Tag Archives: cakes

Sheffield Clandestine Cake – Crafty Cakes


For our first meeting of 2015 the Sheffield Clandestine Cake Club combined cake, craft and coffee for a trip to Cafe Creation on Abbeydale Road. Owners Lisa and Jen serve a range of scrummy cakes, scones and savoury delights while organising crafting sessions and bistro nights.


Jen and Lisa joined in with the cake making fun with their own beautifully decorated quilt cake. Hiding underneath was an apricot and chocolate chip loaf cake. The flavours were inspired by the most popular flavour of scone served in the cafe.


Mary had her finger on the button with her iced plum and almond Victoria sponge cake. The plum jam was handmade by Mary along with all the colourful buttons. They were made using a mould from Lakeland.


We didn’t have time for a game of chess but Suzanne did provide us with a suitable cake. Her chequerboard cake was lemon flavoured. It was made by baking two cake mixes and then cutting them with round cutters and fitting them into each other to achieve the pattern.


Bake me a cake and paint me a picture was the theme for Bernie. Her vanilla, coconut and almond sponge was covered with buttercream before being topped with icing. She then created the artist’s palate using fondant icing.


Since it’s January and some people are on a health kick Jayne came up with a crafty way to get your five a day. Her cake had a topping of blueberries and raspberries with more blueberries inside plus some lemon curd. Just don’t mention the cream!


There was a touch of magic about Debs’ cake. Her magic chocolate layer cake is made by mixing together one set of ingredients and putting in a baking tin. While it cooks it separates into a base, a mousse-like middle and then a topping. It was all finished off with a touch of glitter.


It was stitches and buttons with a natural twist for Helen. The colours in her cake and for her buttons were all created by using natural colourings. Helen cut off pieces of sweet laces and then embedded them in the icing to create the stitched effect. The buttons were made by using a bottle top to cut out the correct size and then using a slightly smaller bottle top for the inner ring.


Karen came up with a cake that can be craftily adapted for any occasion! Her chocolate peppermint cake had KitKats around the side of it and a topping of Aero peppermint Bubbles. You can change the flavourings and sweet topping to want you like.


It was time to shake things up with Dani’s strawberry milkshake cake. The ombre pink effect on the outside was mirrored inside as well with four different layers. It was finished off with white chocolate buttons which Dani pierced holes to create buttons.


Myself and the junior baker went for a knitted loom cake. We adapted the recipe for Neapolitan cake in the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook and made it into stripes so it resembled a scarf. For the loom part we used mini marshmallows and cola flavour laces.

Many thanks to Cafe Creation for hosting us and to Karen for organising it. We’ll be meeting again on the 21st February. Get ready for some recycling!


Sheffield Clandestine Cake Club – Christmas Cakeathon World Cakes


Christmas may come but once a year however that gives us an extra excuse to try out some fabulously festive cakes! We went along to the winter wonderland that is group member Christine’s house for an afternoon of eating, drinking and talking all things cake!


We kicked off with Christine’s South American Butterscotch Date Loaf with Caramel Icing. It contained candied dates and was topped with the South American favourite of dulce de leche plus cubes of butterscotch.


It was a trip to Hungary for Ruth’s Dobos Torte. The Dobos Torte was created by Austrian pastry chef Jozef C Dobos for the National General Exhibition of Bupapest in 1885. This cake, made famous by the Great British Bake Off, has a mind-boggling seven layers of batter all covered with chocolate buttercream. It was finished off with pieces of caramel.


Jayne went for a very seasonal Mincemeat and Marmalade Cake. This fruity, tangy delight was given a tipsy touch with the addition of some sherry.


Our organiser Karen went for the festive berry of cranberries in her Lemon and Cranberry Drizzle Cake. This recipe used glucose powder instead of standard sugar to make the cake.


Kate made her version of the Finnish Christmas Cake from the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook. The original recipe calls for ligonberries but Kate substituted cranberries for them. It includes white chocolate but also some traditional Christmas flavours in the form of cinnamon, orange zest and the almond liqueur of Amaretto.


It was over to the Philippines for Victoria’s Bibingka cake. This is traditionally eaten during the Christmas period and is a gluten free cake. It contains rice flour and coconut milk with a topping of dessicated coconut.


Debs took her inspiration from Kirstie Allsopp for her Norwegian Spiced Ginger Cake. For her version Debs used golden syrup instead of black treacle to go with an assortment of Christmas spices. It was covered with buttercream and sparkling snowflakes.


The junior baker took a trip to Germany with her version of a Black Forest Gateauhoho. The two chocolate sponges were filled and topped with whipped cream and morello cherry conserve. A grating of dark chocolate finished it off.


I went for a Chocolate, Cranberry and Ginger Bundt Cake. It contained dried blueberries, cherries and small chunks of dark chocolate. It was topped with drizzled white chocolate and dried cranberries.

We’ll be meeting again in the New Year with some Crafty Cakes on 24th January 2015. Do join us for lots of cakey fun!

Sheffield Clandestine Cake Club – Spring Fresh Tastes

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.

After a day of rain and hail the early evening brought us beautiful sunshine – just the right weather for the Sheffield Clandestine Cake Club Spring Fresh Tastes meeting. Our organizer and Life Coach Karen Perkins had arranged for us to have a spring clean of our houses and bring any unwanted but saleable items to the The Conservation Volunteers shop on the Ecclesall Road.


The staff and volunteers had kept the shop open especially for us and supplied us with tea, squash, plates and cutlery, plus the chance to have a look round the shop. Two of the staff even joined us in baking cakes!

The first cake was Douglas’ Lemon Meringue cake which was a delightful combination of fluffy meringue filled with zingy lemon and fresh cream.


The other staff member, Denisa, made a Pineapple and Coconut cake.


This was covered in cream and had a secret spiral filling inside.


We had several new faces, which is always lovely to see. First up was Bernie who made a Ginger Syrup Cake based on recipe in The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook. Bernie liked this recipe because she could make it with ingredients she already had in her cupboards. On the top was a maple syrup frosting.


A classic sponge cake was given a fresh taste by Alison by filling it with her first ever batch of homemade lemon curd and mascarpone. On the top of the lemon sponge was fresh strawberries.


Sisters Mary and Martha of the Swiss House Bed and Breakfast in Castleton took the opportunity to bake something different. Martha’s Orange and Pecan cake also had honey in it with a filling of homemade orange marmalade and mascarpone.


Sister Mary took the recipe for a Victoria Sponge in The Clandestine Cake Cookbook and flavoured it with creamed coconut. The filling was a mix of mascarpone and citrus juices.


Our last newbie was Hannah who made a very pretty two tier sponge cake.


Inside one half was flavoured with lemon zest and the other with lime.


Dave opens his garden throughout the year as part of the National Gardens Scheme and is used to providing his visitors with a selection of teatime treats. He made his own invention of a Citrus Crunch cake which had chopped candied citron peel in it. When cooked this gives the cake a toffee taste. On the top was flaked almonds plus a secret crunch ingredient which we couldn’t guess. This turned out to be brown sugar cubes.


The Carrot cake made by Betsy was the first time she had tried to make carrot cake but it didn’t go as planned! Betsy tip was to make sure you use the right size tin and don’t wash your sultanas. She was able to rescue some slices for us. The cake was made with wholewheat flour and brown sugar. For the cream cheese frosting Betsy also used brown sugar, giving it a darker than normal appearance.


Suzanne raided her garden to add some spring flowers to her Pansy Viola Gâteau Sponge. The cream filling was flavoured with rose. The edible flowers gave a sweet and tangy taste to the cake.

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Our organizer Karen went to the Ukraine and back with her Lemon and Poppyseed cake. A lemon glaze over the top added moistness to the cake.


Another recipe from The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook was the Lemon, Lime and Yoghurt Bundt Cake made by Debs. She added a cream cheese frosting and used tulips from her garden to decorate it.


One of the first sweet treats to show in the garden is rhubarb and Christine cut a batch from her garden and used it her classic combination of Rhubarb and Custard Tea cake. The glitter on the top showed off the rhubarb perfectly.


Christine’s young daughter Fleur made an Apple Crumble cake. This used the last of the stored apples from their garden.


Home Coach Helen has decided to give her diet a spring clean and used flaxseed powder and fruit sugar to give her cake a lower G.I. level. The Cherry and Almond cake was inspired by a recent spring walk in the hills with her friend.


A simple Victoria Sponge was turned into fresh creamy delight by Dawn by filling it with a combination of blueberry, elderflower, coconut and vanilla.


I decided to spring clean my cupboards and use some polenta I had brought previously for another cake. To give the cake a fresh, zesty flavour I put grapefruit peel and juice in it plus some grounded almonds. For extra moistness I made a grapefruit juice syrup of which half is poured over when slightly cooled and the rest when completely cooled.


My baking assistant daughter kept up her chocolate cake theme but this time used mint for a fresh, clean taste. The bottom was a moist chocolate cake made with hot cocoa and crushed clear boiled mints. The middle was a buttercream frosting flavoured with peppermint extract. On top milk chocolate and butter was melted together and a drop of peppermint extract stirred in. Once the chocolate was spread on top it was refrigerated until the chocolate had set.


It was great to see some old friends plus make some new friends. If you want to join our next meeting is 18th May with the theme Cakes from the vegetable patch. On 22nd June we will be gathering again for some Cocktails and Mocktails. How can you resist?!


Sheffield Clandestine Cake Club – Back to the 1950s

Sheffield Clandestine Cake Club – Back to the 1950s

In these austere times the Sheffield Clandestine Cake Club decided to return to a time when Britain was still trying to recover from the ravages of the War. For the first time I was accompanied by my six year old daughter who informed me that she wanted to do a chocolate cake. While I didn’t doubt that there would have been some chocolate cakes in the 1950s I felt it needed to fall more in line with the theme. While reading one night (yes, it was a cycling book) there was a mention of Rock ‘N’ Roll and then I realised we had to make a chocolate Swiss roll or a Choc ‘N’ Roll.

The first attempt didn’t go well as the recipe says to whisk 4 whole eggs with caster sugar until frothy and light. After this sieve in the flour and cocoa powder. However, the egg mixture was still runny at the bottom when we put it into the tin as it hadn’t been whisked enough and it had taken too long to sieve in the flour. Once cooked the cake had an eggy pancake like coating on the bottom. I tried to peel it away and then roll it but it just ended up falling apart. A quick glance at another recipe and it said to whisk for 10 minutes and prepare the flour first. Thankfully, take two worked and the light, chocolate sponge was a delight. Daughter wanted to fill it with homemade strawberry jam (which I can’t take credit for) and chocolate buttercream and finally we had a cake to take with us.

For my cake I decided to make a banana, pecan and maple syrup cake. Bananas were the last item to come out of rationing in 1954. My Mother has told me that she remembers eating her first banana and my Nan had to show her how to peel it.The VW Camper Van is reference to their first appearance in 1950.

I don’t actually like bananas once they have ripened (and that’s putting it mildly) so Daughter had to mash them for me. All the ingredients went into the loaf tin and the recipe said to to top it with the remaining pecans plus dried banana chips and a drizzle of maple syrup. I was a bit a dubious about this as I thought the topping would get crozzled. After the baking time was up my instinct had been right as although the cake was cooked through the top was burnt. I had to salvage the pecans, as I had no more, and the banana chips as there were no more left in my packet of fruit and fibre (remember – austere times). The top was cut off and the pecans and bananas replaced. Back a decade to ‘Make do and mend’!

Once the cakes had cooled there was just enough time to put on a lick of bright red lipstick (shade ‘scarlet velvet’) and make our way to The Vintage Tableware Company (www.thevintagetablewarecompany.co.uk) on Sharrowvale Road. Our room for the afternoon was beautifully laid out with authentic china teacups and saucers plus lashings of English Breakfast and Earl Grey tea and pots of coffee.

Our organiser, Life Coach, Karen Perkins (@fabcoach) made us a Victoria Sponge Cake using the 1950s housewife’s favourite of Stork margarine. The first television advert for Stork was shown in 1955. Karen had baked her cake in her mum’s 1950s’ non non-stick sandwich tins. It was filled with homemade raspberry jam and displayed on a 1950s’ glass cake stand.

Jane brought with her an eggless sponge based on a Marguerite Patten recipe. Jane first looked to her mum’s Good Housekeeping cookbooks from the era for inspiration. However, she found them to be quite plain cakes except for a few photos showing some iced cakes with some crystallised jelly fruits on top.

The attendance of Hannah, a student dentist, proved to us that cake eating obviously has no detrimental effect on oral health. Hannah had made a chiffon cake which became popular in the 1950s after the recipe was first published to the public in 1948. Hannah’s was a lovely lemon feast with a lemon curd filling and lemon icing. Sadly Hannah wasn’t able to take home any of her cake to her hungry student friends as we scoffed the lot.

Just as ‘Great Britsh Bake Off’ has a showstopper we were treated to our own version with Karen Willsmer’s ‘Orange Creamsicle Cake’.

Karen had found that towards the end of the 1950s with the austerity years ending cakes started to become a bit OTT. Inside the amazing piped frosting was four layers of sponge with a secret ingredient of orange gelatine injected into it.

It was Sian’s second appearance at a Clandestine Cake Club gathering and therefore her second homemade cake in about 10 years! Sian went back to her childhood with her ‘School Victorian Sponge’.

‘Baby boomer’ Paul remembers growing up in Glasgow in the 1950s when cake making ingredients were still at a premium. Anyone who could cobble together enough eggs, flour, sugar and butter for a cake must have been doing well. Paul’s mother didn’t use recipes but was able to make cakes by sight of a picture and add whatever she had. Paul for his cake added cherries.

Deb made her Grandma’s favourite of a fruit Genoa cake which requires the eggs to be separated and the whites whisked in. This cake was a must for Sunday tea at her Grandma’s house.

Betsy made her version of Caraway Seed Cake based on Jane Grigson’s recipe in her book ‘English Food’. This has ground almonds in it and proved very popular with the cake eaters.

Christine used a Date and Walnut Cake recipe from Guardian columnist Dan Lepard. Apparently he got the recipe from a lady who had an antiques shop on Kensington High Street and she used to give it out to her customers. The cake had an added ingredient of malt extract in it.

Nine year old Fleur went full retro with her perfectly presented Pineapple Upside Down Cake. The cake had extra zing with some ginger and the pineapples were brightened up further with some glace cherries.

Last but not least was our second Jane of the day with our second Date and Walnut Cake. This one was a round cake topped with a lemon icing.

It was difficult to get a taste of all the cakes in the time allowed especially as we were tempted by the gorgeous vintage china in the adjacent shop. Good job that we had the chance to fill our tins with cake treats to take home. Thank you to Karen for finding us yet another great location and thanks to The Vintage Tableware Company for hosting us and keeping those wonderful teapots filled with tea and coffee.

Sheffield Clandestine Cake Club – Autumn Style

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.

Sheffield Clandestine Cake Club – Vintage Rose and Lavender

Vintage Rose and Lavender – Sheffield Clandestine Cake

The scene was set – a lovely sunny (yes, really) Sunday afternoon in Sheffield. Perfect to evoke memories of begone days for the theme of Vintage. To give us further inspiration our fab by nature and fab by name organizer @fabcoach, or Karen Perkins in the real world, added Lavender and Rose to the title. Our clandestine venue, revealed only a couple of days beforehand, was @ThelmasCafeDeli.

Situated on Sharrow Vale Road, behind Ecclesall Road, Thelma’s Cafe were the perfect hosts from the minute we arrived until we left. The staff were very friendly and attentive and allowed us use of their vintage styled back room. We were provided with ample plates and cutlery and they even suggested bringing in paper towels to wipe the cake slices with.

Upon learning the theme I was determined to find a cake with both lavender and rose in. Thankfully in my ever increasing library of cake books I have Fiona Cairn’s ‘The Birthday Cake Book’. Hidden away in the book is a very indulgent blackberry, lavender, rose and white chocolate cake. The recipe does say you can swap the blackberries for raspberries and since it was June I did put English raspberries in the compote. The cake is a sandwich cake which you put 200g of melted white chocolate in the mix. The lavender is infused overnight in a fresh raspberry compote. The topping is made of double cream, another 200g of white chocolate and a good splash of rosewater. To pretty the cake up I made three pink fondant icing roses and added a good sprinkling of pink and ivory edible pearls. Earlier in the week I had raided the charity shops of Chesterfield to get my bargain 99p vintage plate.

Onto the meeting and we had a marvellous total of 11 cakes with a variety of flavours, styles and decoration. It was lovely to see some new faces at our third meeting and nice to see some now familiar faces. We also had some non-baking guests which is not a problem considering the amount of cake we had!

First up for inspection was organizer Karen’s rosewater sponge and filling, iced cake. This was beautifully decorated with frosted roses. Karen had dipped the roses in egg whites and then covered with sugar. The cake was presented on a vintage glass cake stand.


Debs had made use of her Grandma’s vintage plate to bring along her lemon and lavender drizzle cake. After Debs had made the cake she decided she needed some roses to decorate the top and her husband suggested using the dried rose arrangement from her wedding cake!


Another veteran of three meetings is Christine. This time Christine decided to try a chocolate chiffon cake for the first time. The pink frosting on the top was flavoured with rose water.

For those unfamiliar with a chiffon cake Christine was able to give us the history of it. What makes it different is there is no butter in the mix but vegetable oil and six egg whites are used to give it its fluffy texture. The recipe was originally devised in 1927 by an American insurance agent, named appropriately, Harry Baker. The recipe was kept secret by Baker for 20 years until he sold it to General Mills. They created the name ‘chiffon cake’ and released it in a recipe pamphlet under the ‘Betty Crocker’ name in 1948. Christine’s version of the cake had its own secret as the home grown cottage roses on top of the cake were actually in a vase as the cake had been made in a bundt tin.

Helen made an Angel Food Cake with chopped rose petals and lavender, a rose petal curd filling and decorated with frosted ‘Rosa moyesii’ petals. The curd was homemade by Helen after she raided the garden of her two neighbours in order to gather enough petals to make it. The fat-free, egg white mixture gave the cake an almost meringue like texture and the curd was a revelation, being both usual and delicious.

We were joined today by post-grad student gal pals Holly and Tacita, thus proving the Clandestine Cake Club welcomes both young and old bakers and the extremely intelligent! Our vintage theme inspired Holly to make a rose and Earl Grey cake with raspberry filling. It was first time Holly had used fondant icing to cover a cake and she also made the rose petals to cover her cake.


Thankfully there was no copying between our student bakers as Tacita made a very different cake with lemon, rosewater and pistachio. A topping of whole pistachios added to those in the cake. Tacita pricked the cake after it was cooked to run the lemon juice through.


Betsy arrived with a cake (far left in the photo below) which she said wasn’t very vintage as she had decided at the last minute to bake a cake and come along. Since we are all such lovely people we obviously didn’t boot Betsy out (she had bought cake after all) and were very happy to try her gluten-free lemon and orange polenta cake. The polenta gave the cake a good crunchy texture and the citrus juice added a real zing. For the vintage credentials oranges and lemons have been used for centuries in Britain, so there was certainly no problem with the day’s theme.


A ginger cake with rosewater drizzle icing was provided by Caroline. A wonderfully sticky cake it was chock-a-block full of both stem and ground ginger, spices and black treacle.


Our husband and wife baking duo were Paul and Moira, Their Madeira cake had a passionfruit glaze which was filled with Mascarpone buttercream. Paul had made the fondant icing for the first time and flavoured it with rose. To complete the cake it was topped with a rose and leaf and Moira even arrived with a vase of roses!


Our final cake was Clare’s pistachio and rosewater cream cake with fresh strawberries. Presented on her Mum’s vintage plate, Clare added lemon to the cream icing and somehow managed to cover all the side with chopped pistachios.


I have to admit I did try a piece of all ten of the other cakes that had been brought along. So once our time was up I waddled out with box of my leftover cake and a selection of some of the others for Mr Jibberjabber and the minis to try.


If you want to join us in cake please have a look at www.clandestinecakeclub.co.uk. Sheffield have meetings planned for 28th July (Olympic theme), 25th August (Picnic theme) and 22nd September (Autumn style). If you don’t live in Sheffield don’t worry as there are now over 130 clubs through the UK and beyond so there should be one near you.

Sheffield Clandestine Cake Club – Vampire Cakes

Sheffield Clandestine Cake – Vampire Cakes

A balmy May evening provided the perfect backdrop for our Vampire theme event. Our organizer Karen Perkins alias @fabcoach on Twitter, gave us the challenge of Vampire cakes in honour of the anniversary of the first publication of Bram Stoker’s Gothic classic Dracula. On 26th May 1897 Archibald Constable and Company published the first edition of a book which over a hundred years later still sells thousands of copies each year and has given rise to over 200 films.

I decided to make a chocolate sponge Vampire Bat cake. Not being the greatest cake decorator my cake was based on a classic four egg chocolate Victoria sponge (1897 was Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee year as well). I covered the bottom layer with strawberry jam and then buttercream. The top layer I cut out three circles from the middle and put to one side. The two pieces left I turned around and placed on top of the bottom layer to form the wings. Two of the circles were sandwiched together with jam and buttercream and put at the bottom of the cake to be the head. The final circle was cut in half and put at the top of the head to make the ears. To give the cake some gloss and extra chocolate flavour I melted some good quality cooking chocolate in a bain-marie and covered the top. With a chop-stick (it worked!) I outlined the bat’s wings. Being a hot day I placed it in the fridge for a couple of hours to set. Just before I left I added a glacé cherry cut in half for the eyes and used some icing pens to make a nose and mouth complete with dripping blood – I kept thinking of the photograph of Christopher Lee in Hammer’s film version. Thank you to my Brother for making my description card.


Since Clandestine Cake Clubs are designed to be fun events without any judging I thought I would get in the spirit of the evening and get dressed up. Lurking in the back of my wardrobe was a long black dress I bought for my 3rd Year University Christmas Ball. Teamed with a spider’s web style cardigan and blood red lipstick it was as close to Mina as I was going to get.

Now dressed and cake complete I had to get it to our secret location. Karen had found us a real gem in the Honey Pie Tearoom located on the Chesterfield Road, close to Meersbrook Park. It’s a lovely vintage styled café serving real tea and their own homemade cakes, all served on a variety of antique crockery. It’s been a long time since I was given not just the choice of teas they had on offer but also had real tea leaves. I read on their menu this: ‘Bringing People together through the power of tea and cake’. What better place for a meeting of the Clandestine Cake Club?


We had five cakes to show off to each other and our guest cake scoffers. First up was Diana’s Chocolate No-mess cake with a Bite. Shaped like a vampire bat, Diana based the cake on an American recipe (measured by cups rather than weight). Instead of eggs Diana used vegetable oil and made the topping from low-fat cream cheese. The bite? Well, it was addition of chilli and I can confirm it did give the cake an extra kick.


Rachel came with her Blood Vampire Madeira cake with buttercream and jam filling. It was the first time Rachel had made a Madeira cake and used fondant icing, and a fine job she did of too. The bat shapes she cut very precisely from a stencil and used a red icing pen for the writing (I’ve never had much success with them!).


The stunning blood red cake came from Christine. The amazing red colour was created using red gel colouring added to cream cheese to make the frosting. Christine also made the three black roses herself. Again she used gel colouring to get the perfect colour. A sprinkle of matching glitter finished it off. All of this was hiding a wonderful Chocolate Guinness Cake. Based on a Nigella Lawson recipe, I have been wanting to try this cake for ages (it’s a favourite amongst cyclists) but I have always been put off by the thought of it having a taste of stout. No fear however as the Guinness made it moist and gave a real depth to the chocolate taste without making it bitter. Although it is naturally a very dark cake, Christine added some of the black colouring to give the perfect Gothic look.


Last cake of the evening was from our Organizer-in-Chief, Karen. A beautifully decorated vampire’s coffin complete with crucifix, red rose and flying bats, was hiding a secret underneath. The cake itself was a Victoria Sponge with fresh raspberry, vanilla and white chocolate buttercream. However, under the coffin was what Karen first described as ‘real blood’! Quickly seeing our panicked faces Karen then explained it was actually fresh raspberries. Not only did this look great it also added to the taste.

So after presenting our cakes it was time to start sampling them. Soon our very pretty plates were full and the conversation started. Within no time it was time to claim our take-home samples and think on to our next meeting. Make a note of it – Sunday 24th June, 3-5pm. The theme will be Vintage Lavender & Roses and the location as always to be revealed only a few days beforehand. You can find further details on http://www.clandestinecake.co.uk.


Thanks again to Karen for organizing another great event and also to Honey Pie Tearoom for staying open just for us. Thanks also to my fellow Cakers for coming along and sharing their wonderful creations with all of us.

As a last note on the way home Mr Jibber Jabber suggested we stop for a few minutes at the park with the Mini Jibber Jabbers as it was such a nice evening. The name of the park? Where else than Graves Park…