Every Blooming Thing in the RV Park

The kitties switched places for their morning naps yesterday. Smitty stretched out on his window hammock.

Sadie decided the catio was the place to be.

Inside, I was busy putting together an Orange Upside-down Cake. We had dinner with friends last night, and I brought dessert. This was made from some oranges from their trees, but I purchased the one blood orange at the grocery store. 

I was a little worried about this when I flipped the pan upside-down and removed it. There was quite a bit of orange juice from the blood oranges, and I worried the cake would be soggy. It was not. It was delicious, and it was served with a dollop of whipped cream. We enjoyed it and there are two pieces left for our dessert tonight. This was originally a test recipe for America's Test Kitchens, but it has been published in Cook's Country now, so I can share the recipe. It's pretty simple to make. Here you go.

Orange Upside-Down Cake
recipe from Cook's Country
Serves 8


1 pound small navel oranges, blood oranges, Cara Cara oranges, or a combination (2 to 3 oranges)
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
1½ cups (10½ ounces) sugar, divided
1 teaspoon cornstarch
⅝ teaspoon table salt, divided
1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
Whipped cream for finishing


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9-inch round cake pan, line with parchment paper, then grease parchment. Grate 1½ teaspoons zest from 1 orange; set aside. Using hands, peel oranges. Trim ends and slice oranges crosswise into ¼-inch-thick slices, removing any seeds.

2. Pour 4 tablespoons melted butter over bottom of prepared pan and swirl to evenly coat. Whisk ½ cup sugar, cornstarch, and ⅛ teaspoon salt together in bowl, then sprinkle evenly over melted butter. Arrange orange slices in single layer over sugar mixture, nestling slices snugly together and pressing them flat (you may have fruit leftover).
3. Whisk flour, baking powder, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt together in bowl. Whisk sour cream, eggs, vanilla, remaining 1 cup sugar, and orange zest in large bowl until smooth, about 1 minute. Whisk remaining 6 tablespoons melted butter into sour cream mixture until combined. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined.

4. Pour batter over oranges and smooth top with rubber spatula. Bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

5. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Run knife around edge of pan to loosen cake, then invert onto serving platter. Let cake cool at least 1 hour. 

6. Microwave marmalade in bowl until fluid, about 20 seconds. Using pastry brush, brush marmalade over top of cake. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

* * * * *

Okay, so it was close to noon, but I was determined to get out for a walk. And, of course, I took pictures of every blooming thing and everything that wasn't blooming. So, here we go. Follow me if you want a little tour of the RV park here in Escondido.

The place is landscaped beautifully with bird of paradise at every site along the way. I tried to catch a hummingbird at the one below, but I wasn't quick enough. (And by the way, those ungrateful birds haven't even touched either of our feeders. Hmph.)

I took lots of pictures of these, but I'm only sharing a few with you. You're welcome.

There might have been a time when I knew the names of more of these things, but I no longer do. Feel free to chime in if you know something. This tree grows in abundance here. It has the most interesting seed pods.

They are about a foot long, and green turning to brown, when they drop off.

There were quite a few hibiscus in this color along the way.

These little yellow jobs were tiny...about the size of the head of a glass-headed pin.

These two crows were my walking companions. At one point, one of them had something that looked like a red berry in its mouth, but it flew off the second I pointed my camera in its direction.

Here's something I should know the name of, but I don't.

I believe these ones below are magnolias, and they are growing at many of the sites too. Our campsite was littered with spent pods when we arrived.

I only saw these happy yellow guys below in one place.

Here's another interesting tree. It was aggressively pruned back at some point in time.

And look at these wicked thorns on its trunk!

Here's another tree with some interesting pods. They grow in clusters on the tree.

They open up like a clam shell.

Inside, they look like this, although I have a feeling they had spilled a lot of tiny brown seeds in the process.

Okay, so here's the office, which is closed because of COVID right now. Beyond is the building where the restrooms and laundry are located.

And I'm sorry, but even if you're the office, you need to take down your Christmas decorations. It's mid-January, for goodness sake. I'm sure there's some kind of law against this. If there isn't, there should be, don't you think?

Between the two buildings is a pool, which actually is much smaller than it looks in this picture. It's the one downside of this park. The pool is quite some distance from us, and it's very small.

There's also a very small hot tub.

Inside the laundry, I found this framed photo of the park we've usually stayed at in Hemet. You can see their luxurious constellation of pools. There are three hot tubs and three large pools. The hot tubs are at different temperatures, depending on how hot you like your water. 

So, we regret the pool situation, but look beyond (above) the pools in that photo above, and you can see how large and packed together the RVs are in the park itself. And you're only seeing half of it in this photo. There is a whole other half outside the frame that is just as large and packed together. This park in Escondido is small in comparison, and we have some breathing room between our sites. 

On the other hand, this is a nice laundry room with plenty of machines that accept debit cards. I really hope this becomes standard. 

When we're traveling in our truck camper, I'm forced to use the park laundry, and I'm constantly on the hunt for quarters. With our fifth wheel, I have a washer/dryer combination in the RV, but I still sometimes like to use the park laundry to wash jeans.

Okay, but moving on...we still have lots of flowers to see. This pretty rose was near the office.

And there was beautiful bougainvillea also growing in abundance and in different colors. It's one of the things I miss most about California.

Succulents are a favorite in sometimes drought-ridden California. They thrive here.

And then there's whatever this next thing is. It was about the diameter of a quarter.

Okay, so at first glance, I thought these next trees were eucalyptus. But then, I noticed the bark was wrong, and they had some clusters of red objects growing among them. It was hard to see because they were high overhead.

So I zoomed in with my camera and got a better look when I uploaded the pictures. I believe these are just giant bottle-brush trees. I had no idea they could grow so tall!

In Hawaii, we called bottle brush "Pele's Tears." There was a legend behind it that if you picked a bottle brush flower, it would start raining. And since it rains a little almost every day in Hawaii, it's not surprising that people believe the legend. (Just now I Googled Pele's Tears and came up with an explanation that had nothing to do with bottle brush. Don't blame me...I'm just the messenger.)

I liked the echoing stripes of color on this next plant.

Below, these black berries (as opposed to blackberries) appear gray in the bright sunshine. In fact, they are almost black.

Here's a white rose...

and a canna...one of my mother's favorite flowers.

Rosemary is blooming right now, and it is planted in hedges all around the park.

And whatever this is...

And this...

And that was the end of my walk. Not bad, huh?

Back at the RV, I finished up the third of nine baskets for the Blackwork Baskets quilt.

Here are the three baskets I have so far.

Now I have the next one ready to go, and that's where I'll start this morning.

We're going to take a "chill" day. We're both in the mood for a skillet cookie, and so I'll bake one of those. I'm hoping to get some more sewing in today. If I'm able to sit myself down at the sewing machine, I'll start sewing together the Posies quilt top.

This was my project for the 2021 Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I'll be doing something similar for the 2022 challenge, but I won't be able to start on that until we're back home again. As for this one...I'm ready to see it sewn together.


Barbara said...

I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty. ~ Georgia O'Keeffe

Mary C said...

Ditto on the too-long-lasting Christmas decorations!

piecefulwendy said...

It was just nice to walk along with you and see all the pretty blooming flowers and trees. And green. My walk today (so far) has consisted of a slushy parking lot at the grocery store. I got through it, though, and the store was quiet (bonus!).

Edith said...

I leave my Christmas tree up for a while. It cheers us up in the cold dark days of January and it takes along time to decorate! We started after COVID started. I like to see the deer at dark they are winter decorations ��
Do you think you will make a bird of paradise quilt a la Ruth MacDowell?

Darlene S said...

Yumm, your upside down cake looks awesome. I definitely want to make one. Thank you for the recipe. From the photos you shared, the park you are at looks lovely. So much color. I'm with you on quarters. But it gets worse when you need to find Canadian Loonies to do laundry.

Nancy said...

I have to admit that in a long dark PNW nights I have enjoyed the holiday lights and have missed the ones that have been taken down. I was sort of wishing folks would leave them up thru January.
A couple of days ago while I was walking thru the local craft Warehouse I saw a black and off white bowl that I had to stop and do a double take. It looks like one of your basket blocks.

Julierose said...

Such a lovely virtual walk among all those beautiful flowers and trees--here we are gray, gray gray, rainy and cold...BUT
I was able to actually die cut a few hexagons for handwork this afternoon--progress;)))
hugs, Julierose

Sara said...

What beautiful blooming plants! That would be an awesome walk to take. I have a brown thumb so do very little gardening but I totally enjoy what other folks plant.

Cathy said...

Your baskets are coming along nicely! Beautiful blooming things. Could the unidentified flowers be trumpet vine (orange climber) and a morning glory (purple)? I love bottle brush trees and I believe they used to have some at the LA County Arboretum.

SJSM said...

Those basket embroideries are coming out so beautifully. Paprika downloaded the orange cake. That’s a win for several friends so a dessert will be in the offering. Thanks. The last flower is a a statice. I love those in flower arrangements. They come in several colors but the purple is the one I most often see. You had a lovely day.

Susan said...

Lovely flora pictures (and kitty pictures). The upside down cake looks delicious. We generally leave our lights up until after Epiphany. When I was still in high school one years, my mom left the tree up until May for my brother who was in the Marines was able to come home on leave. It was a request from my brother. I know another person who left their tree up until Fat Tuesday. They were giving it up for Lent.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I'm trying so hard not to be jealous of you right now and I must admit it's awfully hard! We woke up to -31C this morning (and yes, you read that right!). The sun is shining and doing its level best to lull us into thinking it's a whole lot warmer.

Shirley said...

Barbara thank you for sharing the orange recipe, I made it yesterday and it’s sooooo good! This one will go in the books as a winner! I didn’t have marmelade but used apricot jam instead, like I do on Dutch apple cakes. It’s so fresh yet sweet, and lovely moist. I used my 10” cake pan, so the layer of cake is a bit thinner, but it worked.

Melissa said...

The tree with the large seed pods is a golden medallion. The blooms are a gorgeous yellow and attract yellow butterflies. In the Spring the avenues are just beautiful with all the golden medallions and jacarandas which bloom purple. I think the thorny trunked tree is a honey locust and can be called a thorny locust. I see both trees throughout San Diego and SoCal on my walks.

Lyndsey said...

Love all the photos and that dessert looks fabulous. Thanks for sharing the recipe, I will be making it, maybe even today.