It’s August, school’s out and time for a picnic but being members of the Clandestine Cake Club there can only be one type of food at our picnic and that’s cake! Being the friendly bunch we are we joined together Sheffield, Chesterfield and Newark & Sherwood groups for a 3 counties gathering in North Derbyshire. Like myself, Christine is a member of all three groups and was very kind in being our hostess for the afternoon. The sun shone and we were able to have the meeting outside in Christine’s lovely garden which she and her husband open each year for the National Gardens Scheme. Being a picnic or cakenic we had a selection of both sweet and savoury cakes and a table for each.
Christine took her hostess duties very seriously and baked us a sweet and savoury cake. Her sweet cake was a raspberry layer cake with raspberries from her garden. The sponge had Amaretto sugar in it and in the syrup drizzled over the top. The filling was made from cream, mascarpone and icing sugar.
The savoury cake that Christine made was a feta cheesecake. It is made from a Delia Smith recipe in her Summer Collection book. The base of it was made out of breadcrumbs.
Sheffield organizer and Life Coach, Karen Perkins made a tropical fruit and cherry cake based on a recipe in the Clandestine Cake Cookbook. She baked the tea loaf for just 40 minutes rather than the stated time. It was served with some Yorkshire butter.
Our representative from Newark & Sherwood, Debs, also made a cake from the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook. Her cake was the Guinness Tea Loaf with a sprinkle of glitter. Deb also found that she needed to cook her cake for less time than stated in the recipe. Note to all bakers: all ovens differ so check your cakes ¾ of the way through!
On our savoury table we had two based on the same recipe but with two distinctly different tastes. Both Jean and Dave made their version of Rachel Khoo’s Little Paris Kitchen recipe for Cheese, Pistachio and Prune Cake. Jean from Baking in Franglais switched the goat’s cheese for Shropshire Blue, the pistachios for walnuts and the prunes for pear! She kept the other ingredients which included natural yoghurt and olive oil.
Dave also opens his garden in Sheffield for the National Gardens Scheme and gets plenty of baking practice in for his hungry garden visitors. His take on Rachel Khoo’s cake did include the goat’s cheese and pistachios but the prunes were swapped for olives. Dave decided to bake the cake like a Balmoral shaped cake and used his milk roll tin. The piping on the cake is cream cheese.
Mother and daughter duo Carol and Amy came with two cakes. Their savoury cake was a goat’s cheese, apricot and hazelnut cake. The original recipe had raisins instead of apricots and I think it was a good idea to put apricots in it.
Their sweet cake was a very summery Pimms Cake. The layered sponge cake had a cream cheese and icing sugar filling and topping with puréed strawberries and blueberries in it.
No picnic is complete without some chocolate and Jamiee’s chocolate cake made sure we got our cocoa rations. She made a chocolate marble cake with white chocolate shavings.
We all have recipes torn out of magazines and newspapers which are stuffed inside other cookbooks and never see the light of day. Margaret however used her tried and tested recipe for Bara Brith with squiggled icing which she spotted in a magazine years ago.
Was it pork pie or was it a cake?! Dawn came over all Heston and made a sweet Victoria sponge cake with lime drizzle and made it look like a pork pie. She used lemon curd in place of the jelly and used marzipan for the raised hot water crust pastry. A combination of red food colouring and vanilla paste was used to get the pastry colour.
If you get your hands on a new baking book you need a good excuse to try out some of the recipes and Alice made a good choice with her Swiss Roll. Her version of the Reader’s Digest Summer Fruit Swiss Roll was filled with seasonal strawberries. It is made healthier by replacing some of the cream filling with Greek yoghurt.
Our second male baker Nick turned to TV’s most famous male baking team of the Hairy Bikers for his gluten-free cake. His almond cake was flavoured with cardamom and Riesling wine and this boozy concoction was a big hit with one of the garden’s bees!
You can’t have a picnic without some sandwiches and we provided some sweet and savoury ones. Junior Baker always likes to make a chocolate cake and baked a chocolate sponge sandwich cake filled with strawberry jam.
I had been wanting the smoked salmon and cucumber cake from Fiona Cairns’ The Birthday Cake Book for some time. You make a soda bread and bake it in a 6in cake tin to keep its shape and then cut it and fill it with layers of smoked salmon, cucumber, cream cheese, chives, lemon juice and a dash of black pepper. The sandwich is then put back together and covered in cream cheese with smoked salmon ‘roses’ and cucumber knots on top.
So that concluded our afternoon of cake eating and sharing. Keep the 28th September free for our next Sheffield meeting. Before that the Chesterfield group will be meeting on 15th September with the theme A Cake From Your Favourite Book. Many thanks to Christine and her husband for letting us meet in their beautiful garden.