What is the most logical thing to do after making a vow to eat healthier? Bake a zucchini cake loaf, obviously. Because, hey! Zucchini is green, and it’s a vegetable, and I’m supposed to eat more green vegetables, right? Thought so. So, what inspired me to make such a loaf today? Alas, I’ve been living in this little town village in Australia for the past few weeks, and well, when I’m not working, there’s not much to do. To give you a general idea, I’ve compiled a list of my daily leisure activities…

Things To Do in the Outback
read my book.
curl my hair.
go running hide indoors to avoid getting attacked by the world’s most venomous snakes.
slingshot pebbles at a road sign.
take photos.
hold a flashlight while a drunk guy shoots kangaroos.
do 5 pushups
recover for a few days from those pushups.
discover that there is a bag of flour in the fridge.

The thing about working in exchange for food and accommodation is that the types of food and ingredients that are kept in stock are more limited than what I’m used to. As are the baking dishes. I’m learning to live with less: I’ve got access to a 9 x 9 pan, a roll of discount parchment paper, a few measuring cups and some mixing bowls. And as for ingredients, well there is definitely no cinnamon. Nor do they keep baking soda on hand. But, they do have self-raising flour, which by the way, is my new favourite discovery. And, there’s this giant container of shredded coconut. What’s more, like all good country folk, we’ve got 4 chickens (called chooks here!), and a whole lot of eggs. I’ve decided that this is plenty to work with, and that I’d make the most of it. I’ve decided even to be thankful for this, as I’ll surely come out of this experience an extremely resourceful baker! Oh… and did I mention that the temperatures on our oven dial have been completely worn away? Disclaimer: the temp that I suggest in this recipe is an estimate based on how far I’ve turned the dial.

Now, you may still be sitting there thinking, zucchini loaf? Why would you do that? Well, you might remember my butternut squash cake, which was a hit all around. So I think you’ve just got to trust me on this one. But, if you’re still thinking, nah, this can’t be good (which is pretty much the look everyone gave me when they saw me making it), hear me out! Zucchini is 95% water. Water = moisture. Moist cakes = delicious. Also, you can play around with this recipe and throw in some add-ins to suit your taste – my suggestions are any of the following: raisins, chopped dates, dried cranberries, lemon zest, cinnamon, or chocolate chips. Oh, and it’s delish with a dollop of yogourt on top (in the name of health, I chose yogourt over ice cream. But I’m sure ice cream would be even more equally as scrumptious.)

Outback Zucchini Loaf
original recipe by Allison Sklar

what you’ll need
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup oil
1 cup white sugar
1 cup grated zucchini (squeeze out the excess water!)
1 3/4 cups self-raising flour, sifted
1/2 cup shredded coconut

how to do it
Preheat oven to 325C. In a medium sized bowl, combine eggs with sugar, vanilla and oil. Beat with a fork vigourously until well blended. Add zucchini & coconut, mixing briefly. Slowly incorporate flour, folding it into the wet ingredients. Line a 9” x 9” pan with parchment paper. Pour mixture into pan. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes (ovens differ, so check it frequently after 40 minutes. Once the top is golden and a cake tester or toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean, it’s done. Do not over-bake!)