Incredible ladies – Kate Sheppard

This is the first in a series of incredible ladies that I think everyone should know about. And some baking to go with, cause who doesn’t love reading about history with something sweet to eat. A cup of tea would go with it pretty well too.

Blueberry cake

Kate Sheppard may be a familiar name to kiwis, hopefully not only from being on the $10 note! She was the leader of the suffrage movement in New Zealand – the first country in the world to give women the right to votes. Kate’s efforts and success was an inspiration to women in other countries fighting for the same rights.

Kate and her team worked tirelessly. SHe spoke at public meetings, wrote pamphlets, and campaigned endlessly. Three petitions were brought to the parliament, each longer than the last, before a women’s suffrage bill was passed in 1893.

However this was finally achieved ten short weeks before the next election. Again, Kate and the suffragettes encouraged women to register as voters. That year, nearly two-thirds of eligible women voted, a very impressive achievement.

Kate also has some kick ass quotes from her campaigning. She wrote that women should vote because “it has not yet been proved that the intelligence of women is only equal to that of children, nor that their intelligence is on par with that of lunatics or criminals”.

And another which is still relevant to women today

“we are tired of having a ‘sphere’ doled out to us, and being told that anything outside that sphere is ‘unwomanly’.”

In the Beehive (NZ’s parliamentary building) you can actually go to see a copy of the scroll and it is HUGE! If you would like more information on Kate, check out here and here and here and here.

Now onto the cake!

Blue berry and lemon cake

I did make a cake to go along with this. It is a blueberry cake with lemon buttercream frosting. It is blueberry as the note Kate is on is blue. See! I had a tenuous link.

real blueberry cake

Blueberry Cake with Lemon Frosting

  • 150g butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 250g of blueberries
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1 1/4 cup corn flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Beat butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Adds eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Put blueberries and milk in a blender or food processor and pulse until pureed

Whisk flour, corn flour and baking powder lightly to ensure there aren’t any lumps. Alternate folding the flour and the blueberry puree into the mix. Continue until all the ingredients are just combined.

Grease a 7 inch cake tin and spread the mixture evenly between them. Bake at 165C for 40 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Lemon Buttercream

  • Juice of two lemons
  • 125g butter, softened
  • 2 cups of icing sugar

Whip butter for 2 minutes. Add icing sugar in two parts, beating well after each addition. Pour in the lemon juice and continue to whip until light and fluffy. Garnish with lemon zest and a Vote for Women sign.

lemon and blueberry cake

I would recommend using frozen blueberries that you have defrosted. I find frozen vs fresh in my baking doesn’t make much difference when it is getting baked. The cake does get a purpley-blue colour all by itself but you could add a little bit of food colouring to make it more vibrant.

I love that this cake is made of real blueberries! I remember trying to find a strawberry cake last summer and they were all made with jelly. Which seems a really weird idea to me. Gelatin in a cake? Anyway… this cake is delicious and you should try it. And read up on Kate at the same time.

xo Isabel


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