Thursday, 23 February 2012

Clandestine Cake Club - February

Last night the theme at Newcastle's Clandestine Cake Club was "If you were a cake, what cake would you be?" I was stumped - I can't claim to be spicy or fruity and the last person who described me as nutty got a punch in the cakehole. My sister suggested lemon: "any unexpectedly defective or undesirable thing or person, usually said of bad choices". Not only  what the divorce papers said but also one of my favourite cake flavours.

I've always wanted to make a lemon meringue cake and decided to try this recipe from Nigella Lawson's website. It is fairly simple to make, smells like pancakes when it's baking and is one of the most delicious cakes I've ever made. A perfect combination of lemon, double cream, sponge and meringue.
My guest at cake club was my sister Lucy, who was made to eat her lemony words along with several other slices of cake. The ladies at cake club described themselves variously as  friendly, sparkly, passionate and, less flatteringly, messy, bananas, bad ass, simple and deathly. 

Special mentions must go to the chocolate orange fudge cake with home made candied orange peel; the hazelnut and raspberry meringue cake (mmm more meringue!) and the German friendship sourdough cake (feed the dough for ten days, split in into four and give three quarters to friends to bake). Thanks as ever to Lisa for organising the event and to Chalk and Paper cafe for hosting it - why not visit them in the centre of town for a lovely cup of tea and some free wifi? 

Sky TV visited cake club and filed this report about the burgeoning interest in low-cost socialising through the medium of cake. It's fair to say that the Newcastle events are booked out very quickly, almost as if Geordie women are a massive bunch of greeders, so much so that a second monthly event is about to be added to the calendar - check the events page for details. The Sky article mentions that cake club members "are keen to get some men along to join in". I think we all know what that means don't we? Howay, Geordie lads - we're passionate, fruity, friendly and usually offer a side serving of double cream - what's not to like? 

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Quick and easy chocolate decorations

I love anything that is very easy to do but looks amazing, like adding killer heels to an outfit or executing a perfect two & a half somersault pike from a relatively low diving board. 

Look at the red flowers on these cakes. Pretty, eh? All you need to make them is:
  • chocolate
  • a piping bag
  • caster sugar
  • edible dust
Shake the edible dust and the caster sugar together and spread it on a plate. Be careful to use an edible dust - these are clearly marked with a gold sticker and must not be confused with the white sticker ones, which are non-edible
<<<< NO!                                                 OOH YUM! >>>

You really only need to buy red, yellow and blue because as you'll remember from primary school, you can mix these to make all the other colours. And if you want pink or a lighter shade, simply make the coloured mix paler by adding more sugar.

Melt your chocolate, put it into the piping bag and thickly pipe whatever shape you want onto the  coloured sugar. Leave this to set - you can put in the fridge. Then simply lift it off the sugar and stick it onto your cake.

The decoration can sit flat on a cake like this Pink Floyd cake I made for my friend Mark at the weekend (I'm not sure why I thought urban graffiti screamed Pink Floyd but he didn't complain). The shape will also be robust enough to stand up unaided, so you can put it  on top of a cake. 

You can use white, milk or dark chocolate but white chocolate shows up the colours best. If you want to pipe a brief insulting message with the chocolate, remember that you will need to do the letters in reverse. Have fun!