Tuesday, 15 January 2013

New year, new favourite kitchen thing

It's a new year, we're all trying to be "the new you" when all we really want to be is a bit thinner... But with the new year comes new things. My favourite new thing in the kitchen is most definitely:

Kenco Millicano Wholebean Instant.

Yes, really. I love it. It really is as good as they tell you on those annoying adverts, with the horny parents in the kitchen and the mother in a dressing gown running to school to snatch her pot out of the grasp of the harvest festival.

Smooth, rich, it's delicious. It might even be a bit better than what my espresso machine churns out bell. Maybe not, but it's really nice. Anyone wondering what to get me for Christmas? (A bit early I know - or a bit late?)

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Stamford CCC loves birthday cakes

Bake cake, eat cake, talk about cake, and take cake home – and make new friends in the meantime. That’s the ethos behind Clandestine Cake Clubs, and especially the Stamford branch.

We met on January 7th to have a cakey birthday party – everyone was given the theme to inspire their favourite birthday cakes. Whether it would be a cake you loved from your childhood, or your favourite treat that you’d love to receive this birthday, all Stamford bakers gathered together for a new year natter and some delicious cake.

As organiser, I did create this theme with my own 30th birthday in mind (it was five days before we met), but who can resist a birthday cake?

There were a few new year cancellations unfortunately, so baker numbers were down to seven, although we were joined by a local journalist, Kerry, who is writing a feature about the group. She kindly baked a cake too, so we were up to eight cakes in total. Hopefully our journalist friend will also become a regular member.

The cakes were as follows:
Caterpillar cake
Traditional cherry cake
Raspberry Victoria sponge
Vanilla sponge with flowers
Chocolate marble with fudgey decorations
Lemon drizzle
Chocolate and raspberry cake
And, the piece de resistance, a chocolate and vanilla teapot cake.

Paul the Baker's amazing teapot cake
The teapot cake was made by Paul the Baker, as a birthday present to me (he knows I am as obsessed with tea as I am with cake). Thoughtful, crafty, creative, and massive, this was a mammouth cake. It was half chocolate and half vanilla, designed to look like it was half full of tea. Amazing, and I think everyone agreed it completely stole the show.

The caterpillar cake was a great throwback to childhood, and was incredibly sweet – both in appearance, and taste. My own creation was the raspberry Victoria sponge, with lemony buttercream and raspberry jam as well as actual raspberries. I toyed with allsorts of fancy designs for a birthday cake, but I realised that as I was making one for myself, that simple recipe would keep me very very happy.

Anthea’s raspberry chocolate cake was a great success – the topping, a mix of melted raspberry jam with cream and chocolate – was a real surprise and loved by everyone. I think we’ll all be borrowing that recipe for future bakes.
This month’s event was held at The Crown in Stamford, a wonderful venue. The staff were really helpful and welcoming, and loved the cake afterwards that we gifted them. They arranged the room really well, although the lighting was very atmospheric – meaning all the photos are a little dark I’m afraid!

Hopefully the upcoming feature in the local newspaper, The Stamford Mercury, will create an influx of new members, as we’d love to make new friends and eat even more cake.

A lovely meeting again, and a great start to the year which will hopefully be full of more CCC events and fun venues. I have lots of ideas in the pipeline for where to hold events, and all the members had lots of ideas for different themes we can have. It’s important to remember that the themes are just for inspiration, and not to be scary or stressful – you can simply make a lovely cake and talk with lovely people, irrelevant of the theme.

If you like the sound of our little cake club, please get in touch and join in – everyone is welcome, all ages and both men and women (we have three male members at the moment!) – simply message me on this site or email me at stamfordccc@gmail.com

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Birthday cake

What would be your favourite birthday cake?

Your perfect birthday cake?

That's the theme of the next Stamford Clandestine Cake Club, on Monday, in honour of my birthday (well, I am the organiser, so I can pick the theme!).

This could be a lovely birthday treat...

I can't decide what to make. Do I try to recreate one of the memorable cakes from my childhood that my mum artfully crafted, such as the wooden lodge made with Cadbury's chocolate fingers for the panelling, or the spider that had liquorice legs and marshmallow feet? Or, should I go grown-up, with something boozey... Or, just a Victoria sponge, because I like it and what more reason do you need?

I'd love to hear what your idea birthday cake would be. It might give me some inspiration for what I'm going to bake for Monday's meeting. At the moment I'm thinking Vicky sponge with sweets all over it.

All about the taste, not the looks