We braved the weather for our May meeting of the Sheffield Clandestine Cake Club to make our way to Dave Darwent’s marvellous garden high up in the south-west Sheffield suburbs. Dave opens his garden several times each for the National Gardens Scheme but we were lucky enough to have our own private opening plus plenty of cake and drinks.
With our location being in such a beautiful garden our theme was appropriately ‘Cakes from the vegetable patch’. In total we had 20 cakes of which six had beetroot in. We could have had our own beetroot bake off but remember there is no judging of cakes at Clandestine Cake Club meetings!
Our second Karen also made a chocolate and beetroot cake with a chocolate ganache topping. Her cake though also had candied beetroot and walnuts on top.
Paul came with his wife Moira and a cake so freshly baked it was still warm! He adjusted a recipe he found so he could scale it up to fit his larger tin. His chocolate and beetroot cake contained sunflower oil instead of butter plus some maple syrup and honey to sweeten it.
The garden theme was evident in home coach Helen‘s cake with her home made bunting on top of her rich chocolate and beetroot cake. The 85% cocoa solids chocolate was mixed with ground almonds and finished off with a sour cream, icing sugar and dark chocolate frosting.
Mother and daughter Sophie and Charlotte have become chocolate and beetroot cake experts this week as this one was the fourth one they had baked! They added some lemon juice to the mix to help bring out the natural red colour of the beetroot. Some edible flowers, butterflies and ladybirds finished it off perfectly. My daughter made a special request to take some of this cake home with us.
Our last beetroot cake was made by Vicky and it was the only one without chocolate in. Instead Vicky used a Nigel Slater recipe which has a mixture of seeds including linseeds, sunflower and poppy seeds in it to give the cake a crunch.
Our next batch of cakes were the parsnips! Alice added stem ginger to the parsnip base and added some fried parsnips to put on the icing topping.
There was no mistaking Suzanne had made a parsnip cake as she put a whole parsnip on top! In the actual cake was some mixed fruit, spice and ginger. The icing on top was made from lemon and yoghurt.
From parsnips we went to carrots with a cake from our second Suzanne. Her carrot cake had pecans in it and was topped off with cream cheese frosting and fondant carrots.
Deb used carrots in her cake but also added some courgette and orange too. The extra vegetables was shown off by the homemade fondant vegetables on the cream cheese frosting.
Mary and her sister Martha run the Swiss House bed and breakfast in Castleton and gave us a taster of what their guests can expect with her courgette and raisin cake. The cream cheese topping was finished off with a ring of pistachios.
Our other courgette cakes also had a citrus zing to them. Liz made a courgette and lemon drizzle cake. In the sponge mix she added some poppy seeds.
There was no mistaking who made the cake with the bright pink icing as it matched its baker’s hair! Dawn made her own lemon curd to fill her courgette, lemon and raisin cake. I’m hoping she gets the chance to make a rainbow cake soon.
We were back to the root vegetables with a sweet potato cake from famed local baker Silvana. Her pretty bundt cake had a rhubarb liquor butter glaze.
Some more deep digging was required for the swede in Christine’s cake taken from Harry Eastwood’s ‘Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache’ book. The drizzle on top was made by infusing rosemary and orange. The gluten-free recipe has rice flour in it and uses the swede to replace any fats.
The chocolate heartache cake in Harry Eastwood’s book was made by Christine’s daughter Fleur. The dark chocolate was combined with puréed aubergine to make a very rich cake which shimmered with edible gold glitter.
Mary came with her sister Martha who also made a chocolate and aubergine cake. Her recipe was from the Green & Black’s chocolate recipe book. There was no skimping on the chocolate with a whopping 300 grammes of 70% dark chocolate used in it but no added fat or sugar.
The most intriguing cake of the day came from our host, Dave. A pound of Brussels sprouts went into his cake. Yes, you read that right. The icing on top had no artificial colouring in it as avocado was used to give it its green hue. A splash of lime juice stopped it discolouring.
I used some of the rhubarb from my garden to make a rhubarb and lemon ginger cake. The rhubarb was poached in a caster sugar and lemon juice syrup and then put on top of a ginger cake with both ground ginger and crystallised ginger in it.
My daughter kept with her continuing chocolate theme by making a chocolate and mashed potato cake. This was made by combining the mashed potato with flour, almonds, whisked egg whites and yolk and a quantity of finely chopped dark chocolate. Some grated chocolate topped it off.
While I tried my best to sample as many as possible I was defeated but I was able to take a box full of samples home as usual. Many thanks to everyone who came with their fabulous creations. Special thanks to Karen for organizing but especially for Dave for allowing us in his garden and keeping us supplied with tea and coffee. If you want to join us our next meeting is on the 22nd June with the theme of Cocktails and Mocktails plus an American extravaganza on the 13th July.