Piñata Cake

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.

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The Pinata Cake uses Angel Delight and double cream as the basis of the icing.
The top of my Pinata Cake used lots of random sprinkles I had left in my baking cupboard.

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?

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Clandestine Cake Club “A Year Of Cake” December Bakealong- Nordic Spice Cake.

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I love being a member of the internationally renowned Clandestine Cake Club.  I’ve made lots of lovely friends through chatting over cake. I can honestly say that cake club has changed my life in lots of ways and I wouldn’t be without it.  I haven’t been able to get along to any events for a couple of months due to work commitments but I’m excited to be getting back to it in January!

For those who can’t always make the events and meet up with friends there are a couple of other options.  Members can join in a virtual cake event or a bakealong.  I have joined in with several of these in the past, including the CCCBook Club “A Year Of Cake” bakealong.  These events are monthly and by the end of that month those who want to take part choose to bake a cake which features in that particular chapter of the Year Of Cake book. You take photos and email this with a short description of the cake and why you baked it, etc for Lynn Hill founder of the Clandestine Cake Club to put into a write up or blog post of the event. Though sometimes I’ve forgotten to post the photos by the deadline and missed it a couple of times!

Anyway, being December it was the last of the Year Of Cake bakealongs.  There were twelve scrumptious recipes to choose from all of which I would love to have baked.  I had to go with something I know everyone would eat at home.  I decided on the Nordic Spice Cake.  It is a cake typical of the flavours in Scandinavian cooking which is shared at the time of St. Lucia’s Day (the Swedish festival of lights) Baked in a circular bundt pan it could be resplendent of an Advent wreath or a St Lucia crown.

I chose to bake my version in the Gingerbread House Bundt pan instead of a wreath shape.  This is because I’m absolutely rubbish at making gingerbread houses, they always collapse on me no matter how much icing I throw on them. So I could have a cakey version instead.  It was 8.30am on December 23rd and I had so much to do. The gingerbread house was only one of a few things I was going to bake.

First things first- to grease the gingerbread house pan.  This was a complex job as it had lots of nooks and crannies.  Lots of Cake Release needed here! Then I made sure the oven was on and preheating with the top shelf removed so I could get the tin in without knocking it.

Then for the cake itself. I creamed together butter and brown sugar until it became light and fluffy.  Next I beat eggs, natural yoghurt and the zest of a large orange together in another bowl.  Finally in another bowl I measured out sifted self raising flour and three teaspoonfuls of my friend Heidi’s special Christmas Spice.  Lynn Hill’s recipe also uses 35ml of mulled wine in the mix.  I didn’t have mulled wine so instead I added in the juice of the orange I had taken the zest off first. The aroma coming out of the kitchen smelled wonderful and I couldn’t wait to try it.  Nothing smells as nice to me as the smell of baking gingerbread.

With the gingerbread house bundt pan being an uneven shape I usually put it on a flat baking tray in the oven so it can bake flat. Nothing worse than the gingerbread house’s chimney sticking through the gap in the oven tray and the mixture all falling out on the bottom of the oven. Believe me, I’ve been there.

As luck would have it the cake baked perfectly and came out of the pan in one piece. I couldn’t decorate it straight away as I had other things to do. So the gingerbread house went into a corner of the kitchen for a few hours while I started on some fudge.

Decorated with piped glace icing and some Wilton Gingerbread house sugar shapes as well as some M&Ms the cake looked really festive.  It made a beautiful centrepiece on Christmas Eve and also tasted fantastic.  Not everyone likes fruit cake or marzipan and this was a perfect alternative.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Eton Mess Cake- The Clandestine Cake Club A Year Of Cake Bakealong June 2016.

I’m a member of the internationally renowned Clandestine Cake Club and regularly go along to local events in Yorkshire. I’ve been a member for over 3 years now and have made a lot of friends through the club. We take a cake each along to the event and try tiny pieces of each other’s cakes. If we can’t eat much, we take cake home at the end to share with family or work colleagues. Last year I was excited to hear that two of my recipes were to be published in the second Clandestine Cake Club cookbook “A Year Of Cake”. My Welsh Honey and Camomile Bara Brith and Mojito and Coconut Tres Leches Cake recipes were featured in the book, much to my surprise but happiness!

Lots of yummy recipes are featured in the book including ones created by friends.  One such recipe I’ve been desperate to have a go at baking is the one my friend Clare submitted for the book, her take on a British classic pudding in cake form- Eton Mess.  Containing some of my favourite pudding ingredients, such as meringue, strawberries and raspberries mixed with cream. Clare’s cake uses buttercream and jam to sandwich a traditional Victoria sponge together and the Eton Mess part of the cake is it’s photogenic topping. Clare’s recipe also contains another ingredient I love which works perfectly with strawberries and raspberries, a luscious addition of white chocolate chunks. 

Last Saturday afternoon I was at home for once. It’s been a crazy few weeks with every weekend spoken for and work has been chaotic. Baking was my chance to unwind and enjoy a bit of “me time”. I wanted to bake a cake to celebrate my daughter passing her college course. She is now a qualified make up artist and is off to uni to study media makeup and prosthetics in September. We are all very proud of her as she aims to follow her dream. Baking cakes of course is one of my ways of congratulating her! Everyone at home loves pavlova and cake so I knew the Eton Mess cake would be a big hit.

To bake the cake I started off by baking the sponge part. This is done in the usual way that you make a Victoria sponge and it wasn’t long before I was creaming butter and sugar together with my handheld electric mixer. Clare suggests using margarine instead of butter so I used Pure Non Dairy spread which I swear by for baking sponges and cupcakes. It makes them very light. Then in went four eggs one by one which were beaten into the mixture. As I started to add some self raising flour and baking powder I realised I hadn’t got the cake tins out. My cake tin drawers in my kitchen are getting very messy and it takes me ages to sort through them to find the right size tin. I was annoyed that one of the tins had fallen down the back of the unit and got wedged between it and the drawer below. Hubby would say it was my own fault for having too many cake tins! I don’t agree! 

Finally having found the tins I was looking for I got them greased and the mixture in them ready to go in the oven. For once I remembered to set the timer and being as I have a fan oven I wanted to check them after 20-25 minutes. This is when I realise I’m not that good at multi tasking. I put some washing in the machine and another load out on the line. It took me ages to do this as there were loads of pairs of socks and pants to hang out! By the time I’d gone back inside I realised it was time for the cake to come out of the oven. Thankfully got it out just in time!

Now for the decoration part. For the cake topping I needed to make some mini meringues. I’ve only made meringues once or twice before, it’s something I’ve never really done a lot of. I always thought of them as being fiddly and complicated. But Clare’s way of whisking the egg whites until they are stiff then adding caster sugar a teaspoonful at a time was a great help to get the right consistency. I have always tipped in the sugar and wondered why I couldn’t get them to keep the egg whites stiff enough. Also, to add into the meringue mixture you mix in some cornflour and white wine vinegar. I was impressed with my shiny meringue mixture and then got my baking trays ready. I prepared up my piping bag and my large star nozzle. The meringue piped easily onto the trays and there was more than enough to go on the cake as well as having some left over.

I was really impressed with how my meringue stars turned out.
There were lots of leftover meringue stars once I’d decorated the cake.

Now for the cake assembling and decorating time, the bit I was looking forward to the most. I decided to use whipped cream in place of buttercream in the recipe. I had a small pot of cream in the fridge which needed to be used up and I didn’t want to waste it. I whipped up the cream but there wasn’t enough to fill the middle of the cake along with some strawberry  jam. So instead the cream was just spread on the top of the cake with the jam in the middle. Once the cream was spread on I put meringue stars around the edge of the cake and filled the middle with raspberries, strawberries and white chocolate chunks.

View from the top- a heavenly combination of meringues, raspberries, strawberries, cream and white chocolate.
Ta-dah! A classic cake perfect for a summer celebration.
Lush meringue stars.
We didn’t get to eat a piece of the cake until the following day but it was worth the wait!
The cake got eaten over the next couple of days. By Wednesday it had all gone!
Although the cake had been baked on Saturday afternoon for my daughter, we didn’t actually get to enjoy some until the day after. My daughter had been working all day Saturday and went straight to a friends’ house to a party and sleepover. Then on Sunday morning she went straight to work and didn’t get to eat her cake until Sunday tea time. I kept the cake in the fridge due to the cream in it and it kept it fresh. An extremely popular cake all round and one I would love to bake again in the future.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Chocolate and Peanut M&M Cake- The Clandestine Cake Club A Year of Cake May Bakealong

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.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Bundt Cake- from The Clandestine Cake Club’s A Year Of Cake March Bakealong.

As you know, I love any excuse to bake and even more of an excuse to get one of my prized Nordicware bundt pans out! Ever since the second Clandestine Cake Club book “A Year Of Cake” was published last September I’ve been keen to bake the mouthwatering Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cake which my friend Sharon Clarkson contributed to the book.

Sharon is organiser for the Pudsey and West Leeds Clandestine Cake Club and nearly two years ago she organised an event where we had to bake cakes from around the world.  I created a Mojito and Coconut Tres Leches Cake which also ended up being put in the “A Year Of Cake” book. Sharon created a delicious peanut butter and chocolate bundt which was absolutely heavenly. So when the recipes were revealed when the book was published it was exciting to see Sharon’s recipe had been accepted.  The recipe testers decided though, that they wouldn’t have it as a bundt cake but as an ordinary layer cake.

Lynn Hill, the founder of The Clandestine Cake Club has been organising a monthly Bakealong of recipes from the book.  If you want to take part you tell Lynn which recipe you would like to bake from that month’s chapter.  There are usually between seven and nine recipes for each month.  Sharon’s recipe had been added to the book to commemorate the date of the London Marathon which is a link with its favours of a Snickers bar. Who remembers Snickers bars being called Marathons? Can’t remember offhand when the name changed but I’m sure it was when I was a teenager.

The recipe introduction says “About 40,000 people pull on their running shoes each year to take part in the challenge that is the London Marathon. Those of you who can’t speak from experience can nonetheless imagine that running 26 miles leaves you pretty tired and in need of some energy. With its crunchy sugar- boosting mix of caramel, peanuts and chocolate, Sharon’s Marathon cake will definitely help the runners in your life replace the calories they’ve burned. And if just the thought of running for a bus makes you tired then sit down with a cup of tea and a slice of cake and toast those brave competitors who pound the streets for charity,”

I am totally in awe of anyone who runs a marathon. I started running last September and have gone from not even running at all with my knees aching to running for 20 minutes non-stop. Of course I run at a snail’s pace but I’m working on getting faster as I have signed up for the Race For Life in York at the end of June! I’m not sure whether my family will be there handing me a slice of chocolate and peanut butter cake at the finish line but they’ve assured me they will be there to cheer me on!

Last Tuesday I had a very special photo session in my kitchen. I’ll be able to tell you more about it as soon as I can but I needed to have some cakey props in the kitchen.  So the opportunity to bake the Chocolate and Peanut Butter cake was perfect for the photos.  I chose to bake it in my  Nordicware Square bundt pan as I knew it worked well as a bundt!

 To bake the bundt I first had to mix crunchy peanut butter (I always use a good quality brand with no sugar in it, such as Meridian or Whole Earth) with some icing sugar. This was then put aside as I made the rest of the cake. In a bowl some cocoa powder, plain flour and salt was sifted and mixed together. I then got out another bowl and then creamed together some butter and sugar until it became light and fluffy. To this, I added eggs carefully to ensure the mixture didn’t curdle.  After this I took it in turns to add the flour mixture along with a mixture of buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla extract. Finally I added some chopped plain chocolate and folded it into the batter, along  with the peanut butter.

The Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bundt Cake ready to be put in the oven. I absolutely love my Nordicware Square Bundt pan which was a Christmas present.

I always hope and pray that my bundts come out of the pan in one piece, luckily this time it did!

I had prepared the cake before the photographer arrived at my house and it was all ready to be iced if he needed me to do it for the photos. I was asked to make up the icing and was photographed mixing the icing. The icing was a heavenly mix of cocoa powder, butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract and evaporated milk which turned into a delicious fudgy frosting. I then was photographed spreading the icing onto the cake with a large palette knife. Later, as the photographer needed me to bake and ice other things, I put the cake aside and added chocolate chips, sprinkles and icing sugar on afterwards.

Ready to be eaten. The. bundt’s fudge icing was jusr divine.

 

i was a bit cack handed with the icing sugar and the chocolate sprinkles!

 

A perfect example of chocolate heaven.

 By the time the photographer left it was about 3pm and  I was very hungry. I couldn’t help it but I cut myself a piece of the cake for my lunch. It was gorgeous. The rest ended up being eaten in bits over the next few days by my family.  I will definitely be baking the cake again!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

 Raspberry and Lemon Love Heart Cake- The Clandestine Cake Club A Year of Cake February Bakealong.

 

The Raspberry and Lemon Love Hearts Cake from The Clandestine Cake Club book A Year Of Cake
Valentine’s Day to me is a great excuse to bake.  I don’t like all the commercialism around Valentine’s Day, though. To me if you want to show someone you love them, its the little things every day, not just on the 14th February. Why wait until the 14th February to buy your loved one a bunch of flowers? They’re usually twice or three times the price! My hubby and I once went out on Valentines Day to dinner and it was a complete let down. The meal wasn’t very good, the tables in the restaurant were crammed close together so you felt like you were listening to other people’s conversations. It was expensive and the following day I went down with a stinking cold. So ever since then we make a nice dinner at home and I might bake a cake. But then again we do that at other times of the year. 

This year I decided to take part in the Clandestine Cake Club’s monthly A Year of Cake Bakealong. If you see my last post it explains how the Bakealong works. For the February event we have to send our photos in by the end of the month.  I chose to bake Margaret Knox’s Raspberry and Lemon Love Heart cake which is featured in the book to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

As mentioned in the recipe introduction ” but cake club members know the fastest way to your heart is through your stomach, so it’s an occasion for cakes! Presented with this pink, zingy flavoured fruity gift, your Valentine’s reaction is sure to echo one of the classic  Love Heart messages: All Mine!”

Last September when the Clandestine Cake Club book A Year Of Cake came out we were invited to a special book launch party in Leeds. Everyone was drawn to Margaret’s beautiful cake with its delicate pastel pink icing. But the real treat was inside- the sponge is bright pink! To match the colour, the flavour is also achieved with real fresh raspberries and a hint of lemon. No wonder we loved the cake and it vanished off the table.

I couldn’t wait to bake it myself and was glad that I had the February Bakealong to do it. My husband would enjoy the cake itself but he’s not a fan of sugar paste. He could always take it off though.  

So on Valentine’s Day itself I set to with baking this stunning cake. The cake is baked in two 20cm/ 8″ diameter loose bottomed sandwich tins which were greased and lined with baking parchment circles. 

To make the cake itself I creamed together butter and sugar. To the creamed mixture I added eggs and self raising flour. When this was done, in went the zest of two lemons and some fresh raspberries. Finally I needed to turn the sponge pink, this was achieved with a few drops of pink gel food colouring. For colouring sponges I always use Dr Oetker gels which you can buy in most major supermarkets. 

The mixture was divided between the two greased tins and baked for about 25 minutes. So far so good. When I took the cakes out of the oven though I was a bit worried as the top of the sponge didn’t look pink, it was very pale and was browned. I hoped the inside would look better. I thought maybe I hadn’t added enough food colouring but I thought I’d stuck loads in.

The finished cake though Iots more practice needed with sugarpaste.
  

When the cakes had cooled I turned them out on to a rack and started to assemble the cake. The filling could be either with raspberry jam or lemon curd along with a simple buttercream. I made up some buttercream and found some raspberry jam in the cupboard. I didn’t have lemon curd so raspberry it had to be! The buttercream and jam were spread onto the cakes, they were layered up together and then onto the next stage of baking. 

I then had to colour a packet of white sugarpaste myself. I find this a real pain and can never get it to be even coloured, it t always ends up with little streaks in.  For colouring sugar paste I always use  cocktail sticks and post blobs of the concentrated gel into the icing. Then I knead the colour in but always wear disposable catering gloves so the colour doesn’t stain my hands. Before I discovered that tip and got red food colouring on my hand, it looked like I’d had a nasty acciden

A ribbon around the edge of a cake always covers up my mistakes.

Yayyyy! The colour did turn out pink after all!

As you can see from these pictures above my sugarpaste colouring skills still need practice. At least I managed to cover the cake with with the sugarpaste without having a wrestling match with the rolling pin and lots of swearing. A little tip- that’s why ribbons around the edge of a cake always hides any mistakes!

To finish, I got out my cake smoother to flatten out the surface of the cake and added the Love Heart sweets to the top. There were a few sweets leftover in the packet and lo and behold the children came downstairs when they saw I had spares.   I’m sure they have radar where sweets are concerned.

So did Mr SmartCookieSam enjoy his cake? No he didn’t because he said it was too sweet. But I took the remains to share out at the end of the Cake Club event I was going to the following night. I thought it tasted fab even though I say so myself. 

Would I bake this amazing cake again? Of course I would.

Happy Baking! 

Love Sam xx

Raspberry Cranachan Cake- Clandestine Cake Club “A Year Of Cake January Bakealong” 

  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.

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Raspberry Cranachan Cake- recipe by Lynn Hill, founder of The Clandestine Cake Club.

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!

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Just look at that stunning Cranachan topping!

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.

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A perfect birthday cake for my husband. He said no to the candles though!

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!

Clandestine Cake Club

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!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx