My regular readers might have seen that I’m a member of the Clandestine Cake Club and that last year I was lucky enough to have two recipes published in A Year Of Cake, the second book featuring members’ recipes.
Lynn Hill, the founder of the Clandestine Cake Club loves to get members baking. I for one don’t need any excuse but I was excited when Lynn introduced the monthly A Year Of Cake Bakealong on the club website. Lynn has organised a monthly event, where members are invited to choose a cake corresponding to that particular month in the book. At the end of the month the participants send their photos of their bakes to Lynn and she does a write up about them. As there are lots of yummy recipes in the book I was keen to have a go at baking some more of them.
For the January Bakealong there were seven mouthwatering recipes to choose from but I chose Lynn’s own recipe for Raspberry Cranachan Cake. It’s featured as a homage to Robbie Burns and to Burns Night. My husband’s birthday is at the end of January and I wanted to bake him a cake. He doesn’t have a sweet tooth but likes traditional cakes like Victoria Sponges and Coffee and Walnut cakes. He doesn’t like cakes covered in sugarpaste or overly sweet ones. I thought the Raspberry Cranachan cake would fit the bill, it was a sponge type cake and it also contains whisky!
According to the recipe introduction the cake is based on all the flavours of the traditional Scottish dessert Cranachan which contains “raspberries, whipped cream, whisky and honey topped with toasted oatmeal. Here it is reinvented as a cake which is just as boozy and creamy as the real thing, not to mention full of Scottish warmth and flavour,”
On my husband’s birthday I ended up with a day at home catching up on the jobs and chores that had been mounting up. Once I’d tidied up and walked the dog I started to bake. I had all the ingredients I needed for the cake including oats, clear honey, flaked almonds, raspberries and double cream as well as all the usual cake staples such as sugar. There was the small problem of the whisky though. The recipe needed 75ml of whisky plus an extra three tablespoonfuls. I thought my hubby would go ape if I used his special Glennfiddich so I was glad there was a half bottle of Famous Grouse left. Goodness knows where that came from, think one of us won it in a raffle but it did the trick. My hubby also knows if someone has been at his whisky!
The cake’s oat topping had to be made first and cooled down. It was baked on a lined baking tray. It felt like I was baking granola as first I put the honey to heat through in a saucepan then added some oats and nuts to the mixture. They were tossed to make them evenly coated with the honey and finally a tablespoonful of whisky got added in. Once the nut topping had baked I left it to cool down while I got on with the rest of the cake.
Butter and sugar were creamed together, then eggs and flour were added in gradually. After that some rolled oats and more whisky were added to the mix. Two 20cm/ 8″ loose bottomed sandwich tins were greased and lined with the cake mixture being divided between the tins. After about 25 minutes in the oven they were ready.
When the cake came out of the oven and was cooling I whipped up some double cream, adding a tablespoonful of whisky to it at the end. It smelled very alchololic but I couldn’t wait to show the cake to my husband and see if he could guess the secret ingredient.
What a boozy cake but I couldn’t wait to assemble it. I added in some seedless raspberry jam to the filling along with half the whisky cream and some fresh raspberries. When the two cakes were sandwiched on top of one another I spread the remaining whisky cream on top, scattered on the toasted oats and nuts, then finally finised with the rest of the raspberries. I’m meant to be on a health kick (meant being the operative word here?!)but who could resist a piece of this delicious cake?
Mr SmartCookieSam loved his birthday cake and so did I! Our two teenage kids weren’t impressed by the thought of a cake with nuts and whisky in it so they didn’t eat any. We could both taste the whisky in the cake but it wasn’t overpowering.
Will I be baking the Raspberry Cranachan Cake again? You bet, it was delicious!
To find out more about the fabulous Clandestine Cake Club then visit their website. With over 199 clubs and counting worldwide, there might be one near you!
The Clandestine Cake Club: A Year Of Cake is to be found on Amazon and in all good book retailers like Waterstones, WHSmiths and is also for sale in Tesco and Morrisons. Local retailers may have it too!
Love Sam xx