Newark and Sherwood Clandestine Cake Club – The Garden Party
Such is the power of cake and the need to bake, share and eat it, sometimes you need to venture outside of your normal group and see what happens elsewhere. When Christine from the Sheffield group mentioned that the next Newark and Sherwood group meeting would be in nearby Barlborough I knew I had to go. So on a Tuesday evening I set off with my precious cargo to ‘The Garden Party’.
I decided to make the Strawberry and Elderflower Cake that adorns the front of Fiona Cairns’ ‘The Birthday Cake’ book. The recipes uses three sandwich tins and feeds up to 24 people but does state you can halve the ingredients for a smaller cake; which is what I did. The cake is two sponges flavoured with elderflower cordial. In recent weeks the trees around where I live have been heavy with elderflower blossom so it seemed fitting I should make a cake with such an ingredient. The glorious part of the cake is the double cream flavoured again with elderflower cordial and then decorated with fresh strawberries. There is a pick-your-own strawberry field close to the location of the meeting, but sadly the extremely wet weather prevented me from going to pick some very local strawberries.
Our secret location for the night was in fact Christine’s own home and we were made to feel very welcome from the moment I stepped through the door. I took up the offer of a glass of homemade elderflower cordial and started to admire the cakes that had already been bought. Sadly the inclement weather meant we were unable to sit outside for ‘The Garden Party’.
The organizer of the Newark & Sherwood group is Carol Darbourn and she came with her Spanish daughter-in-law Veronica to give her an idea of what English ladies get up to (essentially eat cake, drink tea/coffee/cordial, talk). Carol came with two cakes. The first was a Victorian Rose Geranium cake. The sugar to make the cake had been infused with geranium leaves. The filling of the cake was rose buttercream and more rose was added to the icing on top.
The second cake that Carol bought was a gluten-free Italian cornmeal (Polenta) Lavender and Orange cake. The pretty drizzled icing on top was flavoured with lavender essence and coloured appropriately.
Our lovely hostess Christine made a Strawberry Cheesecake Gateau with strawberries picked from her own garden. To give you an idea of some of the delights in Christine’s garden she is opening it up soon as part of the National Gardens Scheme. The cheesecake had a baked sponge bottom and was topped with light and fluffy cream cheese. The top was sprinkled with glitter to give it a some garden fairy magic.
Christine’s young daughter, Fleur, also baked us a ‘Garden Party Cake’. Made in a Bundt tin, Fleur asked as to guess the secret ingredient of her cake. It was a lovely moist lemon flavour cake. Our guesses ranged from lemon zest to Limoncello but nobody was able detect that garden party favourite of cloudy lemonade.
Deb had made us a Citrus Summer Cake using a recipe from Denby. The buttercream frosting had an added citrus zing to it. To give the cake a garden feel to it Deb decorated it with a rose on top and scattered rose petals from her garden around the plate.
Even though we were forced inside by the weather Helen bought a touch of the outside in with her Garden Party Bunting cake. Helen made the fabric bunting herself and used a vintage miniature teacup for the middle. The cake was a Victorian Sponge cake filled with homemade rose curd and topped with buttercream.
Our final cake of the evening was made by teenage baker Ellie, who came with her Mum. Ellie had made a Lime and Coconut cake. It was delicious filled sponge cake made with desiccated coconut. The icing on top had grated lime zest which made a prefect palate cleanser when required to taste the number of cakes that we had to!
A couple of people I had met previously at the Sheffield group but it was great again to meet some new people and share baking tips. If you fancy joining in with all this cakey fun have a look at www.clandestinecake.co.uk and see if you can find a group near you. If there isn’t a group why not start one yourself? My thanks to Carol for organzing last night and Christine for inviting us in her home. Also, thanks of course to the other bakers and guests who came along and shared their cakes with everyone.