A messy life and a messy rhubarb and coconut slice

In our social media lives, we are inundated with beauty. Images of gorgeous food, people and places rain down upon us from our Instagram, Facebook and blogging feeds. This stuff floats my boat. It inspires and feeds the creative beast that lurks within. There is nothing wrong with beauty, with wanting to create it or own it. It lifts our spirits and soothes our eyes and souls when we are weary, low or merely bored.

Beauty lubricates life and is the grease that keeps my wheels turning. But there is a flip side to every coin and a ying to every yang.

When viewing these images, we can easily forget the chaos that goes on behind the scenes and that life is intrinsically messy. Children are, intimacy is, friendships and family can be. My hair is messy and curly, no matter how I may try to tame it. My house is a weird mixture of beauty, clutter and order. Work is not always straightforward, nor is writing a blog. It can be difficult to decide how much to reveal and how much to keep private. Disarray abounds.

This slice reminded me of that fact. Whilst trying to smooth the troublesome batter into the cake tin, the temptation of binning the entire bake was high. My fingers were steeped in a sticky blend of butter and flour and as the vibrant rhubarb poached, my temper rose to simmering point. The coconut crumble for the top resembled the surface of the moon and the resulting photos looked shambolic. The scrappy coconut playing havoc with my focus (both the cameras and my own.)

Don’t post, came to mind. Yet it tasted so very, very good. The jammy sweet and sour rhubarb was offset by a crunchy biscuity bottom and the textural tropical macaroon topping. The Yak was a very happy man, giving it the big coeliac thumbs up. He certainly didn’t give a flying fig how it looked.

So perhaps, loveliness is also in the mess. We were brought up to believe that beauty is only skin deep and what truly matters is depth of character. Something we try and relay to our own children. So much of the food we consume at home isn’t always picture book perfect but it certainly tastes darned good.

Beauty perhaps, truly is in the eye of the beholder.


150g butter, softened
1/3 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup gluten free plain flour
1/4 cup teff flour (or rice flour)
2 bunches rhubarb (I had one big bunch that weighed 550g) washed, trimmed and cut into 3cm lengths
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup caster sugar (to cook with rhubarb)

2 cups desiccated coconut
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup caster sugar

Preheat oven to 160C and line a 3.5cm deep 16cm x 26 cm (base) lamington pan. I used a larger tin and spread the mixture out to roughly those dimensions.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and the 1/3 cup of sugar until well combined.
Sift the plain and teff flours into the butter mixture and mix well.
Using an offset spatula (the recipe suggests floured fingertips but I found it far too messy), press and smooth the flour mixture evenly into a pan.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Cool down and increase the oven temperature to 170C.
While the base is cooking, combine the rhubarb, water and 1/4 cup caster sugar in a large saucepan. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for up to ten minutes or until the rhubarb is tender. Let cool for about 30 minutes then spoon the rhubarb mixture over the cooled and cooked base.
Mix the eggs, sugar and coconut well, then spoon the mixture over the rhubarb. Press down and bake for 25 – 30 minutes until light golden. Cool in the pan and cut into squares or slices.

An adaptation of a recipe from the Taste website. Link to original recipe provided after the photos.



39 thoughts on “A messy life and a messy rhubarb and coconut slice

  1. You’re right. So often something which has little or no visual appeal tastes like the food of the gods. I can well imagine this does too. Next time I see some rhubarb I shall grab a bunch or two. I know where to find a very nice recipe….

    • Aww, thanks Vanilla, it was such a messy bake that I think I was in a ‘messy state of mind’ by the time I took photos of the finished product. Yes, so much that doesn’t get there but this really does taste fab. ๐Ÿ˜Š

    • Thanks Mel. Lucky that there is some loveliness in it..(as she looks around at her untidy bedroom with all of her scarves out for sorting…problem is they have been there for a week…) Wish I had a virtual cake machine to send you a slice. ๐Ÿ˜

  2. Words of wisdom, Cheer. Food teaches us a lot. Consider the humble potato ๐Ÿ™‚ But truly I think the deep pink color of the rhubarb is very fetching against the flirty macaroon topping! It is a sensuous treat.

    • Thanks LM, it was a ‘bad bake day’ and a messy mind day. But the rhubarb is very pretty but that coconut plays havoc with the camera lense. Ah yes, the humble potato…not the prettiest but one of the most useful and delicous! โ˜บ๏ธ

  3. A.PROMPTreply

    I can’t believe you almost didn’t post this……it’s the first one that’s actually given me hope that I might reproduce it (in some form anyway). Also, quite nice to know you’re a real human and not just BAKING GODDESS that never feels frustration in your efforts. Also, even without the food or the pix here, your writing is sublime! Definitely worth a post!

    • Thanks PR! You are always so encouraging. Just trying to keep it real, there certainly are failures amongst the successes, trust me. And so much of the food we eat I would struggle to photograph to make it look half decent! Have a great rest of your weekend. ๐Ÿ˜Š

  4. troppodon

    So what is a replacement for the coconut?????

    Donald Alexander,PhD, LLB (Otago), MA -Communication-Organisational Communication (Charles Sturt), Senior Lecturer, Public Relations and Organisational Communication, Postgraduate Course Coordinator, School of Communication and Creative Industries, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst
    02 6338 4031 0405 125 378 dalexander@csu.edu.au

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  5. I just have to say the close up of the square is positively voluptuously erotic in a foodie kind of way. Rhubarb, OMG. Rhubarb anything is wonderful. I think the last thing I made of yours was the rhubarb almond concoction which everyone in the house loved. This one I’d have to myself as no one but me likes coconut. Dangerous. Very dangerous. And yes life and baking is messy but if everyone’s happy with the end result, that’s what it’s all about.

    • For us rhubarb lovers, it does certainly say ‘come hither’, in a tousled kind of way. He he, love your imagery! You could do a crumble type topping with oats, butter, flour and sugar on top instead?

  6. Ah, that magic moment when you decided to keep going ( and not bin it) Just as well you did- the photos are rather beautiful and its a great recipe. No wonder the Yak is happy. I related so well to your story- ‘disarray abounds’ could be the title for my blog!

  7. Those colours are so good together, the golds with pale pinks (your rhubarb is thee most striking colour, BTW). And I bet these tasted great. Call me cynical, but I tend to be suspicious of food that looks too perfect. Guess growing up on a farm might have something to do with it.

    • Thanks JH. It tasted darn nice, yes indeedy. Just a bit of a palaver. My mum grew up on an orchard and I really get your point about ‘perfect’ looking food and what it took to get it to that point. In the end, taste and providence is key for me too.

  8. These actually look really wonderful cheergermโ€ฆ love how the colour of the rhubarb is showing through, can almost taste the sticky, sweetness of the jammy inside. Real life always gets a bit (or a lotโ€ฆ) messy. I posted a photo on the G&G FB page only a week or so ago with a Black Forest Roulade that refused to behave. Luckily for the family it tasted wonderful, but wasn’t so sure about posted a recipe which would entice others to make a cake that cracks and has sides that fall away within minutes of rolling it up. :o/ Happy to work on finding a solution to the problem though…

    • Thanks, it was delicious so I guess that is pretty darned important, Totally agree, sometimes it’s a on the verge..to post or not to post. I think that perfecting the technique of that roulade sounds like a
      very tough job. If I lived closer I would be happy to be your guinea pig. (Although my ever expanding waistline may not…) (just another messy part of life….๐Ÿ˜)

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