Clandestine Cake Club – Skipton and Yorkshire Dales

so, I’ve decided to jump in and organise a local group of the Clandestine Cake Club. This is a social gathering of people who like to bake, eat and talk about cake. I would direct you to their website but as of tonight and a little appearance on The One Show they’ve been overloaded and crashed. Sadly there’s a few technical things to sort out but I hope theyre up and running in a few days so the cake love can spread and people can book to come to the Skipton event I’ve planned.
So in the meantime the Skipton and Yorkshire Dales Clandestine Cake Club will hold it’s first event “Adventurous Afternoon Tea” on 29th April 2pm and as with the clandestine part of the name the venue gets revealed at a later date. So keep an eye out for the website reopening and I’ll add my own little page for Skipton and Yorkshire Dales Clandestine Cake Club on this blog with contact details for booking.
It’s very exciting as bookings have already come in.

Things I’d like to make…

So, with this blog I set out to improve my cake decorating skills and indeed plan to make cupcakes, cookies and cakes galore that let me do that… But I thought I would also sit down and list some cakes and things I’ve never tried before to give me a bit of focus and variation to my baking. I can’t cover and decorate a full cake every week after all!
So here goes (in no particular order).

1. Macaroons: I’ve never made them and think all the colours look very pretty. I’ve read they are tricky and take practice… So I thought I best get on practicing.

2. Tart au citron : love them. ’nuff said.

3. Rhubarb meringue pie.. As I want to do a lemon tart above and as every year we have a beast of a rhubarb plant I thought a twist on the good old English pud might be nice.

4. Rhubarb recipes (any). As I have mentioned I have the beast and I want to compile a stack of rhubarb recipes to use my lovely harvest (I hope it does well now I’ve said that – but this is Yorkshire and the rhubarb triangle – just abouts).

5. Iced fingers – I don’t generally do yeast-based baking, I haven’t had much luck. But then with my husbands helping hand we made Paul Hollywoods iced fingers which were AMAZING and so I want to recreate these on my own and with my Kenwood (I can’t be getting my hands stuck in with a 5month old kicking about).

6. Battenburg – I’ve made a battenburg before when fundraising for breast cancer care (over on my other blog). I was proud as punch with it, yet it was far from perfect and I want to see if I can do better.

7. Whoopie pie – never had one and not sure what all the hype is about, so best have a try and find out.

8. Cake pops – ditto

9. Baked cheesecake – ooh yummy

10. Fruity frostings – I want to jazz up my basic cupcakes with frostings using natural food colouring of fruit or say champagne!!

11. pecan pie

12. biscotti

13. Apple Kuchen/Cinnamon rolls for breakfast one time

14. A layer cake

15. A marble cake

16. Millionaires’s shortbread

17. This one is quite specific but I have been wanting to do it for AGES… Dan Lepard’s Pecan Crust bourbon Chocolate Tart.

Be my valentine..

I sent my husband off to work the other morning with a little cupcake with instructions to “cut along the dotted line”.

I had baked a little heart into the centre and using chocolate sprinkles created a doted line right across the centre. However, my lovely 4 month old daughter distracted me at the crucial moment of taking them out of the baking tray and I forgot which way round the little heart was supposed to be.

So it was a game of pot luck;

Cupcake 1; (eaten by me)

a kind of heart filled centre

Cupcake 2; (The one sent with my hubby…)

yay.. I heart you!

Cupcake no. 3 (eaten by me)

Bingo!

cupcake 4; (eaten by hubby) oh well, better luck next time 😦

The fact I got one to work made me happy, if only I had sent that one as my valentine gift.

If you want to know how to make these gems you will find links to the instructions via my pinterest account under tutorials.

Sing a rainbow

I am really taking to this cake decorating lark. I hope to do many cakes, especially birthday cakes for my daughter, over the coming years. Therefore I decided to see what different colours of sugar paste I could achieve from starting with just the 3 primary colours in paste.

I chose Red extra (recommended because you need less in order to get a strong red colour), Melon and Baby Blue. I made my primary colour sugarpaste and then 1:1 mixes of these to get my Rainbow; red, orange, yellow,green,blue, indigo/violet

The basic colour wheel(the purple looked a bit yukky, but as I went on it wasn’t that bad after all).

I started out getting all scientific with it, rolling out my paste and cutting equal sized disks so I could work out exact ratios…

.. but I soon realised this was just stupid and I had better things to do with my time and just pulled bits off around the correct size.

So I did intermediate colours by mixing 1:1 between red and orange, orange and yellow, yellow and green and so on….

I then made lighter variants by mixing 1:1 with some white, then a random amount more white to get the pastel of each colour and voila…

my rainbow!

My Rainbow

So, I dont think that’s a bad range of colours to be able to achieve from 3 sugarpaste colour pots….

Next week I aim to try making some more obscure colours like flesh colour and gold which I have seen some instructions online as to how to achieve them by mixing up basic colours.

Chocolate Lemon

So we all know chocolate orange is a firm favorite, so when I had some leftover lemon biscuit dough and a hankering for something chocolatey I decided to experiment with chocolate lemon!

and you know – it works, yum!

I decided to cut out hearts in preparation for getting valentine romantic and half dip in chocolate.

I had an excess of chocolate melted in the end so some got a full covering… ummm chocolatey.

as this is all heart, I’ve decided to enter it as a romantic teatime treat (although I actually ate this one at bedtime with a glass of milk!) into Tea Time Treats which is a monthly blogging event that showcases teatime treats! This is hosted alternate months by Karen from Lavender and Lovage and Kate from What Kate Bakes.

Cupcake decorating success

Last night I joined the NCT mums at a local cupcake emporium, Fanticy, on one of their cupcake decorating workshops (although we only did the 2 compared to 12 cupcakes usual on these workshops as it was a specially arranged social event for the NCT).

I learnt the different piping frosting effects from different piping nozzles and how to get a rose effect in piped buttercream which I really wanted to know how to do – actually quite simple when you know how!

I also got taught another slightly different way to make a sugar rose and I may have a go at putting a photo tutorial on the blog… there’s a challenge for me!

I got to bring them home all packaged up pretty – success!!

 

 

Lemony-Lemon Biscuits

So here is my entry for the Alphabakes blog challenge for February. The aim is to bake something with an ingredient that begins with the letter L …………. I have chosen Lemons.

I did say that I was going to give myself an extra challenge to make decorated cookies each month representing the chosen ingredients to practice my decorating skills. Well, I realised with Lemons I could combine the two and I decided to make lemony biscuits in the shape of lemon segments decorated with lemon icing. The inspiration came from a picture I saw on the web somewhere of biscuits decorated to look like slices of lime to go with cocktail cookies (here actually). However, I soon realised there was a bit of a discrepancy between what was in my head and what I could actually achieve with my current decorating and piping skills, but then that’s the aim of this and these were my first ever flood iced and decorated cookies and I now know how I would do them better next time.

I chose to adapt a butter biscuit recipe from the Nigella Domestic Goddess book. I decided to substitute the vanilla extract for lemon juice and zest. I have only done half the recipe amounts too but tried to make them quite lemony.

Lemony-butter Buiscuits

85g unsalted butter

100g caster sugar

1 egg

1 tsp Lemon juice and zest of 1 lemon

200g plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

Cream butter and sugar together and beat in the eggs and lemon juice/zest. Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix to a dough. Put to rest in clingfilm in the fridge for 1 hour. I cut out circles and semi-circles and some free hand lemons. Bake at 160C fan oven for 12 minutes.

Baked biscuits

Once cool I used royal icing to outline the lemon segments and then some Lemon flood icing to fill (I used glace icing so I could use the remaining lemon juice to make the icing lovely and lemony).

flood icing

I then added  royal icing piping detail in yellow or white. I have realised that with piping I need to use a nozzle in order to get a consistent line. I know you can just snip the end of a hand-made baking parchment piping bag but I find that it gets bigger and squarer as I go along. I only have 1 icing nozzle and therefore had to use the no-nozzle method for the white icing, hence the inconsistency in my piping.

adding detail

All done just in time for afternoon tea.

Yum!

and so I hereby submit this to the alphabakes challenge hosted this month by The more than occasional baker (in collaboration with caroline makes). This is exciting!