CCC at The Cake & Bake Show, Manchester 2014

Yesterday I was privileged to be a part of the Clandestine Cake Club stall at Cake and Bake Manchester 2014. CCC founder Lynn Hill had wanted us organisers to be a part, spending the day explaining to fellow cake-fans our simple concept of baking, sharing and eating cakes. Simple and very social, needless to say we had a lot of interest!

After a gruelling 6am start, Julia, organiser of CCC Derby and I, soon perked up once we were on the stall!

clandestine cake club stand cake and bake 2014 manchester central derby organiser julia

And it wasn’t long before the crowds started to arrive.

clandestine cake club stall at cake and bake show 2014 crowds gathering for taste on the table judging

Each day CCC was hosting a ‘Taste on the Table’ competition, for members of near and far clubs to enter their best bakes, to win fab baking prizes from Renshaw and Nordicware. And they did not disappoint – before long we had a fantastic array of cakes adorning the stall.

clandestine cake club taste on the table competition at cake and bake manchester central 2014

And the icing on the cake as you may put it… I was kindly volunteered by the rest of the team to judge the competition with none other than Peter Sidwell from Britain’s Best Bakery. Nerve-wracking doesn’t even describe it – tasting 10 cakes sounds like a lot of fun, but surround by crowds of eager bakers was a little over-whelming! Thankfully the girls were on hand to snap me at my most flattering…

clandestine cake club taste on the table competition judging with peter sidwell britains best bakery

Peter was a real pro, and between us (conferring with me hidden behind the banner!) we chose a Chocolate Porter Cake with Baileys icing as the winner – baked by Heidi from N. Yorkshire & Tees Valley CCC. She too was rather overwhelmed but a very worthy winner, for a great combination of flavours and lovely light texture.

Judging duties out the way, I had plenty of time to wander round, sample and shop!

Of course I had to try this fantastic cupcake dress, made of 800 cupcakes and over 5000 sugar flowers – simply stunning.

cake and bake show 2014 purple cupcake dress

And some fantastic things to see at the other stalls – Nielsen-Massey were making cocktails with their extracts…

giant nielsen massey vanilla extract cake and bake show

… and Billingtons had created a brilliant Sugar Market, with lots of fudge made from their different varieties. Handily placed very close to our CCC stand, we stopped by there more than a few times!

billingtons sugar stall cake and bake show

Around the show there were some absolutely fantastic display cakes, of Disney, Pixar, and other famous ‘faces’:

cake and bake show cloudy with a chance of meatballs display cake cake and bake show 2014 frozen reindeer and snowman cake disney monsters university cake sully mike wazowski sugar art cake and bake show 2014

I just loved this tray of ‘savouries’ – how great an idea to have the scotch eggs with creme eggs inside!

edible art cake scotch creme eggs pork pies all as cakes

At the heart of the show was a giant jungle-themed installation, with the show’s main competition inviting bakers to create everything animalistic and evergreen. Some more absolutely outstanding cakes – they must have taken days if not weeks!

cake and bake show manchester 2014 jungle peacock and monkey cakes edible art cake and bake show 2014 jungle art cakes lions head cake and bake show crocodile cake life size all edible

Back at the CCC stall we were thrilled to have some familiar faces drop by. Glenn, Christine and Kimberley from 2013’s Great British Bake-Off – all of whom were absolutely lovely and only too happy to chat everything cake.

clandestine cake club team with glenn cosby and christine wallace gbbo 2013 cake and bake show 2014 clandestine cake club ccc at cake and bake show 2014 with kimberley GBBO 2013 finalist

And the delightful GBBO Series 4 winner Frances Quinn. She was such a sweetie, genuinely a lovely person, although seeming a little rushed off her feet!

clandestine cake lynn hill and team with francis quinn gbbo series 4 winner

Over by the Bakery we bumped into (ok stalked a little), Eric Lanlard of Cake Boy fame. He is a huge CCC supporter and so enthusiastic about everything baking related.

cake and bake show 2014 ccc clandestine cake club with eric landlard

After a hard days cake-chatting I made it home a little after 9 – rather weary after a 14 hour day but delighted to have met so many fantastic people on the stall. Here’s to spreading the Clandestine Cake word!

And of course I didn’t come back empty handed – a combination of shopping with free samples from Dr. Oetker, Rainbow Dust and Sugar & Crumbs – plenty to keep me in the kitchen trying new things over the next few weeks.

cake and bake show manchester 2014 goodies new covent garden cookbook billingtons sugar tin colours sugar and crumbs icing

Advertisements

Halloween Spiced Pumpkin Cake

halloween pumpkin cake shaped fondant recipe and decoration with leaves decoration

Last week my dad brought round some of the harvest from his allotment – in the form of 3 huge pumpkins, the largest of which weighed a whopping 5 stone!

giant homegrown pumpkins largest weighing five stones

We went through one of the smaller ones last week, which Rob carved into a cat:

homegrown pumpkin carving cat face

We wanted the monster pumpkin to display outside at Halloween. A whole evening of carving and scraping and everything-else pumpkin-y later, our fridge and freezer was full to the brim with a whopping 10 kilos / 1.5 stone of pumpkin flesh! And this is not even half of it…

giant pumpkin homegrown allotment five stone weight halloween
inside of giant pumpkin kilos of thick flesh halloween recipe usage
kilos of pumpkin flesh from carving use in cake recipe

This week was also our Halloween Nottingham City Clandestine Cake Club, and given the volume of pumpkin in the kitchen there really was no choice on what to make!

The recipe is adapted from several sources, you can add more or less spice depending on your tastes. It’s very moist on its own, or you can add a cream cheese frosting for an indulgent treat. Or dress up in its own costume as I did! There were a lot of recipes that called for delicate folding and sieving yada yada… I made it straight in one bowl, mixed carefully, no mess, no fuss, perfect cake 🙂

Ingredients

225g plain flour
175g light brown sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinammon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 eggs
120ml vegetable oil
200g pureed pumpkin (pop it in the blender or mash)

Method
– Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl
– Add the eggs, oil and pumpkin, and mix until just combine (it doesn’t need to be smooth).
– Pour into a well-greased tin (8 inch square or similar, approx 2 litre capacity), and bake at 180 degrees for 45 – 60 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

I’d planned ahead for this bake an invested in a medium hemisphere tin from Lakeland.

lakeland medium hemisphere tin usage and recipe review

At £6.99 it was a good price for a sturdy new tin, and I’m already plotting more uses! They do recommend you buy a baking tin to hold it upright while you’re baking, but I was sure there’d be something in the kitchen cupboard I could use. Lo and behold, my amazing number and letter pan came into use once again!

semi circle half sphere tin from lakeland balanced upright in letter and number cake tin

I made 2 batches of the above batter and baked 2 half-sphere cakes, trimming them once cool to give a slightly flatter base and top, and ensuring the middles fitted together well.

two half sphere cakes made with spiced pumpkin trimmed into shape

sphere pumpkin cake two halfs together and trimmed into shape

After a quick coat and fill of lemon buttercream, I covered the cakes in orange fondant. And you thought a normal round cake was difficult! There were a few lumps and bumps but thankfully this is a normal pumpkin characteristic 🙂

sphere cake spiced pumpkin covered in orange fondant for halloween

To create the ridged sections of the pumpkin, I simply pressed lines from the top to the bottom using the back of a thin paintbrush.

carving details into halloween pumpkin cake marking lines and ridges with paintbrush

To finish, I added a brown stalk, and some assorted green leaves around the base (mostly to disguise my bad fondant covering!)

fondant stalk and leaves on halloween pumpkin cake recipe

leaf decorations on halloween pumpkin cake shades of green

The completed cake, intentionally wonky and bumpy, of course!

halloween pumpkin cake orange fondant and spiced vegetable recipe decorated with green leaves

And of course the pumpkin was suitably carved to adorn our doorstep this evening – being such a monster it literally eats baby pumpkins for breakfast!

20131031-205438.jpg

Malory Towers Castle Cake

malory towers castle cake for enid blyton derby clandestine cake club october 2013 recipe and how to using silicon shaped mould

Yesterday was the latest event for Derby Clandestine Cake Club, with the brilliant theme of Enid Blyton, sprung up from a conversation about Mr. Moonface at the summer’s event!

I was a big fan of Enid Blyton books when I was little – from the Magic Faraway Tree and Wishing Chair series, to the Famous Five and Secret Seven, and, of course, the Malory Towers books. I’d be wanting to re-use my castle mould for a long time, it’s only had one bake since I bought it – see my Chocolate Lego Castle Cake from last year.

This time I was determined to make a good, stable, and plentiful recipe – it’s a huge mould so does need quite a big mix. I seem to remember last time never quite having enough mixture, and having to keep mixing up more batches to add to the top! I started with a bundt cake recipe, as this has the same kinds of volume and lightness I was after, and scaled it up to fit the capacity of the mould, which was about 3 litres.

Ingredients – to fit 3 litre castle silicon mould or similar

340g butter
450g sugar
4 teaspoons good quality vanilla extract
9 eggs
525g plain flour
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
375ml low fat yoghurt

Method

– Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla, until light and fluffy. Sieve the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a separate bowl
– Beat in the eggs, one at a time, with a teaspoon of flour each time to prevent curdling
– Add half the yoghurt and half the remaining flour, mix, add the remainder, and mix again.
Technically you should fold in the flour and yoghurt but I found this to be a bit challenging with so much mixture! Even my Breville mixture was struggling by the end – but the texture wasn’t affected by beating instead of folding.

breville stand mixer full to the brim with bundt cake batter

– Prepare your mould/tin by greasing it very well. I used a cake release spray to get in all the corners and crevasses, and made sure it all had a good, thick coating. Then, dust with a layer of flour, and turn upside down to shake off the excess

grease and flour silicon tin castle mould to ensure cake doesn't stick very detailed intricate

– Pour the mixture in the tin, no need to spread it out as the weight will make it flow into all the corners. You’ll see that this recipe didn’t quite fill up the mould, I didn’t get the steps to the castle, if you wanted this you’d need to scale up the recipe by another 20% or so.

silicon castle cake mould bundt style recipe how to use

– Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Cover the top of the mould in greaseproof paper – this will stop the top from cooking too quickly and burning, and also prevent the middle from rising too much and giving you an uneven base

covering silicon castle cake mould in greaseproof paper for long baking time to ensure no burning

– Overall my cake too around 1 1/2 hours to cook. After 45 minutes, check to see how it is getting on. The top will look cooked but if a skewer or similar is inserted you’ll see the inside is not done.
Return to the oven and check back every 10-15 minutes, again inserting a clean skewer (I use the back of thin teaspoon) to see if it’s done. If it comes out completely clean, the cake is cooked, if not, it’s not! Be sure to test a different part of the cake every time, and push your skewer down into the very centre of the cake as this is the bit that will cook last.

perfectly cooked bundt cake recipe in silicon castle mould how to and method

– Leave to cool for at least an hour before gently easing out. It may be tempting but the cake is more likely to break when it’s hot. After leaving mine for a couple of hours and it turned out perfectly – I was so happy! The excess flour you can see in a couple of parts brushed off easily the next morning.

silicon castle cake mould recipe freshly baked and cooled cake turned out of the tin perfectly

perfect intricate detailing from silicon castle cake mould recipe brickwork turrets and door

The texture of this cake was perfect and I’d definitely use again – easily changing the flavour with some cocoa powder; orange or lemon rind and juice; spices such as ginger, cinnamon; coconut… the list is endless!

To ice, I wanted a flavour that would complement the vanilla, but also a look that would go with the brickwork effect of the castle.

I’ve used the Primrose Bakery‘s caramel icing recipe many times, it bubbles up wonderfully to a delicious sugary brown and cools to a lovely smooth texture. I adapted it slightly here to thin down slightly so it would flow into the intricate design of the cake a bit better.

Ingredients

75g butter
150ml milk
350g soft brown sugar
350g icing sugar

Method

– Put the milk, butter and brown sugar in a saucepan, and heat on high until boiling. Stirring constantly, allows to boil for one minute.

primrose bakery caramel icing easy recipe and how to

– Take off the heat and beat in half the icing sugar, sieved. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before beating in the remaining icing sugar.
– Continue cooling until it reaches the consistency desired for your cake. If it cools too much and gets too thick to pour or spread, simply heat up again for a few seconds at a time.

boiled caramel icing recipe and how to perfect for drizzling over cakes and desserts

I covered my cake using a combination of pouring and spooning over and into the detailed sections, all with the cake on a wire rack over a cling film-covered baking tray, to catch any drips. It was quite a sticky job so no in-progress photos!

rear of malory towers castle cake back door and windows made out of black chocolate foundant caramel icing

For the finishing touches, I added black gel colour to some chocolate fondant, and cut out the required shapes.

Windows for the towers:

black chocolate fondant details windows doors and archways castle cake malory towers enid blyton

…archways:

black chocolate fondant archway on castle cake brickwork detail sticky caramel icing frosting

… and of course a suitably grand front door!

malory towers enid blyton castle cake with black chocolate fondant details front door surround and windows

castle cake birthday party ideas full recipe instructions and method vanilla bundt with caramel frosting icing and fondant details

And for a final finishing touch, well, no castle is complete with flags!

malory towers flags on castle cake caramel icing turret tower enid blyton

enid blyton's malory towers castle cake recipe and method using silicon mould vanilla bundt with caramel frosting

And, flags or no, I think it’s a pretty good replica of Lulworth Castle, which the Malory Towers books are rumoured to be based on.

Lulworth_Castle_in_1999 Malory Towers possibly source goodreads dot com

This months cake club was held at the lovely Kay’s Tea Room in Willington – a delightful little venue and one I’ll definitely be returning to.

kays tea room willington derbyshire villages cake club venue

And the selection of cakes was equally as fab – with lashings of ginger beer of course!

derby clandestine cake club october 2013 enid blyton theme magic faraway tree famous five lashings of ginger beer and lemonade

How amazing are these Famous Five figurines?

famous five crabbies ginger beer cake icing figures clandestine ccc

And the castle went down such a treat! Out of that huge cake there was just a lone tower left for me to take home to Rob.

perfectly baked inside from castle cake made using silicon mould vanilla recipe