A couple of weeks ago I went along to Spen Valley Clandestine Cake Club’s event in Brighouse. The event was in a lovely cafe just out of Brighouse town centre. Although it’s about 40 miles away from me, I hadn’t been to cake club for ages and wanted to catch up with my cakey friends Susan and Helen. The theme for Spen Valley’s latest event was Summer and also was the group’s 4th birthday. I got my cakey thinking cap on and thought about what I could bake which made me think of summer. Lots of flavours make me think of summer and I did think of baking something with strawberries in. Then I remembered we had a whole bottle of Pimms in the drinks cabinet which I’d not even opened and wasn’t likely to, either. So a Pimms Cake it had to be, then. Not only that, but a Pimms bundt! I looked on various websites for a Pimms cake recipe and couldn’t find what I wanted. Then I came across exactly what I was looking for. Lynn Hill’s very own Strawberry Pimms Cake in the June chapter of A Year Of Cake, the second Clandestine Cake Club Book.
The recipe was one of those which did not have an accompanying picture to it so I had to guess what it would look like. The cake was also baked in a round springform cake tin and then split in half horizontally so you had two layers. I thought I would try and bake my own version in one of my Nordicware bundt pans. Well I could but try. If it didn’t work out I could always try again.
First of all I had to make a soaking syrup using caster sugar, a strip of lemon peel pared off the lemon with a potato peeler. I boiled this for a few minutes with some water. Then I added some Pimms and a vanilla pod. I didn’t have a vanilla pod so I added in a teaspoonful of some vanilla syrup I had. This then cooled down and became a thick syrup.
To decorate the cake I had to melt some dark chocolate.Then I dipped some whole, but hulled strawberries into the pool of melted chocolate. I found this very messy as I should have used a skewer or a fork to hold the strawberry into the chocolate. Instead it went all over my hands and the chocolate didn’t set smoothly. Then again at Cake Club no one judges your cakes, it’s not like the Great British Bake Off!
I left the strawberries to set and then got on with baking the cake. It was a Friday afternoon and I was still tired after coming back off my holiday only two days before. I had been food shopping and had so much to catch up on so baking a cake was a welcome distraction from it all. I chose to use my Heritage Bundt pan which lends itself to lots of different bakes. I like how icing can trickle down in the grooves and also how there is enough space to decorate the top instead if you prefer.
The cake itself was baked with ground almonds but also contained a small amount of cornflour and plain flour. I sifted all these ingredients together so that they were well combined. To this I added caster sugar and eggs and they were all beaten together for a few minutes. I suddenly remembered that the butter in this recipe needed to be melted and then cooled down. I had to quickly pop it in the microwave, then gave it a few minutes to cool down. Finally in the butter went, followed by some more Pimms.
The Pimms Cake cooked beautifully in the bundt pan and slid out perfectly. The cooking time for the original cake was about 45-55 minutes which was roughly the same time for the bundt. I kept trying to see if it was ok from looking through the glass on the oven door but it was difficult to tell. I had to leave it to chance and thankfully it did work this time.
When the cake had cooled a little I poked a few holes in it with a skewer and then brushed on the Pimms syrup made earlier. The Pimms syrup smelled wonderful and if it wasn’t the middle of a busy Friday afternoon I would have made myself a glass of Pimms. Then again I didn’t have any lemonade. Oh well, I knew I had some tonic water so I could look forward to a gin and tonic at tea time!
I then made up the filling and icing for the cake which was a heavenly mix of Mascarpone, icing sugar, double cream and Pimms. Definitely not Weightwatchers friendly then! I love icing made with Mascarpone, it gives the icing a rich, yet creamy texture. This was doubly decadent with the double cream in it. In the original recipe Lynn Hill uses the mascarpone icing as a filling and a topping. She also adds some strawberries soaked in the remaining Pimms syrup to the filling. Given that mine was a bundt cake I wasn’t able to give it layers and a filling, so all my decoration went on top of the cake!
To decorate the cake I filled a large disposable piping bag with the mascarpone cream and piped on the decoration with my large star nozzle. There was just enough to fit on the top of the cake. I also put some strawberries in the middle hoping that there would be enough to go round. Luckily there was.
It was a very hot day so I kept the cake in the fridge until it was time to leave for cake club the following morning. I was very worried it would get knocked in the back of the car but luckily it survived the journey intact!
I will definitely bake this cake again. It looked complicated with all the little steps and bits to it. Having said that if you allow yourself a bit of time you can create an amazing showstopper of a cake perfect for any summer celebration.
Love Sam xx