Sheffield Clandestine Cake – Vampire Cakes
A balmy May evening provided the perfect backdrop for our Vampire theme event. Our organizer Karen Perkins alias @fabcoach on Twitter, gave us the challenge of Vampire cakes in honour of the anniversary of the first publication of Bram Stoker’s Gothic classic Dracula. On 26th May 1897 Archibald Constable and Company published the first edition of a book which over a hundred years later still sells thousands of copies each year and has given rise to over 200 films.
I decided to make a chocolate sponge Vampire Bat cake. Not being the greatest cake decorator my cake was based on a classic four egg chocolate Victoria sponge (1897 was Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee year as well). I covered the bottom layer with strawberry jam and then buttercream. The top layer I cut out three circles from the middle and put to one side. The two pieces left I turned around and placed on top of the bottom layer to form the wings. Two of the circles were sandwiched together with jam and buttercream and put at the bottom of the cake to be the head. The final circle was cut in half and put at the top of the head to make the ears. To give the cake some gloss and extra chocolate flavour I melted some good quality cooking chocolate in a bain-marie and covered the top. With a chop-stick (it worked!) I outlined the bat’s wings. Being a hot day I placed it in the fridge for a couple of hours to set. Just before I left I added a glacé cherry cut in half for the eyes and used some icing pens to make a nose and mouth complete with dripping blood – I kept thinking of the photograph of Christopher Lee in Hammer’s film version. Thank you to my Brother for making my description card.
Since Clandestine Cake Clubs are designed to be fun events without any judging I thought I would get in the spirit of the evening and get dressed up. Lurking in the back of my wardrobe was a long black dress I bought for my 3rd Year University Christmas Ball. Teamed with a spider’s web style cardigan and blood red lipstick it was as close to Mina as I was going to get.
Now dressed and cake complete I had to get it to our secret location. Karen had found us a real gem in the Honey Pie Tearoom located on the Chesterfield Road, close to Meersbrook Park. It’s a lovely vintage styled café serving real tea and their own homemade cakes, all served on a variety of antique crockery. It’s been a long time since I was given not just the choice of teas they had on offer but also had real tea leaves. I read on their menu this: ‘Bringing People together through the power of tea and cake’. What better place for a meeting of the Clandestine Cake Club?
We had five cakes to show off to each other and our guest cake scoffers. First up was Diana’s Chocolate No-mess cake with a Bite. Shaped like a vampire bat, Diana based the cake on an American recipe (measured by cups rather than weight). Instead of eggs Diana used vegetable oil and made the topping from low-fat cream cheese. The bite? Well, it was addition of chilli and I can confirm it did give the cake an extra kick.
Rachel came with her Blood Vampire Madeira cake with buttercream and jam filling. It was the first time Rachel had made a Madeira cake and used fondant icing, and a fine job she did of too. The bat shapes she cut very precisely from a stencil and used a red icing pen for the writing (I’ve never had much success with them!).
The stunning blood red cake came from Christine. The amazing red colour was created using red gel colouring added to cream cheese to make the frosting. Christine also made the three black roses herself. Again she used gel colouring to get the perfect colour. A sprinkle of matching glitter finished it off. All of this was hiding a wonderful Chocolate Guinness Cake. Based on a Nigella Lawson recipe, I have been wanting to try this cake for ages (it’s a favourite amongst cyclists) but I have always been put off by the thought of it having a taste of stout. No fear however as the Guinness made it moist and gave a real depth to the chocolate taste without making it bitter. Although it is naturally a very dark cake, Christine added some of the black colouring to give the perfect Gothic look.
Last cake of the evening was from our Organizer-in-Chief, Karen. A beautifully decorated vampire’s coffin complete with crucifix, red rose and flying bats, was hiding a secret underneath. The cake itself was a Victoria Sponge with fresh raspberry, vanilla and white chocolate buttercream. However, under the coffin was what Karen first described as ‘real blood’! Quickly seeing our panicked faces Karen then explained it was actually fresh raspberries. Not only did this look great it also added to the taste.
So after presenting our cakes it was time to start sampling them. Soon our very pretty plates were full and the conversation started. Within no time it was time to claim our take-home samples and think on to our next meeting. Make a note of it – Sunday 24th June, 3-5pm. The theme will be Vintage Lavender & Roses and the location as always to be revealed only a few days beforehand. You can find further details on http://www.clandestinecake.co.uk.
Thanks again to Karen for organizing another great event and also to Honey Pie Tearoom for staying open just for us. Thanks also to my fellow Cakers for coming along and sharing their wonderful creations with all of us.
As a last note on the way home Mr Jibber Jabber suggested we stop for a few minutes at the park with the Mini Jibber Jabbers as it was such a nice evening. The name of the park? Where else than Graves Park…