"spot one" sign at base of tent
We don’t exactly suffer when we do. I am, after all, married to the greatest griller in the WORLD. Between his skill with open flames and my creativity for menu planning, we don’t go hungry except that one time…
We were camping on a glorious day, much like today, with a huge throng of friends in Anastasia Park (the Catholic Campers from St. Joe’s Church–we aren’t members, or even Catholic, but we pretend to be once a year for this totally awesome outdoor experience). I had made one of my all-time favorite cakes… Chocolate Zucchini. It was of, course, covered with a decadent layer of Ganache and we were all eager to enjoy it. After our meager feast of Mustard Glazed Salmon, Grilled Vegetables, Coal Roasted Potatoes, salad, bread, and beverages, however, we were just a little too full to enjoy it. No worries…we tucked it into the small portable refrigerator our friends and neighbors kept at their site. I heard a slight stir later that night but really thought nothing of it. Throughout the next day we mentioned to each other several times how awesome it would be to enjoy the now thoroughly chilled chocolatey goodness with dinner that night.
At dinner we all saved room. Then, after much anticipation, one of our fellow campers went to the refrigerator to take out the cake. But, it was not there. Maybe we put it in a cooler or someone moved it? We searched every cooler. No luck. HOW COULD SOMEONE STEAL OUR CAKE? As we all drooled in agony we left no stone unturned. A neighbor wandered by and asked what we were doing. We explained. The cake, THE cake, The CAKE…was missing. How could we miss a cake? Who would take our cake? Surely we just pushed it behind something? Maybe it was in the other cooler, or the other, or the other…
“Was that cake in a foil pan?” the neighbor asked. “Um, yes”, I replied. He marched across the street and returned with the now empty, slightly bent foil pan that had been licked and scraped clean by our friendly neighbors… the raccoons. Can you BELIEVE it? They stole my cake. Our cake! Rotten Stinkers!
I suppose it could have been worse. It might have been bears eating a fellow camper. The trauma of this experience was enough to teach us all a lesson: when camping in Florida, bring bungee cords to lock up everything TIGHT.
Max “Outdoor conqueror” has just come around the bend with his power wheel Jeep pulling a caravan of wagons and coolers. (I guess cleaning out the garage is going to be accomplished this weekend.) And his father, to my slight dismay, is now setting up the big tent in site 3–site 2 has been occupied by a suspicious pink princess tent. I had better get busy. We’ve got a grill to light!
Chocolate Surprise Cake
This cake improves in flavor and richness if you chill it for a couple of days before serving. This makes it a perfect “make-ahead” camping treat.
- 2 cups whole-wheat flour
- 4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp decaffeinated instant coffee granules
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 cups raw sugar (evaporated sugar cane juice)
- ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1/3 cup plain yogurt
- 3 cups grated zucchini
Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter and flour a 9×13-inch baking pan. Place flour, cinnamon, coffee, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and whisk together. In another large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar. Add the oil and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each one. Add flour mixture, 1/3 at a time, and mix after each addition. Stir in the yogurt, then add zucchini and mix well. Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake in center of oven about 45 minutes, until center in springy. Allow to cool. This cake is best on the second or third day. Make it ahead of time, store in a secure refrigerator and serve chilled.
For the Ganache
- 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
Melt chocolate morsels in a double boiler completely. Remove from heat, whisk in heavy cream until smooth. Pour over cake.