Cake cake cake cake cake! Having attended the first Clandestine Cake meet-up, I knew what to expect – everyone brings along a home-baked cake and we all get to enjoy each others' creations and have some cakey chat. This was the third Edinburgh cake ladies event and, with nearly thirty bakers attending, there was so much cake.
The event was organised by Hilary from My Monkfish who decided on the theme 'Feel The Fear and bake it anyway'. The idea was to make something you were a bit scared would go wrong or use flavour combinations you’re not entirely sure would go together. There was a list of what everyone was baking on the Edinburgh Cake Ladies blog beforehand and there were some amazing choices: from complicated baking like Gateau St Honore and Diplomat cake, to interesting flavour combinations like spiced chilli chocolate cake and apple and walnut cake with treacle icing. My cake was slightly mysteriously (or pretentiously!?) named Walk the Line cake. This was just to make it sound slightly more exciting than what it was called in my Keiko Ishida baking book, simply titled Birthday Cake. The fear factor with this cake was two elements – firstly, there was the chocolate and lavender flavour pairing which I wasn’t sure if people would like. Secondly there was the composition – a soufflé swiss roll turned onto its side, sandwiched between two chocolate layers with white chocolate lavender ganache and covered in whipped cream icing. All the steps towards making it were pretty straightforward, but very time consuming – I didn’t quite have as much time to decorate the cake as I would have liked, but I love the stripy effect that the cake has once it’s been cut into, so I figured this would be decoration enough. It seemed to be, I got some lovely comments and there was a sigh of relief – phew, people liked it!
I managed to try quite a few different cakes, thanks to a 'buddy' system I had with my pal Sarah where we'd share each others' pieces and I was also lucky enough to take quite a few home with me to enjoy. My favourites I had on the night were the cinnamon and caramel cake with a gooey caramel sauce, the Diplomat cake which was made with potatoes and was delightfully fruity and refreshing, the Gateau St Honoure decorated with large raspberry-filled chocolate and the rich chocolate fruit cake. Oh, and the cinnamon cake with blackberries and the clementine cake, both autumnal hits. And I can't forget the Mysterious Orange cake - secret ingredient, Irn Bru! I could go on, but instead of me just listing all the cakes I liked, go and visit the Edinburgh Cake Ladies facebook page and look at some beautiful photos. Here are a few of mine (not many, as sadly my camera was not working very well) and the recipe for the souffle chocolate swiss roll after the jump.
|Cinnamon and Caramel cake|
|Cinnamon cake with blackberries|
The original recipe in Keiko Ishida Japanese baking book 'Okashi' is for a plain sponge but after doing a bit of research, I found this example of a striped cake by Gesine Bullock-Prado (who has an excellent book on cooking with sugar, Sugar Baby) and loved the visual effect of the chocolate cake version so have adapted the original recipe as per below.
Chocolate Souffle Roll Sponge
(adapted from Keiko Ishida's Okashi)
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
35g unsalted butter
50g dark chocolate
50g plain flour and 10g cornflour, sifted together twice (or cake/pastry flour if you have this)
15g cocoa powder, sifted twice
60g fresh whole milk
3 egg whites
85g caster sugar
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Line a swiss roll tin (28x28cm or thereabouts) with parchment paper.
2. Combine egg, egg yolks and vanilla extract in a small bowl and beat lightly. Set aside.
3. Place butter and chocolate in a small saucepan, and heat gently until melted. Add flours and cocoa to melted butter and cook through. Transfer butter-flour mixuture to a bowl, then add egg mixture a little at a time. With a spatula, mix into a smooth batter. Add milk and mix to incorporate. Strain batter and set aside.
4. To make meringue, place egg whites in a clean bowl and beat until foamy. Add half the sugar and continue beating for a few minutes, then add remaining sugar and beat until egg whites are glossy and stiff peaks form.
5. Add one-third of meringue to batter and fold in lightly, then add remaining meringue and fold through until just incorporated. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and spread evenly with a scraper. Place cake pan on a tray and bake for 20 minutes.
6. When cake is done, remove from pan and place in a big plastic bag to cool.
The stripy insides of the cake is basically like a large swiss roll on its side. Once you have prepared the swiss roll sponge, have some liqueuer or sugar syrup to brush the cake and at least a cup of whipped cream (flavoured to your tastes, I used lavender syrup and icing sugar) and some curd if you desire. Turn the souffle sponge onto a clean work surface. Peel off parchment paper from the bottom of the sponge and peel off the brown skin from the top. Cut sponge into four equal width pieces (mine was 5cm). Brush liqueur over sponge pieces and spread curd and/or whipped cream evenly over the top. Roll one length of sponge up like you would a swiss roll. Turn cake so it stands on a cut edge. Place it on your cake board or plate. With the creamed side facing in, position the second length of sponge around the first. Repeat with remaining layers and trim a little of the outermost sponge layer so you get a round sponge. Smothen any excess cream on top of cake using a spatula, place cake in the freezer to chill and set. Once set, cover cake with your choice of frosting or buttercream. I covered my cake with whipped cream sweetened with icing sugar and lavender syrup and stabilised with a tablespoon of cornflour.