On a clear, sunny afternoon with the leaves starting to turn golden the Sheffield Clandestine Cake Club celebrated the coming of the new season with the theme ‘Autumn Style’. Our organiser Karen Perkins (@fabcoach) arranged for us to meet at ‘Perfectly Dressed’ (www.perfectlydressed.co.uk) on Abbeydale Road South. ‘Perfectly Dressed’ sells a selection of designer and high street clothes at outlet prices. The two floors of clothes, shoes, jewellery and bags provided us with some retail therapy while we recovered from our cake tasting.
I decided to make a pear, cardamom, poppy seed and walnut cake. The pears were liberated from a tree close to where I live (the owner said they just fall on the floor and go rotten – yes I was shocked too). I’m not the biggest fan of pears so I thought it would be a good excuse to bake a cake I wouldn’t normally make. In the cake mixture was chopped pears, poppy seeds, crushed cardamom seeds and chopped walnuts. Plenty of different flavours and textures! On top were slices of pears fanned around walnut halves. Once the cake had cooked and cooled slightly a honey glaze was brushed on.
Our first cake up for inspection was Caroline’s Plum and Ginger Upside Down cake. The plums were lovely and juicy and the ginger complemented it perfectly without overpowering it. Full marks to Caroline for managing to get it out of the tin without it sticking or falling apart!
Next we had our young baker, nine year old Fleur. She made a Raspberry Bakewell Cake. It was an all-in-one cake made with ground almonds and fresh raspberries from her garden. On the top was a scattering of flaked almonds and icing sugar.
Our Queen of the Bundt, Christine made a British Apple Bundt cake. Christine has become a fan of Bundt tins and in particular the website of a Bolton Clandestine Cake Club member, www.dollybakes.co.uk. It is a recipe on this site that Christine used for her cake. The grated apples were a combination of Bramley and Cox’s apples from Christine’s garden. Oil was used instead of butter in the cake. On top there was a glaze of maple syrup and butter, plus a sprinkling of Christine’s signature glitter.
To celebrate the Autumn Equinox Deb made a night and day cake. Based on a Victoria sponge cake, half of the cake was chocolate and half was orange with buttercream fillings to match. The decoration of the cake was split in half with blue icing and stars on one side and orange icing and acorn leaves on the other side.
Once the cake had been cut the dramatic contrast of colours could be seen in its full glory.
The sole male baker of the day was Mark who came with his carrot cake. Mark uses pecans instead of walnuts, as his daughter used to be allergic to walnuts. Added to the ingredients was some extra maple syrup. It was one the first cakes he ever made and everyone who tasted it enjoyed it so he has kept making it over the years.
As proof that baking is back in fashion Sian came along with the first cake she had baked in about seven years. Her coffee and walnut cake had coffee in the cooked cake and then more coffee poured into the warm cake once it had baked. It was served with a cappuccino style topping of mascarpone and coffee.
The final cake of the day was from our organiser Karen. This was a dark feast of roast hazelnuts and Belgian chocolate. Based on a recipe from ‘Great British Bake Off: How to Bake’, it has egg yolks in the cake mixture with the egg whites whisked and folded in.
As always our table was a splendid array of different colours, flavours, textures and styles. Thanks to Karen for her continued efforts in arranging our meetings and finding us new locations. Also thanks to Jane of ‘Perfectly Dressed’ for keeping open for us and supplying us with tea and coffee.