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  • andybrom

The Olympics and 19th century nationalism!

With the Olympics dominating all our lives at present it’s amazing how patriotic we have all become. And it co-insides beautifully with my latest class which looks at patriotism, or nationalism as an important musical movement throughout Europe in the 19th century. It’s amazing how songs like Rule Britannia and G-d Save the King in England, Ca ira and the Marseille in France, operas by Rossini, Bellini and especially Verdi in Italy, and all the musical societies in Germany helped galvanise the national spirit.

I could never say that music was the catalyst for the nationalist movements; but music, especially song, was definitely a way for the illiterate to pass on information, spur the military to fight for COUNTRY rather than King, and spread information throughout non-unified countries.

And the cake for this class? Unfortunately I didn’t make something shaped in the Olympic rings which might have been very apt, but I did make a special cake. A couple of people in this class are on a special health diet which excludes them from eating dairy, egg yolks, oils except olive and a whole lot of other things besides! It’s one of my missions to find cakes – other than meringue based cakes- for them to eat, and this is one of them!!

I try to ice the cake just before they come so the chocolate is still running down the sides of the cake and it is still warm.

I’ve also started a little side line business with Coffee Cake and Culture. You can now order my cakes either by phone or on line. This was my 9 year old’s idea, who said as payment, she doesn’t want 5% from each sale (my husband’s suggestion) but to lick the utensils when I have finished…a girl after my own heart!!


Love me.


  • 1 1/2 cups flour

  • 1/2 salt

  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 1/4 unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (I sometimes use self-raising flour with the same results)

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup cold water

  • 1/2 cup dark choc chips

  • 200g Lindt chocolate – any dark choc flavour


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees

  2. Grease a baking pan. In a large bowl combine flour, salt, sugar, cocoa powder and baking soda (just self-raising flour). Mix well with a fork, then stir in oil, vinegar and vanilla extract. When dry ingredients are thoroughly moist pour in cold water and stir batter until smooth. Stir in choc bits and pour into prepared pan.

  3. Bake for 30-35 minutes until skewer comes out JUST clean -do not overcook!

  4. cool on rack

  5. when the cake is cool melt chocolate either in a microwave on a low heat checking and stirring regularly or on a double boiler on the stove

  6. pour over cake just before serving so the chocolate is still runny



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