Vintage Rose and Lavender – Sheffield Clandestine Cake
The scene was set – a lovely sunny (yes, really) Sunday afternoon in Sheffield. Perfect to evoke memories of begone days for the theme of Vintage. To give us further inspiration our fab by nature and fab by name organizer @fabcoach, or Karen Perkins in the real world, added Lavender and Rose to the title. Our clandestine venue, revealed only a couple of days beforehand, was @ThelmasCafeDeli.
Situated on Sharrow Vale Road, behind Ecclesall Road, Thelma’s Cafe were the perfect hosts from the minute we arrived until we left. The staff were very friendly and attentive and allowed us use of their vintage styled back room. We were provided with ample plates and cutlery and they even suggested bringing in paper towels to wipe the cake slices with.
Upon learning the theme I was determined to find a cake with both lavender and rose in. Thankfully in my ever increasing library of cake books I have Fiona Cairn’s ‘The Birthday Cake Book’. Hidden away in the book is a very indulgent blackberry, lavender, rose and white chocolate cake. The recipe does say you can swap the blackberries for raspberries and since it was June I did put English raspberries in the compote. The cake is a sandwich cake which you put 200g of melted white chocolate in the mix. The lavender is infused overnight in a fresh raspberry compote. The topping is made of double cream, another 200g of white chocolate and a good splash of rosewater. To pretty the cake up I made three pink fondant icing roses and added a good sprinkling of pink and ivory edible pearls. Earlier in the week I had raided the charity shops of Chesterfield to get my bargain 99p vintage plate.
Onto the meeting and we had a marvellous total of 11 cakes with a variety of flavours, styles and decoration. It was lovely to see some new faces at our third meeting and nice to see some now familiar faces. We also had some non-baking guests which is not a problem considering the amount of cake we had!
First up for inspection was organizer Karen’s rosewater sponge and filling, iced cake. This was beautifully decorated with frosted roses. Karen had dipped the roses in egg whites and then covered with sugar. The cake was presented on a vintage glass cake stand.
Debs had made use of her Grandma’s vintage plate to bring along her lemon and lavender drizzle cake. After Debs had made the cake she decided she needed some roses to decorate the top and her husband suggested using the dried rose arrangement from her wedding cake!
Another veteran of three meetings is Christine. This time Christine decided to try a chocolate chiffon cake for the first time. The pink frosting on the top was flavoured with rose water.
For those unfamiliar with a chiffon cake Christine was able to give us the history of it. What makes it different is there is no butter in the mix but vegetable oil and six egg whites are used to give it its fluffy texture. The recipe was originally devised in 1927 by an American insurance agent, named appropriately, Harry Baker. The recipe was kept secret by Baker for 20 years until he sold it to General Mills. They created the name ‘chiffon cake’ and released it in a recipe pamphlet under the ‘Betty Crocker’ name in 1948. Christine’s version of the cake had its own secret as the home grown cottage roses on top of the cake were actually in a vase as the cake had been made in a bundt tin.
Helen made an Angel Food Cake with chopped rose petals and lavender, a rose petal curd filling and decorated with frosted ‘Rosa moyesii’ petals. The curd was homemade by Helen after she raided the garden of her two neighbours in order to gather enough petals to make it. The fat-free, egg white mixture gave the cake an almost meringue like texture and the curd was a revelation, being both usual and delicious.
We were joined today by post-grad student gal pals Holly and Tacita, thus proving the Clandestine Cake Club welcomes both young and old bakers and the extremely intelligent! Our vintage theme inspired Holly to make a rose and Earl Grey cake with raspberry filling. It was first time Holly had used fondant icing to cover a cake and she also made the rose petals to cover her cake.
Thankfully there was no copying between our student bakers as Tacita made a very different cake with lemon, rosewater and pistachio. A topping of whole pistachios added to those in the cake. Tacita pricked the cake after it was cooked to run the lemon juice through.
Betsy arrived with a cake (far left in the photo below) which she said wasn’t very vintage as she had decided at the last minute to bake a cake and come along. Since we are all such lovely people we obviously didn’t boot Betsy out (she had bought cake after all) and were very happy to try her gluten-free lemon and orange polenta cake. The polenta gave the cake a good crunchy texture and the citrus juice added a real zing. For the vintage credentials oranges and lemons have been used for centuries in Britain, so there was certainly no problem with the day’s theme.
A ginger cake with rosewater drizzle icing was provided by Caroline. A wonderfully sticky cake it was chock-a-block full of both stem and ground ginger, spices and black treacle.
Our husband and wife baking duo were Paul and Moira, Their Madeira cake had a passionfruit glaze which was filled with Mascarpone buttercream. Paul had made the fondant icing for the first time and flavoured it with rose. To complete the cake it was topped with a rose and leaf and Moira even arrived with a vase of roses!
Our final cake was Clare’s pistachio and rosewater cream cake with fresh strawberries. Presented on her Mum’s vintage plate, Clare added lemon to the cream icing and somehow managed to cover all the side with chopped pistachios.
I have to admit I did try a piece of all ten of the other cakes that had been brought along. So once our time was up I waddled out with box of my leftover cake and a selection of some of the others for Mr Jibberjabber and the minis to try.
If you want to join us in cake please have a look at www.clandestinecakeclub.co.uk. Sheffield have meetings planned for 28th July (Olympic theme), 25th August (Picnic theme) and 22nd September (Autumn style). If you don’t live in Sheffield don’t worry as there are now over 130 clubs through the UK and beyond so there should be one near you.