Coffee Bundt Cake.

A couple of weeks ago it was my last event as joint organiser for the Harrogate, Knaresborough and Ripon Clandestine Cake Club.  I have a lot on my plate at the moment but I felt that I had to step down as organiser to create more time to deal with everything else going on in life!  I have had a great time organising the events and have met some fantastic people, not to mention sampling some incredible cakes along the way.  I am still going to be a Clandestine Cake Club member and will attend as many events as I can fit in as I have made some lovely friends who I think the world of.

Ironically, the cake club event that was my last as joint organiser was exactly a year to the day after my first event. It was held in exactly the same place, the gorgeous Wellington Inn, in Darley a village in the heart of beautiful Nidderdale. The theme was “Happy First Birthday” so my cake had to be worthy of something you would bake for a birthday cake, yet not something that would be too sickly sweet to eat.

I chose to bake a Coffee Bundt cake based on a recipe I had in the very first Hummingbird Bakery cookbook.  I had not made a coffee Bundt before but I know whenever I’ve made coffee and walnut cakes they always go down well.

Pure Dairy Free Baking spread, caster sugar and coffee essence were whisked together.
Pure Dairy Free Baking spread, caster sugar and coffee essence were whisked together.
I used my handheld whisk to cream the ingredients together as I couldn't be bothered to get my KItchen Aid out of the cupboard.
I used my handheld whisk to cream the ingredients together as I couldn’t be bothered to get my KItchen Aid out of the cupboard.
I then added eggs one at a time, followed by flour, baking powder and cocoa powder into the mixture.
I then added eggs one at a time, followed by flour, baking powder and cocoa powder into the mixture.
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The mixture was spooned into my prepared tin. I greased it using Dr Oetker Cake release spray and a soft sprinkling of flour.

The cake was left to bake for about 40 minutes.  Only my cake decided that it didn’t fancy staying inside the pan and it spilled out over the top and onto the bottom of my oven!   I was not a happy bunny and the cake looked a right mess on the top of it.  I wasn’t sure how it had happened, maybe it was just too full.  I had to get the cake scrapings out straightaway before my hubby noticed though.  Once the cake was out, I let it cool in the tin and then it slid out perfectly onto the rack. At least it looked fairly presentable for Cake Club!

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The finished Coffee Bundt Cake.

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The top of the cake ended up looking like a large sunflower!

To decorate the cake the recipe calls for a vanilla frosting flavoured with coffee essence.  I had made up some strong expresso coffee essence according to the recipe instructions.  Instead of spreading it on the cake I chose to pipe it on using my large star nozzle.  It only just had enough icing to decorate the top.  I then added some chocolate cocoa beans which I had bought in Waitrose.  It only used half the jar so I hope no one in my family nicks the rest or they won’t get used for cupcakes!  Poor lighting in my kitchen made the icing look a lot more yellow than it really was, well it was about 7 o’clock on a dreary November night I suppose!

I enjoyed my slice of coffee cake as it was not too sweet and sickly.  It had a great coffee hit and went down well at cake club and at home too!
I enjoyed my slice of coffee cake as it was not too sweet and sickly. It had a great coffee hit and went down well at cake club and at home too!

This Coffee Bundt was a definite winner and one I would love to bake again and again.  My hubby loves Coffee Cake so maybe he might want one for his birthday?

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Chocolate Amaretto Cake from The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook

Last Monday was the Harrogate Clandestine Cake Club event which was held at The Mitre Inn in Knaresborough.  I had chosen the theme of Boozy Cakes as we were going to be in a pub in the middle of Knaresborough next to the station.  This, funnily enough didn’t bode well with my Sober For October challenge with Macmillan though.  Having said that, there was only two tablespoons of alcohol in the whole of my cake.

I had had a very busy weekend, the Saturday was spent in Liverpool with my Mum and my daughter and my mum was with us the whole weekend.  By the time I got to Sunday night I was feeling dreadful.  I had started off with a sore throat that morning and it had developed into a tickly, niggly cough.  I thought, that was all I needed with a busy week at work and cake club the following day as well as two other nights out!

So, by the time I got round to baking my offering it was about two o’clock on the Monday afternoon, four hours before it was going to be served at the Cake Club. After a lot of chopping and changing I eventually chose to bake a cake that I had really enjoyed eating a slice of at a previous Clandestine Cake Club event where Lynn Hill (The Clandestine Cake Club’s founder) had baked the cake. It is the Dark Chocolate and Amaretto Cake which is featured in The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook.  Mine turned out totally different to the way Lynn had made it and how it looked like in the book.  I was in a right old rush as I made the cake!

Here’s what happened:

First I melted some butter and put it aside.
First I melted some butter and put it aside.  Putting it aside meant I clean forgot about it! More of that later!
In a large bowl I put in flour, baking powder and ground almonds.
In a large bowl I put in flour, baking powder and ground almonds.
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Mixing baking powder with vanilla extract.

Carmela Hayes’ recipe in the Clandestine Cake Club cookbook calls for “pane degli angeli” which is a special Italian vanilla flavoured raising agent.  If you are unable to get hold of this, you can substitute 1 teaspoon of baking powder mixed in with vanilla extract instead.  I had to do this as I didn’t have chance to look for the pane degli angeli anywhere.

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A whole packet of these delicious Amaretti biscuits were crushed in my food processor.
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Everything is combined together, even the chocolate (which was Green and Blacks 70% cocoa solids)

I got to this stage and thought, this mixture is a bit stiff!  Is it meant to be like that?  It seemed to stick to the wooden spoon and I tried my hardest to tip it into my greased cake tin and spread it evenly.  Never mind, I thought. Let’s hope it’s ok once it’s in the oven.  Off it popped into the oven.  It was then when I saw it!  The bowl of melted butter was still on the side by the microwave!  I’d completely forgotten about it!  I quickly whipped the cake out of the oven, tipped the mixture back into a clean mixing bowl with the melted butter and stirred it in.  I then re-greased the tin as fast as I could and popped the cake back into the oven, while saying a huge prayer.

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The finished Dark Chocolate Amaretto Cake.

When the cake came out of the oven about an hour later it didn’t look very appealing.  The chocolate had melted in to the mixture instead of staying in chunks as it had on the picture.  I had also forgotten to switch my timer on and didn’t note the time it went in the oven as I was rushing.  I just did it on guesswork with a large skewer! To be honest I wasn’t impressed with my effort and I really felt disappointed in myself that I didn’t take more care.  I had no time to make another cake as I had to walk our dog and prepare some dinner for my family before I went out to Cake Club.

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The cake cut up at the Cake Club event.

At Cake Club I took a small piece and so did everyone else. As I cut into the cake it began to crumble whereas the other two cakes there cut perfectly. I was really embarrassed and even though it wasn’t being judged and it isn’t a competition I felt ashamed of it.  The other members still ate it out of kindness though!  I felt the cake was a little bit dry but it had a lovely crunchy effect.  I will definitely make it again when I have more time so I can get the recipe right!  Serves me right for rushing.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Overnight Tea Loaf

I’m still excited about the launch of the new Clandestine Cake Club cookbook and can’t praise it enough.  Now I’ve got my copy I can’t wait to try my hand at everything in the book.  It’s difficult to know where to start though as all the recipes look fab.

The pretty pastel retro feel front cover of The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook
The pretty pastel retro feel front cover of The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook

I thought I would start with a recipe of a cake that I’d actually been able to taste before as made by it’s creator!  I went for the “Overnight Tea Loaf” on page 66 in the Fruity Cakes section of the book.  The tea loaf recipe was created by Sharon Clarkson who is the organiser for Pudsey and West Leeds CCC.  She brought her cake along for the shoot we did for BBC Look North a week last Friday (more about that here) and another to the Leeds Clandestine Cake Cookbook Book Launch which was last Tuesday. I have written another blogpost about that event, as well.  Sharon has her own blog humbugshouse.wordpress.com  where you can find out about her Fruit loaf recipe, her other delicious bakes and about the Pudsey CCC.

The Overnight Tea Loaf recipe from Sharon Clarkson (Pudsey CCC organiser)
The Overnight Tea Loaf recipe from Sharon Clarkson (Pudsey CCC organiser)

Sharon told me that she varied the dried fruit in the recipe, the first one she made had cranberries in it, the second had dried apricots along with all the other dried fruits like raisins, etc. Her other great tip was to serve the cake with butter or even a wedge of Wensleydale.  As a cheese lover, I was looking forward to eating this with the cake.  However, when I served up the cake later on, my two children slathered their pieces with the last of the Nutella lurking in my baking cupboard! That wasn’t meant to happen!

I have made tea loaves before and likened the tea loaf to the utterly delicious Welsh Bara Brith which I am addicted to. It also brings back special memories of holidays in Wales as well as my four years at teacher training college in Bangor in the early 1990’s.  But being as I have spent half my life in Yorkshire I always make my tea loaves with gold old Yorkshire Tea.  What is more not only is it the only tea I will drink if I have a choice but Yorkshire Tea are sponsoring the Clandestine Cake Club this year!

So, down to the actual cake baking then!  On Sunday afternoon I had been baking a Boston Cream Pie which was not for us at home but wanted something we could have at Sunday teatime or something the kids could have a slice of after school. The fruit loaf ticked all the boxes.

So here’s how it was made:

The mixed dried fruit was left to soak in tea along with demerara and dark muscovado sugars.
The mixed dried fruit was left to soak in tea along with demerara and dark muscovado sugars.
My loaf tin greased and lined.
My loaf tin greased and lined.
All the mixture (fruit, egg and flour) combined. This was a fatless recipe.
All the mixture (fruit, egg and flour) combined. This was a fatless recipe.
Just out of the oven and cooling down after about 50 minutes baking time.
Just out of the oven and cooling down after about 50 minutes baking time.
Sliced up and ready for tea.
Sliced up and ready for tea.
The way it is done in Yorkshire- a slice of Yorkshire Fruit Loaf, with a wedge of Wensleydale, washed down with a steaming hot cuppa of Yorkshire's finest tea!
The way it is done in Yorkshire- a slice of Yorkshire Fruit Loaf, with a wedge of Wensleydale, washed down with a steaming hot cuppa of Yorkshire’s finest tea!

As I am now having to watch my sugar intake, I allowed myself a small slice for tea with my sliver of cheese. It was perfect.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook Book Launch at Waterstones, Leeds- February 19th 2013.

Last Tuesday only 5 days after the official publication of the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook over 80 members and guests got together at the massive Waterstones on Albion Street in Leeds.  We were there to celebrate the book’s publication, meet and chat with Lynn Hill the Clandestine Cake Club founder and of course to eat cake!

I had already got my copy of the book which arrived on the day of publication and I love it.  I began to recognise lots of familiar names next to the recipes, some of the recipe creators were going to be there with their cakes on the night. As I joined the CCC after the recipes were submitted I had nothing to do with the book’s evolvement but I was just as excited to see it as lots of other CCC members had been talking about the book on Facebook and Twitter.

About 30 or so cakes were brought along to the launch. They were all recipes featured in the book but I had a job deciding which one to pick until I remembered I had always wanted to try one of Rachel McGrath’s famous bundts.  I had heard a lot about Rachel , the organiser for Bolton CCC (aka Dollybakes) who regularly publishes eyecatching and delicious bundt cakes on her blog.  Rachel has three bundt recipes in the book and I was keen to try baking the Raspberry Yoghurt Birthday Bundt for myself.

My version of Rachel McGrath's stunning Raspberry Yoghurt Bundt cake with her original recipe pictured behind!
My version of Rachel McGrath’s stunning Raspberry Yoghurt Bundt cake with her original recipe pictured behind!

I added the optional fresh raspberries to the bundt mixture, although I did not have enough due to my hubby nicking some to stick on his cereal that morning. He wasn’t to know, though, bless him!  I also decided to add drizzled melted white chocolate and more fresh raspberries to the top of the cake instead. I do like the pink buttercream and the white chocolate stars on Rachel’s recipe though.

It was really exciting to go along to the book launch and to meet up with everyone.  We all had some bubbly, elderflower cordial and water for the drivers and after Lynn’s talk we went for the cake. As I was told only that afternoon I had to watch my sugar intake and lose weight, I decided I would try two tiny slices of cake.  We were also given a huge goody bag from Hobbycraft crammed full of crafty and baking items, what a lovely treat!

After seeing the recipe in the book and being a huge Tiramisu lover I went for a slice of Helen Jones’ (aka Baking Aitch)  Tia Maria and Mascapone Cake which is on page 121 in the book.  It was gorgeous and I wished I could dive in and scoff the lot.  The same went for the photogenic showstopper cake that adorns the front cover. Lynn Hill’s very own Pistachio and Lime Cake.  Once again, my tastebuds were in for a treat but I forced myself to stop there.

This is Lynn Hill's Pistachio and Lime Cake as seen on the CCC Book's front cover.  It not only looks fab, it is fab!
This is Lynn Hill’s Pistachio and Lime Cake as seen on the CCC Book’s front cover. It not only looks fab, it is fab!

Everyone was completely bowled over by all the cakes and there was nothing left at the end of the night because as with a regular CCC event you always bring a plastic box to take home some treats!  My kids wanted some of my cake but they were disappointed.

Here are some of the photos I took on the night, unfortunately only having my phone with me a couple of the pictures were a bit blurred.  They do show that we had a brilliant night though!

Two huge tables laden with cake.
Two huge tables laden with cake.
Everyone brought their cakes along and there were drinks all around.
Everyone brought their cakes along and there were drinks all around.
They look too good to eat but they did get eaten!
They look too good to eat but they did get eaten!
There were so many cakes that a second table was brought out. This photo was taken before some more stunning cakes were added to the display,
There were so many cakes that a second table was brought out. This photo was taken before some more stunning cakes were added to the display,
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Lynn gave a speech before we sampled all the cakes.

The Clandestine Cake Club- Being Filmed By BBC Look North

On Friday 15th February Lynn Hill the founder of The Clandestine Cake Club,  a few members from the Leeds club as well as some of the Yorkshire based group organisers all got together and met up at the beautiful Arch Cafe in the centre of Leeds.  The Arch Cafe is situated next to the St. John’s Centre and is near to the Headrow.

The Arch Cafe serves delicious homemade cakes, some of which are recipes featured in the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook and also serves Yorkshire Tea, amongst other things.  When I arrived it was clear to see that the Arch Cafe was a popular meeting place and all the tables were occupied!  The staff were whizzing in and out of the kitchen serving mouthwatering paninis, what a shame I had already had a jacket potato beforehand! I did enjoy a couple of cups of their coffee though and will be back to sample more of what they have to offer next time I am in Leeds!

The reason being for our meeting was to celebrate the publication of the new Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook and BBC Look North came to film us chatting over cake.  They also wanted to chat to Lynn Hill about how the phenomenon which is the Clandestine Cake Club came about.

As I was fairly local to Leeds and my own Clandestine Cake Club, the Knaresborough and Ripon group is getting off the ground, it was lovely to come along and meet some of my cake club friends and the faces behind some of the recipes in the book!

The cakes all looked fantastic.  I made an orange drizzle cake and iced it with sugarpaste and pink hearts.  It looked nice on the table but I did not like the taste of the sugarpaste.  I was very disappointed in it.  Some of the cakes were less fancy than others but they tasted fabulous.  As we all know at CCC it is not a cake decorating, village show competition,  we simply get together because we like cake.

Soon after we had put the cakes on the table, an area at the back of the cafe was cordoned off so we weren’t disturbed.  Then the lovely presenter Amanda Harper arrived with a friendly and kind cameraman called Daniel (though we heard the name Jo Jo mentioned as well so we do hope we have his name right).  Both Amanda and Daniel were great and put us at our ease.  Daniel filmed the whole cakes and the table, then got us to sit down and chat as we usually do at our gatherings.

Then we had to start eating the cakes which we really enjoyed doing. From chocolate cheesecakes to fruit loaves, to champagne strawberry gateaux and stem ginger cakes we were in our element. Lynn had to be interviewed and she explained how the CCC came about.  Afterwards Duanne and I were interviewed, although I made a complete fool of myself talking about my cake. I felt like a game show hostess describing my cake and I cringed when I watched myself back on TV later that day! I was shaking afterwards and couldn’t hold my coffee cup!

If you would like to find out more about the Clandestine Cake Club then please feel free to visit the website www.clandestinecakeclub.co.uk.  There are now about 170 clubs all over the country and even a few overseas. If there isn’t one up and running in your area, why not contact Lynn Hill to see about starting one up yourself?  I am organiser for the Knaresborough and Ripon CCC and we have regular events roughly once a month, usually on a Saturday afternoon.  Our next one is on March 2nd and we are baking cakes to a Springtime theme.  We meet in “Clandestine” locations in the Knaresborough and Ripon area at present although I am organising some events to include the Harrogate area as well.

Sadly, my phone camera decided to freeze on me so if you want to see any pictures of our Look North experience, my fellow group organisers Sharon from the Pudsey group on her blog humbugshouse.wordpress.com  and Sue from the SpenValley group, please  visit eviesgran.wordpress.com  have also blogged about our experience being on Look North!

My cake- orange drizzle zest cake topped with sugarpaste hearts. The only picture I managed to take thanks to my camera letting me down!
My cake- orange drizzle zest cake topped with sugarpaste hearts. The only picture I managed to take thanks to my camera letting me down!

Coconut and Chocolate Stripy Rose Cake

As I mentioned in a previous post about baking Fiona Cairns’ Very Lemony Crunch cake last weekend, I was absolutely over the moon to get both of her books for Christmas.  When I opened the books I was hoping and praying that the recipe for the coconut and chocolate stripy cake would be in the book.  I had sat and drooled over Fiona baking this very cake on her TV programme a couple of months back. I particularly liked the stripy effect, the delicious and delectable sounding combination of coconut and chocolate coupled with the pretty rose piping effect on the cake.

My prayers were answered because yes, there it was on page 140 of Fiona Cairns’ second book “The Birthday Cake Book”. Now for a perfect occasion to make it!

Yesterday I was meant to be running a Clandestine Cake Club event for my local group, Knaresborough and Ripon.  Sadly, that was not to be due to the snow and I had to make the decision to cancel the event. I had already made the cake though so in the end it became our Sunday lunch pudding much to the delight of my family who were worried they wouldn’t get any leftovers!

So, how did I try to replicate this stunning looking cake?

Here’s how I did it.

On Friday afternoon I set to by making the actual cake itself.  Or rather you had to make two separate cakes, one chocolate and one coconut flavoured.  They were sliced into strips and placed back together in stripes, sandwiched together with coconut cream cheese icing and then finished with a layer of coconut cream and then on top the pretty roses.

Two 20cm round sandwich tins were buttered and lined carefully as I weighed out the ingredients.  I chose to use my KitchenAid mixer to mix up the ingredients with the beater attached because that is what I had seen Fiona do on the programme.  Before I weighed out all of the ingredients I made a quick cocoa powder paste which was used to flavour the chocolate sponge part of the cake. This cooled rapidly as the rest of the ingredients were weighed out.

The dried ingredients (flour and baking powder) were carefully sifted into the mixing bowl, followed by very soft butter, beaten free range eggs, caster sugar and vanilla extract.  This formed a basic sponge which was beaten together until well combined.

Once this was ready I separated out the mixture into two equal halves. To one half I added the cocoa paste, the other I folded in creamed coconut.  Both mixtures were carefully added to their respective tins and baked in the oven for about 30 minutes. This is the scary time for me as I always forget to set the timer or I’m distracted by something else going on!

Half an hour later and the cakes were out of the oven and cooling on the top waiting to be turned out of the tin onto a rack. It was getting towards tea time and I was glad I could put the cakes aside to get on with our dinner of sausage and mash.  At the same time I was getting cancellation emails and ladies texting me wondering if the Clandestine Cake Club event was going to be cancelled, so out came the red wine as soon as my hubby came home.

After dinner I carefully sliced each cake into five strips and exchanged them so that each cake became stripy. Fiona suggests putting one away in the freezer for another time, this is not practical for me as I have a small freezer which is always full! I had to use the cake there and then and make two of them!

Overnight we had had more snow but I still persevered with finishing off the cake. I decided to leave it cut overnight to settle, then decided to start on the coconut cream frosting.

The coconut cream frosting was creamed coconut, full fat Philadelphia cheese (nothing else gives the perfect creamy finish), icing sugar and some vanilla extract simply mixed together. As a  huge lover of everything coconut I was so tempted to grab a massive spoon and dig in.  It spread easily on the pieces of cake which needed to be sandwiched together.  Once I had sandwiched the cake pieces together, the top and sides had to be dealt with.  I can’t say my finish was perfectly neat as I didn’t have a lot of time.

The cakes were put in the fridge to make them firm up for an hour. In this time this was when I realised that I had to bite the bullet and cancel the event, so emails had to be written, texts had to be sent and phonecalls had to be made. As with Mastermind the saying “I’ve started so I’ll finished” sprang to mind so I mixed up the chocolate buttercream and prepared a large piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle ready to make the chocolate rose pattern on top.

I really enjoyed piping the roses on the cake, this I did not find difficult as I am used to piping roses on top of cupcakes.  It made a simple, yet effective cake decoration.  I wish I could have finished the cake off with some white or gold edible glitter!

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Here is the cake in all it’s glory before it was cut up and secondly cut up to reveal the chocolate and coconut stripes.

Delicious!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx