Bolton Clandestine Cake Club 21.07.12 – ‘Sweets for my sweet’

Today was my first ever Bolton Clandestine Cake Club event! I have been really looking forward to getting involved and having the opportunity to share my baking, and get to enjoy the cake creations of other members of the group!

The theme for this month was ‘Sweets for my sweet’ and after considering a number of weird and wonderful sweetie related recipes I decided to stick with something fairly simple and traditional for my first attempt. When I was in school I used to be a big fan of the strawberries and cream hard boiled sweets, so I decided I’d go for a strawberries and cream cake. I wanted to find a recipe which was a little different to a standard Victoria Sponge so decided on the below recipe, as the addition of the vanilla seeds to the cream centre and topping sounded like it would compliment the strawberries nicely.

Ingredients
  • 175g unsalted butter , softened
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 175g self-raising flour
Filling & Topping
  • 4 tbsp strawberry jam
  • 284ml carton double cream
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar , sifted
  • 1 vanilla pod , seeds scraped out
  • Strawberries to decorate (cut in half)

Instructions
1. Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Butter and base line

two 20cm sandwich tins. Beat all the cake ingredients together
in a large bowl until smooth. Divide between the tins and level
out. Bake for 20-25 minutes until they are well risen and spring
back when lightly pressed. Leave to cool in the tins for 5
minutes then turn out onto a rack and peel away the paper.
Cool completely.
2. Spread the jam onto the base of one sponge. Lightly whip the
cream with the icing sugar and vanilla seeds and spread half of
it over the top of the jam. Sandwich the other sponge on top.
Spread the remaining cream over the top with a palette knife. Arrange
the strawberries on top to decorate

The end result:

I was really pleased with the finished result!

Cake club did not disappoint! There were so many different cake options to try. It was nice to see how everyone had interpreted the theme differently. As the pictures below show, the  variety on offer was fantastic and people had put such effort into their cakes. It was so difficult to decide which to try first!

It was a great afternoon, eating and talking about cake with like minded cake lovers! Despite my best efforts I was only able to try about 8 of the 20 odd cakes that were there! Thankfully, one of the perks of cake club is that when everyone is done, and there are inevitable leftovers, you get to take samples of the cakes home!! My Fiancé’s eyes lit up when I came home bearing gifts!

 I think it’s obvious what we’ll be having for tea tonight!

Chocolate Chip Banana Loaf

We had a lovely break in York at the start of this week. It was nice to get away for a few nights and have a bit of an explore around such a beautiful city. We had some really great meals out, including lunch at Betty’s Tea Room, which is a favourite of ours. I couldn’t go to Harrogate or York without stopping by for some Betty’s tea and of course some cake!

When we got home I had the urge to get in the kitchen and knock something up. I noticed that we had some over-ripe bananas in our fruit bowl so figured I would have a go at a banana loaf. My Mum always used to make a fantastic banana loaf when I was a kid, and I’ve always wanted to replicate the recipe as it was a real treat. Mum’s recipe used walnuts, but I didn’t have any in my trusty pantry, but I did have a pack of chocolate chips which I figured would be a cheeky alternative.

It was such an easy recipe, basically everything thrown into my trusty Kitchen Aid and then popped in the oven! The result was pretty pleasing. It’s a very moist, dense loaf which is great with a cuppa and has a lovely banana flavour. I remember my Mum’s tip that it’s best to use over-ripe bananas which are nearly black as the flavour comes out better once it’s baked. The chocolate chips were a nice compliment to the banana, but I will definitely be trying the recipe again with walnuts.

The recipe I used is:

Ingredients:

  • 75g butter , softened
  • 110g golden caster sugar
  • 125g plain flour
  • 100g wholemeal flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 ripe bananas , mashed
  • 50g Pecans or Walnuts (or chocolate chips as I used!) 

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 180C/fan 170C/gas 4. Beat the butter, sugar, flours, baking powder, eggs and banana together. Stir in the nuts and spoon into a lined and buttered 450g loaf tin.
  2. Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

If you wanted to add a glaze, just mix the juice of 1 lemon with 1 tbs golden caster sugar and spoon over the top when it’s removed from the oven

It’s been a winner in our household and I’m sure to use the recipe again!