Fast forward two years, and many of the bloggers that I follow and love are members of their local CCC. I have greedily read their blog posts about their fantastic bakes, and seen the photos of tables groaning under the weight of the most glorious selection of cakes. So imagine my excitement when browsing the CCC website and I saw that Fiona had only gone and set up a Chesterfield division! I emailed her immediately and signed up.
We met on Monday night, and the event was held at Harleys Hairdressers on Chatsworth Road. I'd never been to Harleys before, but want to just take a second to describe this gorgeous little salon. Harleys is a Hair and Beauty Salon, but with a stunning boutique gift shop attached (Harleys Interiors), and a cosy little waiting area with plush couches and chairs. The unprepossessing exterior of Harleys barely hints at the stylish, yet homey atmosphere inside, and I can easily imagine losing a day in here, being pampered, getting my hair done, and browsing the shop. It made a great venue for the CCC as well, as the cakes were displayed around the salon on the hair stations, so we could easily meander through and assess enjoy each cake on its own little podium!
|'Spring has Sprung' Honey Cream Cake|
Anyways, back to my cake. The theme for our first meeting was 'Spring has Sprung' (haha as I type this there are 3 inches of snow on the ground outside). Fiona had advised me that there were already several Lemon based creations on the list, so I wanted to provide a different flavour. With March not really heralding a great selection of seasonal produce that could form the basis of a cake, my thought process took me to emerging buds, and flowers coming back to life after winter, and I pictured bumble bees starting to gather pollen again to make honey...so Honey Cake it was! Made with leftovers and things that I had to hand in the pantry, this recipe is one of my own creation. I have since discovered it is very similar in make up to a Russian Medovnik Honey Cake, although the Medovik cake generally has 10 much thinner layers to its make up than the four here in my cake.
For the Honey Cake
225 grams butter
450 grams golden caster sugar
350 grams plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarb of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
200 grams honey flavour greek yoghurt
80 grams honey
For the Honey Cream filling
1 x 395 gram tin of condensed milk
2 tablespoons honey
60 grams unsalted butter
For the 'Spring has Sprung' decoration
500 grams unsalted butter500 grams icing sugar
Food colour gels in orange, yellow, and green
A selection of sugarpaste blossoms
To make the cake - pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees, and lightly grease two 9 inch cake tins. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating in well.
Put the yoghurt and honey in a jug and stir together. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, and add the bicarb and the salt.
Now gradually add the flour and yoghurt mixtures a bit at a time, alternating between the wet and the dry, and fold into the egg mixture. Stir well to make sure that all the ingredients are well combined.
Spoon the mixture evenly into the two prepared tins, and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until it passes the skewer test. Remove the cakes from the tins, and place on a cooling rack.
To make the honey cream filling - Put the condensed milk, eggs, butter and honey in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Heat over a low heat until all the ingredients have melted and blended together. Turn up the heat and bring to a low boil. Stir the mixture continuously until it thickens, then transfer to a bowl, and set aside to cool.
Once the mixture has cooled, place it in the fridge to set a little. You may need to occasionally stir or whisk the mixture to prevent it from getting lumpy.
To assemble the cake - take a large serrated knife, and carefully flatten the tops off the two cakes. Then slice both cakes horizontally so that you end up with four even flat cakes. Build up the cake by layering cake, then the chilled honey cream, then cake, and so on until you have used all the layers.
If you are serving the cake just like this, reserve some of the cream for the top of the cake to finish it. If you decide to go on and decorate like mine, make the top layer cake, and use all the cream on the inside.
|Four Layer Honey Cream Cake|
For the 'Spring has Sprung' decoration
Make up the buttercream by beating the butter until pale and creamy, the gradually mixing in the icing sugar. Split the buttercream into 4 equal quantities.
Using one quarter of the buttercream, roughly crumb coat the sides of the cake, by applying a thin layer all over. This helps to seal in the cream, and stop crumbs sticking to the finished design.
Place the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the crumb coat to set. Meanwhile, using the remaining three portions of buttercream, colour them in yellow, orange and green, and put into piping bags.
Take the cake, and with the piping bags, pipe a row of dots vertically down the side of the cake, alternating the colours. Using a pallet knife, smudge the dots sideways to create the petal effect. Pipe the next row of dots over the tail of the smudged petal. By shifting the colour pattern up by one, you can start to build a spiral effect around the cake. Repeat until the pattern runs all the way around the cake. Then do the same on the top of the cake. Here I have made circles of the colours graduating to the centre.
Finally to finish the cake, place some sugarpaste decorations in the centre. I made some blossoms and daffodils to finish mine, using flowerpaste rather than sugarpaste.
|Flowerpaste Daffodils and Blossoms|
Of course, one of the best things about the Clandestine Cake Club, is that any cake that isn't eaten at the end of the night gets to come home! Here is my little take home tin, with a selection of yummy treats...