Thursday, 12 December 2013

Stamford Clandestine Cake Club does Christmas

Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin baked a cake... I recently wrote a guest post on the Clandestine Cake Club website about why we love Christmas cake - read it here

Christmas came early to the Stamford Clandestine Cake Club on December 9, as we gathered in the Tallington room at the Tobie Norris for our festive meeting. The theme was 'C is for Christmas, cake, and...' and we had 13 wonderful cakes to try. 

The venue was brilliant – really festive, with beams hung with holly, mistletoe, and evergreens, and there were lots of baubles, and some super mulled wine. The staff we really helpful when I panicked over the missing cake labels, and their eyes lit up when I presented them with a huge platter of cake to taste. 

The Tobie Norris is renowned amongst Stamfordians as being the best purveyor of home-made pizzas in the town. Although we didn't have room for any pizzas after all that cake, they certainly smelled excellent. We made the ladies in the room next door, eating their florentines, very jealous with all the cake. For more information, visit the Tobie Norris website

This month's meeting was relaxed and cheerful, and time flew past. We each introduced our cakes briefly, in an attempt to help us remember everyone's name, and also explaining a bit about our bakes. Newbie Celia made an apple crumble loaf, using a new type of apple, the Opal, which is grown locally in Wisbech. Vic's clementine loaf was so healthy and 'without' so many ingredients (flour, butter...) that we wondered what was left in – but there was plenty, as it was delicious. Becky's cake was a Yule log with a difference, featuring crunchy peanut butter. Rhoda's Carribean banana cake was fabulous, if a little difficult to slice up at the end (my apologies again, Rhoda, for slicing it up so that it looked like I'd kicked it!). The race for the cake trough at the end of the night was like bees round a honey pot. The icing Christmas tree atop my cake was made using skills I learned at the CCC 3rd birthday bash up in Liverpool, of which I was quite proud. 

It's been a fantastic year for the Stamford CCC, with some amazing cakes baked, and some real friendships formed. Here's to an equally brilliant 2014 for our club.

The cakes were:
Cranberry and pear loaf - SophieClementine cake - VicApple crumble loaf - CeliaCaribbean banana cake - RhodaCoca Cola cake - KerryChocolate yule log with peanut butter - BeckyCranberry and orange drizzle - VickyChocolate brownie cake - SarahChocolate caramel cake - AliceCranberry and orange stollen - KarenCranberry and marzipan cake - AliChristmas gingerspice cake - SamCourgette and chocolate cake - Katrina

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Cranberry and pear loaf

For this month's Stamford Clandestine Cake Club, the theme was 'C is for Christmas, cake, and...' I couldn't help but want to share the recipe for cranberry and pear muffins with the group, but obviously couldn't make muffins. So I crossed my fingers, made the mix, bunged it all in a loaf tin and hoped for the best.

It turned out really well, very tasty, and everyone approved. It didn't have the lightness of the muffins, and I ran out of icing sugar so it didn't have as much as it should have, but I was quite pleased.

I also made a Christmas tree out of Renshaw's sugar paste. I learned this technique while at the CCC 3rd birthday bash up in Liverpool at the weekend. A lovely lady from Renshaw gave us a demonstration on how to make an icing Christmas tree and I was excited to try it out. Easier that I thought it would be, it made a cute addition to my cake. Thank you, Renshaw, for the skills!

The cake at the CCC birthday bash was amazing - featuring models of founder Lynn Hill and three other founding cake club organisers. It was a great afternoon, spent eating lots of cake and meeting other organisers and members from around the country.

Read my guest post on the CCC website: Why we love Christmas cake

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Spicy pear cake

I baked this spicy pear cake to use up a glut of the fruit (read more about that here) and I was very pleased with the results. This is a recipe from the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook, one of founder Lynn Hill's recipes from CCC Leeds. I served this cake warm with custard as a pudding - ingenious! Lynn has kindly agreed that I can post this on my little blog (thanks Lynn!).

2 pears, peeled cored and quartered
Juice of 1/2 lemon
115g butter
115g light muscovado sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp buttermilk (I didn't have any, so used a bit of plain yogurt mixed with a little milk)
115g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 190C (170C fan).
Prepare a 20cm round loose-bottomed tin.
Place the pears in a bowl with the lemon juice to prevent them from discolouring.
Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Combine the eggs and buttermilk, then add to the sugar and butter mix.
Add the flour and spices gradually until thoroughly combined.
Pour the batter into the tin. Pat the pears dry with kitchen towel, then place artfully on top of the batter.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Serve warm with lashing of custard. Perfect!