Honey cake, no refined sugar, sweeet!



I've been thinking a lot lately about carefully curated online images. About Facebook specifically, and how I think it might be making people lonely and sad. We can't blame Facebook entirely, in every life there's a standard and someone who is exceeding it. There's a grapevine and someone's on it. There are stories, and there's somebody telling us how they're nailing it. I think Facebook has power because of the sort of world we're in right now, I mean you and me, with internet and computers and time enough to be sitting here, you know? 

If we weren't, you and me, generally living in a predictable and safe sort of world we wouldn't give an arse about Instagram unless we'd found a way to use it politically, subversively or defensively. 

It's hard to get it right on Facebook. There's an awful lot that people don't want to hear about. No one really wants to know you're going on a fabulous skiing holiday. Or to Hawaii. Or that your baby is toilet training. Or that you're loving life. Or that you're hating life. You know why? Because the vast majority of your real life friends will call you or text you that stuff, and then it's real and shared and important, and the people on Facebook, I suspect, are people you worked with fifteen years ago or exes or people who never actually talked to you at school. 

There's a whole lot of image-crafting going on, and we know it's not limited to Facebook. 

I guess that's my long-winded way of saying I hope you never leave here feeling like I've got it figured out and that your plans for small farm magnificence will never come off. I'm very open, and people who know me in real life know I run at a hundred miles an hour and never concentrate on anything effectively. I didn't get the market garden planted out before the rain. The laundry is out of control. That's not some funny self-deprecating comment. It's out of control. There's damp laundry at the very bottom of at least two baskets that I really could do without ever seeing again, but I'll have to, and it's quite likely growing mould. I'm terrified that our whole commercial kitchen/on-farm cooking workshops plan might not actually fly. We've been living in a two room loft for eighteen months sharing a kitchen in another building and desperately holding onto this small farm plan, can we make it make money? Because it has to make money. Commercial kitchens aren't free. We have to be able to pay insurance, and fuel, and repairs, and insurance (did I mention insurance?) And meanwhile we're baking bags of bikkies and selling cartons of eggs and raising expensive pastured meat chickens (that's a whole 'nother post) and just scraping by and people who meet me for the first time say, wow, you are living. the. dream. You are living my dream. What a great lifestyle for the kids, you're so lucky.

That last bit is right. I'm so damn lucky, I am. Who could ever afford to farm a bit of land like this, the way we are, and pay off its mortgage? I'm incredibly lucky to inherit it and lucky Adam's in boots and all and lucky my Dad is here to make sure we don't stuff it up on an almighty scale and lucky my Mum is here to pick up the pieces and make cups of tea and hang out my washing when I've left it in the laundry for two days and lucky we're healthy and strong and I feel endlessly lucky and don't want to make a deal out of it in case it makes someone else feel like crap. You know? It's not a dream, it's not easy and it's not simple. But with a bit of luck it's a living, and it's a cracking spot, and the company is terrific. 

In other news, sugar-free September lasted exactly until I got hormonal, which was today (you couldn't tell?) and I ferreted out the chocolate. Add to my inability to concentrate a terrible terrible tendency to make excessive proclamations which I fail to complete.

Meanwhile BEFORE I got hormonal I made our Cake of Sunday with no refined sugar, and it was delicious. Doesn't need sugar. 



Honey and Coconut Cake


150g butter

Half cup raw honey

2 eggs

270ml organic coconut cream

1 cup dessicated coconut

1.5 cups self-raising flour


Cream together softened butter and honey. Add the eggs and mix well, then the coconut cream. Stir in the dessicated coconut and flour and mix well. Pour into a 20cm round greased and lined cake tin and bake on 180 degrees celcius for approx 40 mins or until springy and cooked through.


250g cream cheese

100g butter

1 dessertspoon of honey

Mix ingredients well and spread onto cake. I used flaked organic coconut on top of the icing. 



Enjoy with tea and encouragement. 


18 Comments on “Honey cake, no refined sugar, sweeet!

September 16, 2013 at 10:53 pm

I do think about my online presence – and keep a very light but honest tone. I think you do a wonderful job of being honest with us – and I admire your tenacity with your farm. It is far away from my dream, which possibly involves puppets and a call from Sesame Street seeking a substitute Australian puppeteer.

September 17, 2013 at 4:05 am

oh! thank you for this recipe! one of my favorite aussie peeps brought a beautiful jar of raw aussie honey to us this trip and although it has been simply delicious in the simplest of ways (peanut butter and honey sandwiches, honey and lemon tea or just by the spoonful) this cake seems like a perfect way to enjoy and share such an indulgent gift! and, i wanted to thank you as well – i have enjoyed reading your blog for over a year. my wife is an aussie who’s lived here in hawaii for 16 years, we still have family in australia and we’ll be taking our first trip as a family to australia in december. the little snapshots that you share of your life is such a treat for me. mahalo nui loa (thank you so much) for sharing your world!

September 17, 2013 at 7:10 am

How totally lovely, thank YOU so much!I hope you have a spectacular trip x

Mrs Homespun
September 17, 2013 at 7:19 am

Trying to keep the right balance between the good stuff and the dramas is something I am always thinking about as I write my posts. Nobody wants to see perfection (ok, maybe sometimes we do), but nor do we want to read about someone who is constantly having a whinge. I love your blog because it is neither. We see just the everyday stuff (good and bad) that we are all battling in some way or another.

But in a background we are all envious of!

Oh, and the cakes, always happy to read about the cakes.


Kate L
September 17, 2013 at 9:03 am

I am trying to wean myself off social media and culling my blog list. I feel that I spend too much time online reading about others lives and not enough time actually living my real life. I agree about social media it definitely makes me sad, between social media and blogs I find myself comparing the worst of my life with the best of others lives, a recipe for sadness and depression. Having said that I have made some lovely friendships and would like to continue them, perhaps by email or phone maybe?
Anyway enough about me, the cake looks devine although I’m not a fan of honey. Sadly for hubby as he has bees!
cheers Kate

September 17, 2013 at 9:16 am

Hi Fiona

I love reading your blog. Your moods come through your writing, so it always feels honest, but you are also sharing PRACTICAL information about living. Thanks, Geraldine

September 17, 2013 at 10:48 am

loved the recipe mixed with honesty.

Ngo Family Farm
September 17, 2013 at 1:15 pm

I love this post so much. And, my goodness, that cake looks delicious! I’ve been experimenting with substituting honey for sugar, and am so happy to have this proven cake recipe you’ve shared to try.

September 17, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Well said! Its hard to find that balance of celebrating the good but acknowledging the bad when you’re blogging.
I try not to airbrush my life as you can tell if you come over and see my crumbly cake recipe blogged today, and looking alot like yours! Yum!

September 17, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Great post and recipe.I try and limit what I say about my life on social media.We all have good days and bad,but if I do notice a friend going through a particularly tough time I’m careful what I post.
The reason I love your blog (besides being local lol) is your openness and honesty oh and your recipes lol.I often have people say to me oh you must be so organised (I’m a mum of 7 )but in all honesty my washing piles are huge and tonight you can’t see my table from all the folded washing and it’s a darn big table lol but we are all healthy and happy and that’s what counts.
Keep up the great posts I look forward to reading them when I have my morning tea with that window of silence you get just before everyone else rises 🙂

September 17, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Long time reader first time commenter!! Just wanted to say Thank You Thank You Thank You!!! For your honesty, for being real, for keeping me inspired and for the cake recipe!!! My hubby and I pine for the ‘simple life’ of self sufficieny and often we consider jumping the gun and skipping town but it is posts like these that make me take a step back and remind myself that its not going to be easy and it is in our best interests to stick with the plan. And as for facebook, I am so with you there!!!

September 18, 2013 at 1:24 am

Fi, you are awesome. As always. I admire how open you are, how you find the sunny side of the harder aspects of living the life you really want to live. If it were easy, and didn’t involve sacrifice and sleepless nights worrying about money and downsizing and compromise, well, everyone would be doing it. I feel the same way about the life I have now. The fantasy of working part time and writing the rest of the time vs the reality of it have been very different!

As for Facebook, I agree. The danger with social media, and with blogging too, as another commenter here pointed out, is that you can end up spending all your time reading about other people’s lives rather than living your own. It’s good to get a balance.

I’ve really gone off social media lately though. I’m only in my early 30s but I do kind of long for the days when you just fell out of touch with people naturally and just heard about what they were up to through mutual friends or old acquaintances….these days there’s all the drama of being unfriended or unfollowed…sigh!

But can I just say too – you have every right to feel proud of what you’ve achieved, to feel lucky and grateful for the chance to have this shot at this big dream, and to celebrate it and talk about it however you wish. Gratitude and joy and wonder and pride in making the life you want happen for yourself are things that should never be subdued 🙂

Looking forward to hearing more of your adventures. It always makes my day to see a new post from you x

Merryl Chantrell
September 18, 2013 at 6:24 am

I truly admire the courage of your conviction. You obviously have a plan but you are also open to modifying said plan as the need arises. You are very aware that with your dream comes plenty of hard work to make a go of it. BTW it is so nice to read that while you are ‘living your dream’ you have things like ‘the laundry is out of control’. That makes you so very normal 🙂

September 18, 2013 at 11:03 am

This morning, while gardening, I was thinking . . . this vocation is not for the faint of heart! Summer gardening in the desert of Arizona is crazy! If I want to enjoy the “fruits of my labor” in the fall and winter, the soil has to be prepared and seeds have to be planted. That means . . . Sweat running down my face, back and legs . . . Sticky, sweaty, in need of a shower, shampoo and change of clothes, but living the dream”! House messy, not perfect . . . But the garden is lookin’ good!

There is a price to pay if we are going to live the dream. There are only so many hour in the day, so time has to be managed with great skill. .Sometimes our dreams seem more like nightmares, when life, as we knew it, rolls out of control!

Keep pushing! You will make it! There is a living to be made from all your efforts!

lily boot
September 19, 2013 at 9:09 am

beautifully said Fiona. I agree with Julie above and at the risk of sounding a bit corny, I think all life is a bit like how Rumpelstiltskin describes magic in the television show “Once Upon a Time” – “all magic comes with a price”. Behind almost everything satisfying and exciting we do is hard work, sleeplessness, mistakes, and disappointments. But in the meantime, we do manage to create a bit of magic as well. You are in such a beautiful part of the world and what you’re doing is so goood that I always have my fingers crossed that it brings you and your family much happiness and a viable living. In the meantime, I’m off to bake a honey cake – I too tried the sugar free and failed – and then I shall check out your farm courses – they sound wonderful and I so hope I can get there! Hope today is great and there’s more magic and less cost 🙂

September 19, 2013 at 9:50 am

Thanks Lily, and I’m going to keep my fingers crossed to finally meet you in person one day, that would be totally lovely x

International Woman of Mystery
September 30, 2013 at 6:00 pm

So glad I came back. xo

October 16, 2013 at 8:24 pm

I love this post and can relate to many of what you said, I also know that we are living the dream that many of my friends say they wish for….and you’re right we are lucky but not without a lot of hard work (15 years to get here), but I also don’t want my readers and friends to feel I’m gloating when I share our stories via social media….this is our reality now, but we too don’t have it all sorted and often are just muddling through as we go! 🙂
It’s so great to find your blog ( recommended by another blogger ) I’ll look forward to reading your updates :))


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