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.
Love Sam xx