Sheffield Clandestine Cake Club – Live the American Dream

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Logo created by Anita Mangan Inspired by her designs for the CCC Cook Book. Linked to her website ‘The Cooper Family’ where you will see more of Anita’s design work.

On a beautiful summer’s afternoon we made our way through the Peak District to the Swiss House Bed & Breakfast run by Clandestine Cake Club members Mary and Martha Holmes. A welcome breeze wafted through the breakfast room as we sat down to enjoy our American themed cakes.

Mary and Martha made a cake each and they were completely different from each other. Mary made a delightfully light Lemon Chiffon Cake with whipped cream and blueberries. The recipe was originally created in 1927 by Californian insurance salesman, Harry Baker, who kept it a secret until he sold it to General Mills. They gave it the name ‘Chiffon Cake’ and published it as part of a recipe leaflet under their Betty Crocker brand.


In contrast Martha made the gloriously chocolatey Brooklyn Blackout Cake. This involved baking three layers of chocolate cake of which one is blitzed into crumbs to sprinkle on top. Inbetween the layers and covering it was a chocolate custard. The Brooklyn Blackout Cake was invented by the Ebinger Baking Company which had a number of stores around Brooklyn, New York. It was inspired by the blackouts in World War II that required lights to be turned off and windows covered with dark material.


Our organiser and Life Coach Karen Perkins came with Jaimee who made a Disney Cake with a Minnie and Micky Mouse chocolate cake inspired by her recent visit to Disney Land. Jaimee used some of the cocoa she brought back from America in her American recipe but only made half the frosting. I’m not sure why any more would have been necessary!


From cartoon characters we went to literary heroines with Fleur’s Anne of Green Gables Plum Upside Down Cake. The novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery was a favourite of Fleur’s mother as a child. The rice malt syrup in the recipe was replaced by agave syrup.


Fleur’s Mum Christine made a four layer Key Lime Cake based on the pie which was first made in Key West, Florida. The Graham Cracker crumbs around the side were substituted with digestive biscuits. Christine decided to reduce the quantity of lime flavoured frosting and omit the cream stated in the recipe. How much frosting do Americans need?!


 We went down to the deep south of America with Deb’s Hummingbird Bundt Cake. Deb found the recipe in an American friend’s cookbook and contained the traditional banana, pineapple and walnuts.


You can’t get much more American than Apple Pie and Victoria came up trumps with her Apple Pie Cake. A combination of a can of apple pie filling, walnuts, cinnamon made for a very morish and moist cake.


I decided to make an chocolate iced ring doughnut cake. This was based on a Savarin recipe which I drizzled a sugar syrup on (50g caster sugar dissolved into 50ml of hot water). Then I made some chocolate icing with 70g of icing sugar mixed with 1 tbsp cocoa powder and 1 tbsp milk. This went on top with some chocolate strands to finish off.


Many thanks to Martha and Mary for hosting us in their lovely B&B. Join us on the 1st August for our Yorkshire Day Celebrations sponsored by Yorkshire Tea. We are also holding our annual Cakenic on 10th August.


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