I had the great honour of attending the Clandestine Cake Club birthday party in Liverpool last weekend. It’s now three years since Lynn Hill hosted her first secret gathering in Leeds and my, look how much cake love has been shared since!
It was off to the Novotel in Liverpool I went, with Debs, the Newark & Sherwood group organizer. As you may know I am a member of the Newark & Sherwood, Chesterfield, and Sheffield groups and I was proud to fly the flag for us. Liverpool was chosen as our host city because the party was held in conjunction with Renshaw Baking who are based in Liverpool.
When we arrived at the Novotel we brought out our cakes and soon the table was full with our offerings. When you walked into the room you could smell the sugar and chocolate rising up enticing us in!
There were too many cakes to go through individually but I will mention a few in dispatches (because I scoffed them). The Phantom of the Opera cake was made by Debs. All the decorations she make herself including the fabulous mask.
The Honey Nut Bundt was made by Rachel of Dolly Bakes and organizer of the Bolton Clandestine Cake Club. Sharon made the Streusel Wreath cake. She is the organizer of the Pudsey Clandestine Cake Club and chronicles her cake making and post box spotting at Humbugs House. It was lovely to finally meet Sharon and her husband and have a chat about life’s important matters (yes cake, post boxes and football). Both Rachel’s and Sharon’s cake would make wonderful Christmas cakes as an alternative to the traditional fruit cake.
Since it was a 3rd birthday party I made a cake which I knew a three year old would love. I have great recent experience in this matter! It was a chocolate sponge covered in orange buttercream and then decorated with chocolate fingers and buttons. I picked out ‘3’ in white chocolate buttons.
Renshaw decorated each table with a cake displaying some amazing decorating skills. We were wondering how the fluffy towel effect was created and apparently it was achieved by using a nail brush!
Although we had plenty of cake to share around it won’t have been a proper birthday party without a showstopping birthday cake. This magnificent cake was made by Terry Tang Designer Cakes, who are based in Liverpool. Can you identify some of the Clandestine Cake Club members?
Not being one for cake decorating myself I was a little daunted by the thought of a demonstration by Renshaw but I was quite engrossed by it. We were shown by Claire how to marzipan and ice a traditional fruit cake. There was a number useful tips I picked up. To calculate the amount of marzipan needed to cover a fruit cake the formula is simply half the weight of the cake. The reason we need to boil the apricot jam and water to brush across cake and marzipan is to blitz away any bacteria and to stop the jam from fermenting. The finished decoration was a very easy to make Christmas tree made by snipping branches with a pair of small scissors.
After a nice buffet lunch, designed to gently line our stomachs, it was time to test the cakes! Since we only had small plates I obviously had to go back twice to restock my plate. Afterwards there was a terrible scene of cake devastation!
We each got given a goody bag from Renshaw containing a selection of their marzipan, coverings and icing. After that we cut the big birthday cake, which seemed a terrible shame but it was made to be eaten! After saying our goodbyes and a big thank you to Lynn and Renshaw it was time to head home.