So the big day had arrived and it was time for Sheffield to have its début meeting of the Clandestine Cake Club (CCC). Founded by Lynn Hill, the CCC has in recent months has exploded with popularity with now over 100 clubs across not only Britain but the world. The rules are quite simple: no cupcakes, muffins, pies, tarts, cake pops or brownies; no judging – it’s not a competition; each meeting can have a theme; the location of the meeting is only disclosed a couple of days beforehand (hence the ‘clandestine’ nature of the club). I had been waiting for a Sheffield group to be formed for some time as I had been too lazy, sorry busy, to set one up myself. On the day it was announced I was straight on the website, http://www.clandestinecakeclub.co.uk, got my place booked.
Organised by Karen Perkins of @fabcoach fame, the theme of the meeting was to be Astronomical Cakes in honour of 28 April being National Astronomy Day. I decided to heed my husband’s warning of not Googling ‘space cake’ and instead plumped for a star theme. Since I’m not a cake decorator I thought it was best to go for something simple but striking. So armed with copious amounts of ready-to-roll icing in both white and red, 2 star cutters left over from Christmas cookies and a can of edible gold spray paint, I managed to recreate this effort, ‘Shooting Stars’.
Thankfully all the stars stayed on and I was able to transport it to the location in one piece. Underneath the actual cake was a lemon Madeira cut into three layers and spread with a zingy lemon curd buttercream. I always do a Madeira cake rather than a sponge if it needs icing as the more solid texture won’t collapse and it lasts better.
So onto the secret location which was the lovely home of our generous organiser. Once the cakes had been laid out the spread looked very impressive in both number and diversity of interpretations.
So onto the individual cakes. First up is our host Karen’s Stars & Planets cake. Decorated with Flying Saucer sweets and Milky Way Stars, Karen made a Victoria Sponge filled with homemade strawberry jam.
Rachel presented us with a chocolate cake with chocolate icing, 5 chocolate planets and an iced star. She made the chocolate truffle planets with Galaxy chocolate (what else?!).
Paul came with his delightful wife, Moira, and treated us to a traditional Victoria Sponge. On the top mapped out with silver balls was the constellation of Orion. Paul said he had a problem with cake carrier lid taking off some of the top of the sponge but I did suggest it was a cloudy night. Rather impressively Paul hand whisked the mixture. Yes, hand whisked with a fork.
Our next up was Betsy’s Ginger Partial Eclipse cake. Although Betsy said she wasn’t very good at decorating cakes I loved the simple idea which fitted in with the day’s theme so well. The sponge was really light and the ginger gave it a really nice tang.
Our sole planet cake came from Jean who made us Mars. The stunning red colour was completely natural and came from blackcurrants grown in Jean’s garden. This covered a Madeira cake flavoured with apricot jam.
Deb bought us a wonderfully creative chocolate rocket cake. A flag marked the spot where the astronauts had named it ‘Planet Ekac’. The chocolate had been flavoured with mint to give it a little twist.
From Catherine we had lemon ‘Stars at Night’. Catherine said it had originally been a traybake but the decoration didn’t go as planned. Her rescued effort though was very effective and tasted great too.
From Francesa we had a chocolate and vanilla marble ring cake coated with a dark chocolate icing. The ring cake with its dark colour was the perfect setting for a ‘Black Hole’.
Our second Rachel of the meeting professed to not being much of a baker but liked the idea of an afternoon of eating cake. To overcome the entry requirements Rachel made an refrigerator cake out of Milky Way chocolate bars.
The lovely space shuttle cake was made by Suzanne. She covered a lemon sponge with cream and berries, which gave the cake a great taste. I have to admit I’m a bit of a sucker for a cake with fresh berries.
The beautifully decorated white shooting stars cake was made by Christine. I guess Christine and I had the same inspiration for our design and we both went for lemon cakes with a lemon curd buttercream filling, although Christine’s cake had four layers to it. Christine also went to the effort of making her own lemon curd. Obviously Christine is a bit of a deft touch with some icing to produce such a professional cake and even finished it off with some gold shimmer glitter.
Just about as we were to dive in another guest arrived. Unfortunately I was already dribbling with anticipation to catch her name but I did get a photo of her cake before battle commenced. This striking orange star was constructed with two sponge cakes and decorated with orange Smarties.
So after feeling a bit sad about the cutting our of beautiful cakes we got a grip of ourselves and started filling up our plates.
After an hour or so of chat and cake eating I left Karen to clear up the remains of the afternoon’s cake chaos. All I have left to say is thanks Karen and thanks fellow Clandestine Cakers for a marvellous time and I hope we can do it again sometime.