Coconut Orange Cake and The Girls

I thought today I might be on track for a few accomplishments like finally reaching the bottom of the washing baskets and putting clothes away in drawers instead of having to scratch through a bottomless pit every morning in the hopes of finding something to wear.

But things turned very sour when I returned from taking Alfie to school to find my dogs were missing.  Arabella, who is home sick (nothing wrong with her), hadn’t seen them either.  ‘Have you seen them today?’ I asked all tense.

Two dogs enjoying the morning sun

‘I don’t think so’.  Arabella isn’t much of an animal person.

‘I got them up this morning at six’, I told her,  ‘Then I brought them up on my bed and they lay on the blanket while I was on my computer.  Later I got out of bed and I put them outside.  Then I woke you up and told you to get out of bed and get to school.  Do you remember seeing them?’

‘Oh, I don’t know.  I don’t think so’, with so little concern she barely lifted her head from her laptop.

‘Well I don’t remember them coming back in and the side gate is shut so they couldn’t get out’.

‘Dad came home a while ago and he was asking where they were.’

‘So he couldn’t find them either?’

‘No.  He just asked me if I’d seen them and I told him I hadn’t’.

‘Well do you think you could drag yourself off that couch and help me look?  I’m going up and down the street and I’ll have my mobile so if you find them, ring me’.  So I walked the length of our street calling out to the girls but there was no sign of them and to have them go missing is just not a common occurrence.  They aren’t runaways and love to be close to the home.  In the morning when I put them outside they do their business then hurry back inside to recover from the cold.  I checked the side gate again and shone a torch under the house to see if they were somehow trapped but they were nowhere.

Always together, always cuddling each other

At the back of our yard we have dense bush.  I wondered if they had crawled in there and come to harm.  They love it in that dense undergrowth because they can sniff lizards and mice and insects and it gives them a huge thrill to be on a hunt.  I yelled out to Arabella, ‘Can you help me look in the bushes?’  She came out of the house wearing thongs and stood in the middle of the yard with her arms folded doing nothing.

Coconut Orange Cake

I was all hunched over as I folded myself up to squeeze under branches and slide between palm trees and I turned over the underlying scrub looking for my girls who I thought must have met with foul play.  I was getting covered in insects and cobwebs and my arms and legs were getting scratched from all the thorny scrub but my dogs were no where to be seen.  I could understand one getting into trouble but both was just too weird.

It was panic stations.  I rang Archie and asked him to come home.  ‘The dogs are missing’, I cried, ‘I don’t know where they are.’  And I tried to phone Carl but his mobile was switched off.

The perfect cake for afternoon tea

The girls have been micro-chipped so I thought if someone had found them out on the street perhaps they’ve dropped them off at a nearby vet and they could run a scanner over them and that would lead them to my vet.  So I phoned our vet and told them to be on stand-by for a call about my dogs and could they phone me immediately they heard some news.  I wondered about calling the police because it seemed to me that they must have been snatched from our property.  But who abducts dogs?  I was so confused.

Carl finally returned my call.  He asked me how I was.  ‘Not good’, I cried.  ‘The dogs are missing.  Someone’s taken my girls’.

‘Yeah I know’, said Carl, ‘I’ve got them’.

‘You’ve got them?  I’ve been looking for them for three hours’.

‘I told Arabella I was taking them this morning when I dropped in to get them’, explained Carl.

‘She said you asked if she knew where the dogs were and that she told you she didn’t’.

‘Well I’m sure I told her I was taking them with me to put in a video clip I was shooting this morning.  We were shooting scenes at an unleashed dog park and I thought it would be good to have some dogs in it.  I would have phoned you but I had to switch my phone off for the shoot’.

So I’m all covered in cuts and scratches from the noxious fronds of palm trees that are incredibly itchy and I’ve lost one-half of a productive day and I have a tension headache from running scenarios around in my head about what sort of ill-fate had met my dogs.  No one in this house is getting anything better for dinner than bangers and mash – except the dogs; they will eat like kings (queens in this case).

I’m also making a cake…


Soothing for fractured nerves

Coconut Orange Cake

Serves:  8-10

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  This is a delicious cake that uses very inexpensive everyday ingredients.

  • 1/2 cup dessicated coconut
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 125g butter
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 1 tbspn orange rind
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups SR flour
  • 1/2 cup milk, extra

Combine coconut and 1/2 cup milk and let sit for 1 hr.

Preheat oven to 180C (375F) or 160C fan-forced.

Cream butter, sugar and orange rind until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.  Add flour, milk and coconut/milk mixture and mix until combined.

Place in a loaf tin and put in oven for 50 mins.

Stand 5 mins, turn onto wire rack.  Top with orange icing, cool.

Orange Icing:

Sift icing sugar into bowl, add butter and enough orange juice to mix to a smooth paste.

This recipe has been adapted from the Australian Women’s Weekly, Best Recipes from the Weekly.

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  1. I hope you are going to eat the cake by yourself. Your family is undeserving.

  2. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    Oh no you poor thing Charlie! I can imagine how frantic you were! But glad to hear that they are ok. I think a message board is definitely in order 😉

  3. “Arabella isn’t much of an animal person” – maybe an understatement! I would freak out if I thought our pup was missing!

  4. ooooh I could feel your pain, and anxiety. My daughters dogs always seem to go missing when I am dog-sitting and I am up and down the street like some stupid dog lady, whistling and calling their names (Buckley and Rocca no less). Your family were lucky to get bangers and mash. And I hope they got no cake!

  5. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    Oh how scary. I once had a missing puppy. Looked all over and finally found her wedged behind the refrigerator. Anytime pets or people aren’t where they should be, it’s worrying. Glad they are fine — and video stars to boot!

  6. Minnesota Prairie Roots says:

    I bet Carl told Arabella, but she really wasn’t listening. Happens all the time with my teen, not about dogs because we don’t have any, but in general. Glad all turned out OK, except for those scratches.

  7. Oh you poor thing hun. I would have been totally freaking out and yes i would have called the police. So relieved when I got to the part where they were safe. I hope you ate that whole cake and washed it down with a bottle of really good wine 🙂 xx

  8. Oh my dear, I am so HAPPY that they were found… I read breathlessly and worried about them… I know what means not to find them… They are so lovely and so adorable… Blessing them. Thanks and Love, dear Charlie, they deserve today a big award 🙂 nia

  9. Aw, I know how that must feel! One week before I was supposed to leave for college, our dog got loose and we couldn’t find her. I told my mom I wasn’t going to go to college until she was found. Thank goodness some nice person saw her running down a busy main street near our house with a leash dragging behind her and scooped her up. You must have been so worried!!! But i’m so glad it had a happy ending. And yes, that cake should not be shared…well except for with your adorable little pooches 🙂

  10. Holy cow.. I would make them all stand around the table while I age the cake all by myself.. with ice cream. The only time Charlie (middle name not Louie) has gotten out (because some worker person left the side gate open) I was beside myself. I went up and down the street, called the pound, called the vet. I was in a heap and nearly in tears.

    He’d gone down the street and gone through someone’s yard to the canal and trotted back to our house but we’ve got the canal fenced and he couldn’t get in. He was on the pontoon bridge just waiting for someone to open the gate. He must have been there for hours. 🙂

    I needed cake that day! No scratches or insect bites for me though.

  11. o my ..totally with Alicia, you don’t share the cake with your family!

  12. I was house/dog sitting once and my brother and SIL’s dog slipped the leash. It wasn’t his fault, I just didn’t know how to put it on properly. Well, he ended up was running around exploring the world with a crazy woman trying to get him to come back to the leash and then go home and I got pretty crazy thinking I would never be able to catch him but nothing like THAT ever happened.

    I would have told the family they were on their own for food. “No cake for YOU!” like the Soup Nazy on Seinfeld. 🙂

  13. That doesn’t bode well for Arabella…can’t even remember what her Dad told her a couple of hours ago…and she’s not even 20 yet.
    I am so glad you found your puppies, Charlie, that can be gut wrenching. I think I would have let Arabella fend for herself for dinner for that terrible omission.
    What a lovely cake. My dear Mom used to make an orange cake that had a delicious glaze instead of an icing. It was my absolute favourite cake growing up. I will have to try to find that recipe in her stuff (it just makes me so sad when I look through and see her notes in her hand writing).

  14. Victoria at Flavors of the Sun says:

    You deserve that cake–and it looks wonderful. What a scare, as a dog owner and mother, I could feel your panic as I read this. I would have been the same. Right now, we are being constantly entertained by our Angus, who is now 9 weeks old. I already worry about him ; )

  15. I just read foodycatAlicia’s comment and I’m in agreement! Sounds like Arabella may be the one who dropped the ball here, though, if Carl really told her…hmmmmm! I am sure you were frantic. The girls are just gorgeous and I love the photos of them sleeping so tightly bound together. And the cake is really gorgeous, Charlie. As always! Can you find the time for a little “leave of absence” soon? I think you deserve it. Just you and your computer! 🙂

  16. First of all, your dogs are absolutely beautiful and how sweet they look all cuddled up together! I definitely would NOT give Arabella any cake…LOL Which by the way looks absolutely gorgeous and delicious.

    Maybe I’ll have to try incorporating coconut and orange into that French angel food cake? We’ll see.

    My husband actually did what your did to me many years ago. Except he took our young son (3) out of the backyard and took him to the grocery store without telling me. The entire neighborhood, including the police were looking for Brandon. I think it took 10 years off the end of my life. And now that Brandon is grown and our dogs are our “babies” I think I would feel the same if they went missing.

    Happy your pups were safe and sound the whole time! 🙂

  17. Oh Charlie!! You poor thing, but thank heavens for a happy ending! Now, to that bottomless pit of clothes? 😛 (Says the girl living out of a jumbled suitcase 😉 )

  18. Judy Purcell says:

    Um, I guess Arabella would be makin’ dinner after all that … while you sit and eat cake! Poor thing, that is a terrible feeling to think your pet is gone and may be in danger. Yes, I’d definitely be eating the cake. By myself.

  19. Choc Chip Uru says:

    Wow my friend, please eat this beautiful cake all for yourself!
    I could feel your panic in every word 🙁

    Choc Chip Uru

  20. Suzanne Perazzini says:

    Those dogs are exactly the same as the two my boss brings to work every day. The male is deaf and as sweet as pie while the girl is cranky pants and likes to nip ankles. But they are sure good to look at. You must have been beside yourself. My boss lost one of hers for a night and she was an emotional wreck for a week. I think she is still getting over it.

  21. InTolerantChef says:

    Oh you poor thing Charlie, I can imagine how sick you felt while hunting for them! I would let Carl off the hook as at least he informed someone, but I would make Arabella suffer somehow…. Maybe doggie butler for a week? Although it’s probably bad enough knowing the whole blogisphere is indignant over her attitude 🙂
    I hope you ate that whole cake yourself sweetie, I think you deserve it!

  22. Tina @ bitemeshowme says:

    Miscommunication – oh the goodness of that, not! You poor thing Charlie. Can’t imagine the pain you went through, emotionally and physically. But I guess the girls were a-ok in the end.
    Love the sound of the coconut and orange cake. It looks like an absolute treat!

  23. Jackie Brown says:

    Glad to hear the puppies were all good…. Have an awesome weekend 🙂

  24. Oh my poor Charlie, I got scared for a moment. Your girls are just gorgeous! I love the cake too, I’m going to try it!

  25. Two big dogs attacked us on a walk once and Bitty slipped out of her halter and ran home. I was in hysterics–thank God Ben was there to catch her in the garage.

  26. Your dogs are so adorable! My two dogs snuggle like that too! 🙂 This bread sounds delicious! I love the coconut and orange combo!

  27. My Inner Chick says:

    –I just saved the DELISH cake to my faves.
    And the dogs are FABULOUS, gorgeous. I want to cuddle w/ them! <3

  28. I think Shakespeare said: ‘All’s well that ends well’: the two ladies are beautiful – are they fullsized or just miniatures used to gourmet food? Had one a copy of those and a black one and stories could be told . . .

  29. Jackie Brown says:
  30. Oh no that’s so scary! I’m so glad the girls were fine and that Carl took them! Poor you that Arabella didn’t tell you or didn’t notice that Carl took them hehe teenagers 🙂 But it’s ok as long as the girls are safe that’s the most important thing ~ have a great weekend xox

  31. Balvinder says:

    Your dogs are adorable and I can understand your worry as I have gone thru the situation a while ago.
    If I had been making the cake I would eat it whole.

  32. Glad you found your girls again. I had to speed read, so I knew that they were safe again.

  33. I don’t think Arabella deserves any of this cake. I, however, would love a slice. It’s a pity I can’t eat through the screen!

  34. Juliet Batten says:

    Oh what a fright you got. It must have been awful. The orange cake looks delicious, and the dogs are gorgeous and clearly well loved.

  35. Those little doggies are so cute 🙂
    I made an orange cake for my cousin last week…it didn’t occur to me to add coconut too. That must have taken the flavor of your cake to a whole new level 😉
    – abeer @

  36. Claire @ Claire K Creations says:

    Oh you poor thing Charlie you must have been out of your mind! You most definitely deserved cake. I can see this with lime zest instead of coconut too. Yum!

  37. Oh my goodness, the suspense was utterly unbearable in that post, but I managed to refrain *only just* from skipping ahead to the end of the post. What a fabulous writer you are, Charlie! The happy ending was certainly the icing on the (coconut orange) cake..

  38. Mandy - The Complete Cook Book says:

    Charlie, I would have been a complete wreck! I can hear my Mom saying to you, “Charlie, don’t worry, one day your Arabella is going to suffer ten fold what she has put you through…” Oh dear, the thought!
    Beautiful cake. Hope you have a stress free weekend.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  39. Green Dragonette says:

    Hi Charlie,

    Thank goodness for a happy ending! And that cake look so
    good…I have a fresh coconut to use in a couple of dishes this weekend but I
    may try using some of it freshly grated to make your cake now!

  40. Jees, Charlie. There is no worse feeling than the realization that your dog is “out”. I know that panic and am very glad your girls were in safe hands all along. What a relief!

  41. OMG! Seriously? Arabella & your husband both need to be grounded with no TV for a month! Your dogs are lovely – they are my favourite type of pooch. I possibly would’ve dog-napped them for a cuddle & a pat.

  42. lisaiscooking says:

    Thank goodness the dogs were ok! They’re so pretty. And, what a fabulous cake. You deserved that delicious treat after your day!

  43. yummychunklet says:

    OMG, the glaze! The glaze! How decadent!

  44. That cake looks divine!
    And nothing frustrates me more than my childrens’ selective hearing. Argh!

  45. Charlie, your family are going to be the death of you. They might just do the rest of us in as well. As Alicia said, I hope you enjoyed the cake by yourself. 🙂 xx

  46. Jeez, glad everything turned out ok in the end Charlie. As someone mentioned below – I hope you keep the cake to yourself! I think my mother used to make a similar cake – orange and coconut is a fantastic combo!

  47. Gretchen O'Donnell says:

    Hey, Charlie! So glad your “girls” were fine – oy, vey. Scary. I do have one question: what is “SR Flour”?

  48. Those dogs are absolutely gorgeous! What breed are they?

    My little pommie is too stupid to leave the house so I don’t have to worry about her getting lost, though I can’t imagine how stressful it would have been for you! Good thing they came home safe though! Phew!

  49. Yesterday Today Tomorrows says:

    I am so glad that your dogs are ok.. They are absolutely gorgeous by the way.. And as previously are making this diet tough ha ha.. This cake looks so yummy… That yummy that I’m going to give it a bash on Friday for afternoon tea with the in-laws x

  50. Jenny @ BAKE says:

    so glad the dogs are ok, and they are absolutely gorgeous! I don’t what I would do if my parent’s dog went missing, he’s so precious to all of us! this cake sounds amazing

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