & operate! Just found your blog Julie, love it & shall keep following. Happy Friday!:) Nx

  6. That's exactly right Nicole. Thanks for your lovely comments. I look forward to seeing you. xxoo

  7. I made calendula salve last summer, but I didn't strain the oil properly, few tiny fragments of petals were left in and they molded :( This year, my calendula doesn't seem to be growing at all ... hopefully it's just late, and I'll be able to try making your soap!

    1. A shame about your salve Francesca. I hope your calendula grows soon and you can make the soap. xxoo

  8. The soaps do look lovely. One of these days I will give it a try myself.

    Isn't it fun taking a recipe and making it healthier? Your cake looks great!

  9. Thanks for your lovely comments. I recommend soap making. I took my time the first time I did it and now I love it. Xxoo

  10. Thank you., that cake sounds wonderful. It's hard to find a nutritious snack that th kids still think is a treat. Well, apart from blueberries! x

  11. You're welcome. I hope they enjoy it. Thanks for visiting. xxoo

  12. That cake looks and sounds delicious. Can't wait to make it myself and give it a try.

  13. Thanks Libby. I hope you enjoy it. xxoo

  14. Your soap looks beautiful. It is certainly on my list of things to do! :)