Monday, 13 October 2014

Stamford Clandestine Cake Club - Signature bakes at the William Cecil

We've all been loving the Great British Bake Off, and this month we were inspired by the show to make our Signature Bakes for our meeting of the Clandestine Cake Club. We visited The William Cecil and were hosted in the Darcy and Bennet rooms - how very Pride and Prejudice!

For my signature bake, I made Devil's Food Cake - and I got in a bit of trouble for announcing it to be my favourite of the month! However, once the ruckus had died down, everyone did admit that cake is a very personal thing and we all have our own preferences. And Devil's Food Cake is my preference.

Here's a list of the cakes we baked this month:

Devil's Food Cake - Sophie
Double Chocolate Loaf Cake - Vicky
Lemon Meringue Cake - Louise
Malteaser Cake - Kerry
Lemon Drizzle and Fizzle Cake - Sammy
Green Tea and White Chocolate Opera Cake - Simon
Sticky Marmalade Cake - Rhoda

We had a few absences this month due to work commitments and illness, which was a shame, but a smaller group always means a more intimate discussion. And it means you can try ALL of the cakes without feeling too sick. 

Read more about the Clandestine Cake Club 

Clandestine Cake Club

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Birthday coffee and walnut cake

For my dad's 70th birthday, I was thinking of making an elaborate 70-shaped cake with rolled icing and hours upon hours of decorating. However, my dad simply wanted a coffee and walnut cake. And what the birthday boy wants, he gets. So, a simple coffee and walnut cake it was.

8oz marg
8oz caster sugar
4 eggs, beaten
8oz self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 tsp instant coffee, dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water

Cream the marg and sugar together until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, then sift in the flour and baking powder, before adding the coffee. Pour into 2 prepared round tins. Bake at 180C (160 fan) for about 30 minutes until golden and coming away from the sides of the tins.

I decorated the cake with coffee buttercream, using a pack of butter, about 600g icing sugar, and 3 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water - but let the coffee cool first else it'll heat and melt the butter.

I covered the cake in a thin layer of buttercream before piping roses over the sides, then adding walnuts to the top. For such a simple recipe, this coffee and walnut cake is delicious - proving yet again that simple is best. Dad was really chuffed, and there was loads left over for me to scoff too!

Apple loaf cake for Stamford Cake Club

What to bake for a fairy tale-themed cake club... I decided upon a Snow White-inspired apple loaf cake for the latest meeting of the Stamford Clandestine Cake Club, finished off with Snow White icing and apples on top. We met at Burghley Park, with the wonderful Burghley House as the backdrop for our fairy tale cakes.

The recipe is quite simple and easy to knock together. I did worry about the look of the mixture before it was baked, as there seemed to be far too much apple and not enough cake - but it turned out great in the end. Fluffy and moist without being soggy, tart apples, and sweet icing on top.

200g self-raising flour
75g marg
100g light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Bramley apples, peeled and cored
3 eggs, beaten

Put the marg and flour together in your mixer, and blend until you have fine breadcrumbs (you can do this by hand too). Mix in the sugar and cinnamon.
Add the eggs, and the apples, and gently mix.
Tip into a large loaf tin (I think mine might be a 2lb tin).
Bake in a preheated oven at 180C (160C fan) for about an hour. You could also split this into two smaller tins, but bake for less time.
To finish, make normal icing with icing sugar and hot water - not too runny, but loose enough to drip down the sides a bit.
I made some apples out of Renshaws red paste, making one red and green for the poisoned apple.

I would recommend this cake heartily as it was really delicious.

It was a smaller group at Cake Club this month, with several drop-outs and a few no-shows, but the smaller groups are often my favourites. They give you a chance to talk as a group without feeling like you're holding court. And even if it was just me and one other baker at cake club, I'd still be happy. If you haven't signed up for the Clandestine Cake Club yet, why not!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Total caketastrophy!

My latest attempt to make an Earl Grey tea loaf was a total caketastrophy - I've never had such a cake disaster! All was going well, the mixture tasted lovely when I licked the spoon, but when I went to take it out of the oven all hell broke loose. It had collapsed in the middle, like a volcano. I can only assume it developed a huge air pocket in the middle which exploded. I nearly cried. But the bits around the side still tasted pretty good. Note to self: knock the air out of the tin before you bake!

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Stamford cake club at Love Stamford

This month, I took the Stamford cake club to the new venue Love Stamford. This is a great community venture, mixing shops with a cafe, and a children's play area, plus craft, art, and allsorts of fun stuff. I love the atmosphere in this open-plan venue, and knew it would be perfect for our cake club.

The owner, Andraya, laid out her gorgeous unique armchairs and sofas around little tables for our cakes. It was a great afternoon and everyone enjoyed themselves. Not only did we get the chance to scoff 11 different cakes baked to a Stamford theme, but we also got to do a bit of shopping too - I came away with a new foxy scarf from The Little Scarf Co.

Cakes this month were:
Daniel Lambert Strawberry Roly-Poly Swiss Cake
Georgian vanilla baked cheesecake with almond biscuit base
Dundee cake
Chocolate mousse cake
Chocolate box church cake
Stamford Stone ginger cake
Scripture cake
Daniel Lambert chocolate cake with buttons and belt
Coconut cake with blackcurrant jam
Coffee and walnut cake
Gingerbread cake

All delicious. To find out more about Clandestine Cake Clubs click here