This cake was an almalgamation of two recipes which I’ve used plenty of times before. The cake part came from John Whaite’s first book John Whaite Bakes which contains a delicious recipe for a White Chocolate and Raspberry Cake. The decoration idea came from the second Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook A Year Of Cake which has a fantastic recipe for a Cadbury’s Chocolate Finger and Smartie Cake in it. This opened up lots of ideas to adapt a design to suit flavours and themes.
I was off to a Clandestine Cake Club event in Leeds which was held in the historic Tetley building. I remember the days of the brewery being open in my childhood when I used to see the shire horses delivering the beer to the local Leeds pubs. I was very impressed with the bar and restaurant at The Tetley and hope to go back to look around the exhibition soon.
The theme for this cake club was Childhood Sweets and I chose to incorporate Percy Pigs on my cake. Incidentally Percy Pigs just celebrated 25 years which gave me the idea. I was definitely not a child when Percy Pigs came out but my own two children love them and we always buy a bag if we go on a long train journey. I can’t stop eating them!
To assemble the cake together I made up some white chocolate buttercream with Lindt White Chocolate and some Sugar and Crumbs White Chocolate and Raspberry natural flavour icing sugar. I was so excited to use the icing sugar as it is one of Sugar and Crumbs’ new flavours brought out for this summer. It smelled wonderful and definitely tasted of white chocolate and raspberries, just heavenly.
Here are just a few of the photos of my cake and also of some of the other cakes at the event. It was a wonderful evening and I enjoyed far too much cake! I still had a sugar high the day after!
I’ve always wanted to bake a Pinata Cake. I’d seen loads of them on the internet but never had chance to bake one until last year. There is a really fab Pinata Cake recipe in the second Clandestine Cake Club book “A Year Of Cake”. In fact it’s the cake picture which adorns the front cover. People wonder how you manage to get the sweets or chocolates inside the cake in the first place. My son asked if you get to beat the cake with a stick like a traditional Pinata until it breaks and the sweets fall out! Er no, you’d end up with crumbs but the idea is the same. You cut up the cake and a load of sweets fall out of the middle that you’re not expecting to be there.
In the Easter holidays it was my turn to be on my local WI Supper Rota. I usually choose to do this when there is a meeting which falls during the school holidays. I bake a couple of cakes. There was a mix up over the supper rota but that’s another story. Normally I wouldn’t bake anything so fancy and highly decorated but I had the ingredients in already and they needed using up.
The original Pinata Cake recipe is a chocolate sponge but I chose to bake a vanilla one. The icing is made up of double cream whipped up with two packets of Angel Delight. I hadn’t eaten Angel Delight for years. It was always something we had at my Nana Margaret’s house. Nana Margaret was my Dad’s mum and she was a dreadful cook. She nearly gave us food poisoning with raw burgers. My poor grandad must have had iron guts. One day he nearly broke his tooth eating a rock hard apple pie which my Nana had put in the microwave for 30 minutes instead of 30 seconds. At least she didn’t bodge up making Angel Delight.
To bake a Pinata cake you need to bake four layers of sponge. When these are cooled and turned out of the tins onto the rack you need to find a large circular biscuit cutter and cut a hole in the centre of two of the cakes. The other two are left whole. To assemble the cake you spread a layer of Angel Delight icing on top of one of the whole cakes. Then place the first of the cakes with the hole cut out of it and repeat with the cream layer. Do this again with the other cake with a hole in the middle. Finally add some more cream. Before you put the top layer on you need to fill the hole full of your chosen sweets. The original recipe showed Smarties in the middle but I reckon any sweets or chocolates would look amazing. I used a large packet of Haribo Starmix inside mine.
It took iron will power not to get a spoon and start eating the icing there and then. I used two packets of strawberry flavoured Angel Delight although I reckon any flavour would taste great. Last year I baked a similar cake with Banana Angel Delight. This made it yellow and the inside was decorated with Haribo Minion sweets. The top of the cake was decorated with blue sprinkles. For this cake I raided my baking cupboard and found a couple of random jars of sprinkles which needed finishing off.
Of course because of there being a mix up over the WI Supper Rota I thought I was on the list but I wasn’t. I turned up at the village hall and one of the ladies said I wasn’t doing it. As I had spent my entire day off baking and decorating three cakes I was extremely annoyed. When one lady said they had enough cakes and to put them back in the car I was so angry and upset. She also said well you could freeze them. I told her I was taking them in, I had been baking all day and I had no room for them at home. Not only that but only one out of the three cakes was suitable for freezing. My friend took pity on me and said I could sell them at the meeting. So that’s what happened. The three cakes were sold to cover the cost of my ingredients. This also meant that I didn’t get to take a photo of the cake with all the sweets spilling out of it when it was cut. I never mentioned to the lady that bought it about the inside of the cake so she would have had a surprise when she cut into it. Next time maybe?
It was my son’s 16th birthday last week. I’m feeling very old. It doesn’t seem 5 minutes since he was born and we brought him home from hospital. Now he’s studying for his GCSE’s and he’s taller than me! As the boy wonder has grown older I think back to all the birthday cakes I’ve baked for him over the years. I remember baking him a giant pirate ship cake complete with Curly Wurly masts and a Dairy Milk plank. How I wish I’d taken a photo of it but this was in the days before Smart phones and I wasn’t very organised with cameras.
This year my son said he just wanted a small birthday cake. I was gratelful for that as I had had an extremely busy week teaching in a nursery class the week before. I eventually found the perfect cake in The Clandestine Cake Club’s second cookbook “A Year of Cake”. The original recipe is a stunning looking cake called “Smartie Pants Cake” by Ruth Tebbutt from Gateshead Club. Her recipe in the May chapter of the book was created to celebrate the Eurovision Song Contest, usually held in May. As the recipe introduction states “Rather than pick sides, Ruth has created a cake that reflects the colourful spirit of the event and the kaleidoscope of cultures, characters and costumes that viewers have come to expect,”
What I also love about the Smartie Pants Cake is that it is so adaptable. It could be baked for any age group: young or old as well as being perfect for different occasions. The outer edging of the cake is decorated with Cadbury’s Chocolate Fingers and the topping is decorated with a rainbow effect of colourful Smarties. I had made the cake once before as part of a cake demo evening so I knew it would work well. When I was buying the ingredients though, I found that Fox’s Chocolate Fingers were on special offer in Morrisons and at 55p a packet as opposed to £1.50 for the Cadbury’s ones, you can guess what I went for. I also found that Peanut M&M’s treat bags were on special offer, so they were substituted for the Smarties instead!
Last Saturday afternoon, I started to bake the cake once my jobs had been done. It’s a vegetable oil based chocolate cake and also uses golden syrup to sweeten the mixture as well as sugar. It gives a lovely light sponge without being too sickly sweet which does go well with all the chocolate and sweets! The cake is sandwiched together with a chocolate fudge buttercream which is not too heavy but provides enough “glue” to the top and sides of the cake so you can stick the chocolate fingers and Smarties in the right places.
One of the fun parts of baking this cake is to separate all your Smarties or M&M’s out into separate dishes of different colours. This makes it so much easier when you’re decorating the top of the cake. My mum, who was staying with us for the weekend enjoyed helping me with this task but we were both annoyed when opening the Fox’s Chocolate Fingers. For a start about 10 of them were snapped in half so were no good for decorating the outside of the cake. I was also furious because I didn’t have enough fingers to go round the outside of the cake with three packets, although last time with three packets I had more than enough! Even the broken ones stuck together weren’t enough. The cake looked a complete mess on one side.
In the end my son asked if he could decorate the top of the cake and he really enjoyed doing it. What made me laugh though was that he said he didn’t want brown M&M’s on the top of the cake. He couldn’t see what was funny but I told him there was a pop star (can’t remember which one) who asks for M&M’s in his or her dressing room with the brown ones taken out. My son said the brown ones didn’t show up against the chocolate cake. He has a point!
We had a large slice of cake the following morning. It gave a lovely chocolatey hit without feeling too sweet or too sickly. I really enjoyed it and it got eaten over the next few days. I would love to bake it again, although I won’t be baking it for a Eurovision Song Contest Party. It’s my own birthday celebration that weekend and my daughter has offered to bake me a cake.
As mentioned in my previous blog post I’ve got two recipes published in the latest Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook “A Year of Cake”. Along with my Welsh Honey and Camomile Bara Brith I also had my Coconut and Mojito Tres Leches Cake featured in the May chapter of the book.
I am a regular member of the Pudsey and West Leeds branch of the CCC. Each event along with other cake club branches has really great themes which inspires you to get your baking thinking caps on. Last year back in June 2014 Pudsey cake club had an event with an Around The World Theme. I’m a huge Mojito cocktail fan (though I’m trying to steer clear due to going to Weightwatchers at the moment) and also love the way it works well with coconut and cream. So this is where the inspiration for my Tres Leches cake came from. It was one of those cakes I’d tried baking before and although hugely calorific, it was one I enjoyed tasting the most. So I tried baking my own version of a tres leches cake and hoped it would go down well at cake club.
I originally baked my cake as a triple layer cake but the recipe testers felt it worked better as a two layer one. I’ve since baked it with 2 layers and I’m happy to agree with them. It holds up better, from looking at my original picture it looks like it could topple over at any time!
The recipe introduction says: “Cocktail and Mocktail themed events are very popular with Cake Club members who shake and stir all manner of ingredients to turn their favourite tipple into a cake.” (well Mojito is one of my favourites apart from gin!) “Sam has created a South American-inspired tres leches cake- sponge soaked in three milks: condensed milk, evaporated milk and double cream- which is infused with the punchy flavours of the traditional Cuban rum cocktail, the mojito. It’s perfect for sharing on World Cocktail Day which celebrates the day in 1806 when the word “cocktail” was first put into print, thereby officially recognising the alchemy of mixing spirits”.
The Tres Leches cake is ideally best to be made and soaked the night before you need to bake it as you need to give time for the flavours to develop in the cake.
To bake the cake itself you need to first sift plain flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. In another bowl you need to beat softened butter and sugar together until it gets light and fluffy. Then one by one you add in eggs and a little bit of the flour mixture to stop any curdling. When the remaining flour is added in, you then add in some natural coconut extract and some lime zest. The natural coconut extract I swear by is one that comes from a range in Lakeland Ltd. It comes in a small bottle and a few drops transform the flavours of your bakes.
Once all the mixture is combined well, it is divided into two loose bottomed sandwich tins and then baked in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.
Don’t be alarmed when soaking a tres leches cake. It looks like you have loads of soaking syrup and you do wonder how all of that will go into a cake and not fall to pieces in a big soggy mess. I felt like that the very first time I baked one and I panicked. But I was reassured not to worry and it was fine. I took my time carefully with it, spooning the glaze carefully onto the cakes, letting it do the soaking then adding more.
Then, leave your cake overnight in the fridge to let the flavours develop. The next morning or whenever you need to assemble it, make up the topping and filling. This is made with double cream and icing sugar whipped up together. Sometimes I choose to decorate the sides of the cake with the topping as well, depends on what I feel like doing at the time!
Since first creating the recipe I have discovered Sugar and Crumbs Natural flavoured icing sugars and I am a huge fan of their products. I’m always thinking of good excuses to use them. I used some of their Key Lime flavoured icing sugar in the topping instead of plain icing sugar to give it an extra kick. I think it worked extremely well and will be doing that again when I bake the cake in the future.
I’m sorry that I can’t give you the whole recipe here but I am not allowed to by the publishers of the book.
I’m always up for trying out new baking products, especially those which add an extra dimension or an extra special something to my bakes.
Just recently I have discovered Sugar and Crumbs who make a range of natural cocoa powders and icing sugars to enhance your bakes and to turn them into something really special. Not only this but they also sell a great range of crumbs and sprinkles to finish off the top of your cakes with a pretty touch. Sugar and Crumbs sell their products online through their own website but they also have a really useful local stockist search facility on their website. If you type in your postcode it comes up with who stocks the Sugar and Crumbs products nearby. As I live in North Yorkshire I was pleased to see that Sugarcraft Supplies in Garforth sells them! I know where I’ll be heading on my next day off from work!
I belong to to the Clandestine Cake Club and a few of my cakey friends had bought Sugar and Crumbs products to try out in their cakes from a stand at The Cake and Bake Show last year. They were absolutely delighted with them and I was intrigued to try the products out for myself.
From coconut to lime and from Black Forest to Cherry Bakewell there is a flavour to suit everyone’s taste buds. I even noticed there is a chilli flavoured cocoa powder on the website which I would love to try out in the future! Though what I do wish to see is a mint flavour cocoa powder and icing sugar as that is my overall favourite and I would buy it by the shedload!
So when Sugar and Crumbs set me a challenge to bake with a goodie bag of their cocoa powder and icing sugars I jumped at the chance. Mother’s Day is coming up and what better occasion than to bake a cake or something delicious for your mum? I’m a mum of two teenagers myself but I love baking cakes for my own mum. She came to visit me when it was half term so I thought it was a great excuse to get out the cake tins and come up with some treats to share for Mother’s Day.
Sugar and Crumbs offered me a choice of cocoa powders and icing sugars from their wide variety of flavours and extensive range. I chose to go with the Chocolate Orange Natural Flavoured Cocoa Powder which was accompanied by two different icing sugars. One was the Jaffa Twist Natural Flavoured Cocoa Icing Sugar and the other was the Orange Zest Natural Flavoured Icing Sugar which all came in the most gorgeous pink or white resealable pouches. So pretty, just made me want to open it straightaway and get baking! I was very impressed with the packaging and I felt you got a lot in a packet, especially with the cocoa powder as it would last for a couple or several bakes depending on what you were making.
Those of you that read my SmartCookieSam blog regularly will know that I’m addicted to baking bundts and have started collecting Nordicware bundt pans. So my Mother’s Day bake just HAD to include a bundt cake somewhere. I adapted the recipe from the latest Hummingbird Bakery recipe book which is just out called Life Is Sweet. On page there is a recipe for the Tunnel of Fudge Bundt Cake which I turned into a Jaffa Orange Cake instead. Not only this but I wanted to see what else I could create with my big bag of cocoa powder and hit upon the idea of baking some chocolate orange cookies at the same time.
The smell coming from my oven was just so enticing. I chose to bake the cake in my Heritage Bundt pan which always produces excellent results so I thought I would try and see how the Sugar and Crumbs products worked when baked in a bundt!
Meanwhile I attempted to bake some cookies using some more of the Jaffa Orange Cocoa Powder. I adapted a recipe from a trusty cookie book I have had for a few years now, called The Genuine American Cookie and Muffin Book. In this book there is a recipe for double chocolate cookies. This gave me a great idea to adapt the recipe using the cocoa powder and also to sprinkle some Orange Zest natural icing sugar on top of the cookies for an extra orangey hit. The batch baked two dozen mouthwatering cookies to complement the Jaffa Orange Bundt Cake.
Meanwhile I had to finish off the bundt. This was done by creating a chocolate glace to adorn the top of the cake. I used the chocolate orange icing sugar accompanied with some sugar and mixed it all together with a little bit of butter to form a paste. This was then drizzled carefully in the grooves on the cake. Before it had chance to set I sprinkled on cut up pieces of mini Jaffa Cakes and then some whole ones on top. I used Marks and Spencers’ own ones which are retangular, not round.
The extra flavour that the Sugar and Crumbs cocoa powder and icing sugars added to my bakes was phenomenal. My whole family, including my mum said you could definitely taste the orange in the cake and the cookies. We had a small slice of cake and a cookie each. They tasted absolutely delicious. If there is cake around in my house it always disappears like lightning so I chose to take the rest into one of the schools I teach at to share out with the staff. I hope they liked their treats!
After my Mother’s Day baking session I was pleased I still had most of one of the icing sugars left to use up and also a small amount of Jaffa Orange cocoa powder. I ran out of time to bake more last Sunday but have earmarked a couple of the recipes featured on the Sugar and Crumbs website. There are numerous useful recipes including a mouthwatering sounding brownie recipe. I am definitely going to try that one out. There are also other recipes for fudge and for meringues amongst lots of others though I know that my mum would love a box of homemade fudge!
Here is a link to the Recipe section of the website:
Back in the last week of August I finally was free to go along to one of Wharfedale Clandestine Cake Club’s events. This was the first time I’d managed to get along, there was always something else happening. Thankfully being the summer holidays I had more time and I was free to go along being as the event was on a Thursday night. We met up in Otley and the cake theme for this event was “Go On, Surprise Me”!
I thought of baking a cake which had a pattern inside or was a rainbow cake but I also wanted to bake something I had never baked before. I scoured my recipe books and fell upon a pretty looking Oreo Cookie Cake with rosette swirls of buttercream in the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook. This recipe is by Helen Costello from St Helen’s Clandestine Cake Club and had originally been baked for an American themed cake event. I had a bag of Oreo cookie pieces in my baking cupboard which I had bought in an American candy shop a couple of days earlier. The cake had Oreo pieces crushed inside the cake and I thought that the pieces were hidden inside covered up by the rosette buttercream piping. So the cake would have its surprise after all!
On with the baking. I started to bake the cake the day before the event by greasing two of my 8″ diameter loose bottomed sandwich tins. The cake itself was baked by beating butter and sugar together until light and creamy. The cake used seven egg whites and no yolks so it was great fun separating them.. NOT! After that I added in vanilla extract, some self raising flour and then finally added in some crushed Oreo pieces.
The cakes baked for about 45-50 minutes in my fan oven.
On the morning of the event I made up the vanilla frosting. I spread some frosting on the top of one of the cakes and sandwiched it to the other one. Then I coated the top and the sides of the cake. Unfortunately the frosting quantity wasn’t enough to go round and I only managed to piped the rosettes on the top of the cake. I was very disappointed with my rustic decorating skills.
Once I saw the finished cake I was ashamed and disappointed with my cake wreck. So unfortunately my surprise ingredient ended up being sprinkled around the bottom of the cake so it would detract away from the messy sides of the cake. The top ended up with more Oreos being thrown on top of it and then as suggested in the recipe about sprinkling your cake with edible lustre dust. I did have some gold and silver lustre dust in my cupboard last Christmas but it had all gone so I had to use my lilac edible glitter instead. I was a bit heavy handed with it as you can see!
There were lots of lovely cakes at the event and I enjoyed lots of different surprises. From sweetie pinata cakes to a chocolate cake containing quinoa, we were well and truly spoilt. We had some delicious cakey leftovers to take home and I made sure I took some home for my family to enjoy as much as I did.
I’ve already been back at work for over two weeks now but for our school training day at the very beginning of the year we always have a shared lunch. As I love baking I always bring in the pudding or some cake. This time as normal I brought along some peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies and a cake. The cake was one I’d been wanting to bake for a couple of weeks now, ever since it was the Technical Challenge in the first week of this year’s Great British Bake Off! So Mary’s Cherry Cake it had to be!
For the link to Mary’s own recipe you can find it here:
In the Bake Off it was lovely to see the cakes baked in ring tins and I thought that one of my Nordicware Bundt pans would be perfect for the job. My bundt pans are my new obsession and I can’t wait to add to the collection when I can afford it. So I got out my heart shaped one, greased it carefully and got on with the baking.
More often than not my cherries sink to the bottom of my cakes. I try to rinse them carefully but I’ve since found out that taking a couple of tablespoonfuls of flour out of the total amount and tossing the cherries in it works well to stop the sinking. I realised also if I needed to halve or quarter the cherries I should really rinse off the sticky syrup after cutting them as you end up with the stickiness on the inside too! Maybe that was another reason why my cherries sank!
All the other ingredients were simply weighed out and mixed together in one large bowl. Self raising flour, caster sugar, butter, eggs, along with a delicate flavour of grated lemon zest and a small amount of ground almonds. I was pleased about that, almonds always go really well with cherries.
The cake was meant to stay in the oven for about 35-40 minutes. I found this was ample time for the cake and thankfully it rose well inside my bundt tin. I always feel nervous when turning out a cake from its tin, especially so with a shaped cake. But I can honestly say I don’t have any trouble with Nordicware bundt pans so long as you spray the tin with Dr Oetker Cake Release first!
While the cake was cooling it was time to make the icing. I mixed up icing sugar and the juice of one lemon to make a glace icing. I think my lemon made a lot of juice as the icing was very runny and I ended up having to add twice as much icing sugar than was asked to make the icing thick enough. It was still runny though but I didn’t mind that as I wanted it to trickle down the sides of the heart in the grooves. When I’d done this I added some halved cherries and some flaked almonds to decorate the top. Hey presto, it was finished and ready to take along to work.
My cake went down well at the training day. There wasn’t much left the next day, although I did manage to have a small slice myself. I love cherry cake so I know I’ll be having another go at this in the future.