Sweet Reads – Clandestine Cake Club

 

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There is nothing better than a cup of tea, a slice of cake (or two) and a great book.

It’s been quite a number of months since I held the last Clandestine Cake Club – Bounds Green and Bowes Park group, so yesterday was the first meet of more regular meetings. I think a six to eight week gap in between meetings is quite realistic right!?!
The venue this time was a wonderful book shop in Wood Green called The Big Green Book Shop; which has been open now for five years and is very popular among the locals in ‘the know’. The reason I say this, is because many people have said, ‘I didn’t know there was a bookshop there!?!’ Well one of my aims when holding a Clandestine Cake Club meeting is to promote local businesses to new customers. Tick.
Simon and Tim, the owners of Big Green Bookshop, kindly advertised The Clandestine Cake Club on the local community website which brought in a few extra people, which was great. At one point there were 23 people in total milling around eating cake, discussing cake and browsing books. This sounds like a great Sunday afternoon in my opinion.photo4

The theme this time was ‘Sweet Reads’  for obvious reasons. Each baker was asked to bake a cake which represented a book of their choice. There were 14 scrumptious cakes in total including one batch of ring shaped Ginger Shortbread biscuits. Sorry Lynn! I apologise because one of the rules of the Clandestine Cake Club – NO cupcakes, Muffins, Brownies, Cookies, Pies or Tarts.

The cakes were as follows:
Rainbow Apple and Caterpillar cake- inspired by The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Marble Cake – inspired by The Hitchhicker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Sticky Ginger Cake –inspired by The Gingerbread Man – Classic Fairytale
Ginger Cake – inspired by The Gingerbread Man – Classic Fairytale
Hazelnut and Blackberry Cake – inspired by Brambly HedgeIMG_3956
Gorilla Cake with a banana flavour – inspired by The Gorilla by Anthony Browne
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich cake – inspired by a Bill Bryson title
Ginger Shortbread biscuits – inspired by The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
St. Clements Cake – inspired by Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
Good & Evil Mud Pie – Mississippi Mud Pie – inspired by The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
The Wizard of Oz Cake
Lavender and Lemon Cake
and two Coconut Cakes!

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As you can imagine I didn’t get to taste all the cakes but the ones I did were truly delicious.
Many thanks to all the bakers that attended yesterday, it really was a great afternoon. Secondly a warm welcome to all the new members and guests; please remember to officially join the Clandestine Cake Club website to stay informed of future events.
Last but not least, a HUGE thanks to Tara who was working yesterday at Big Green Bookshop and Simon and Tim for agreeing to host the event at their wonderful shop.

Big Green Bookshop

1 Brampton Park Rd, London, Greater London N22 6BG
Twitter – Big Green Books

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SOLD OUT! Whoop! Whoop! Praise for Harringay Market!

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Well…obviously the title says it all right!?!  Today was the first day of the much anticipated Harringay Market.  If you’re reading this and are not local to North London and more precisely the Harringay Ladder or its surrounding areas, then you probably have no idea what I am referring to.  Saying this, this sadly means that you’ve missed out on a fabulous day – the beginning of a vibrant food/art and crafts market which is here to stay.

I woke up this morning and realised that I had returned to my innocence, the innocence of being excited about the unknown.  Deep inside I knew that my first market experience was going to be great but didn’t put too much thought into the expectations, as secretly I didn’t want to disappoint myself.  So with my cakes in tow we made our way down to Falkland Road.

When we arrived a few stall holders were battling the winds with their gazebos.   Thankfully I didn’t opt for the cheap £20 Homebase option and bought a descent pop-up gazebo which stood firm throughout the winds and frequent showers. Up it popped and I proceeded to arrange my table.  My inspiration for my table was the typical West Indian dining room table, with doilies, vases with flowers and cake plates before they became ‘vintage’.  I wanted my table to look like the table I remembered when I was growing up. Obviously it also had to be filled with cake too!

I kept the menu small today to get a feel for what was popular.  Each week I will sell a speciality cake, which could be either my latest experiment or a firm favourite with a difference.

On the KayTea’s Cakes menu today:

Earl Grey TeaLemon Drizzle

Dark Chocolate

Vanilla Cake

I’d like to say that floods of people came pouring through the gates at 11am, but this simply wasn’t true.  Rather, small groups scattered the playground initially, then as noon past the crowds grew.

At first the appetite for cake was dormant, but this changed. The Dark Chocolate cake seemed to be the most popular then along came the most delightful lady who told me that she had ‘old’ friends coming over for tea and wanted to treat them to cake.  She liked the look of my Lemon Drizzle and bought the whole cake! From then on the slices disappeared.

I had officially ‘sold out’  at 1:40pm.  What a success it was!  But not just for me but for many others.  (Note to self: must get a ‘sold out’ sign and/or bake more cakes for next week.)

Crumbs!

Courtesy of Harringay Online

Courtesy of Harringay Online

The market really had so much on offer and as per the conversations that I had with some locals was ‘much needed in the area’ .  So it goes without saying really that Jessica – Foxy Cooks deserves all the praise that she receives.   Her little thought about the lack of a foodie market in North London, sparked this idea which has led to many of us local people gaining the opportunity to share our talents and produce with an audience.  Plus, it has all happened in such a short space of time.  So thanks Jessica for giving me the opportunity.

Gratitude really is a special feeling and I really am feeling this now for my friends and family.  They offered support, surprised me and my family even bought me a little gift to say congratulations! I love the thoughtful doily card.

We’ve copyrighted the caption by the way – so no stealing!

Now if you are ever in the area do come down to the Harringay’s new market, which will grow rapidly.  What’s different about this market is that you can buy farmed produce, a variety of cheeses, bread, fish, cakes plus a selection of street foods from around the world including Brazil, Japan and Sri Lanka to name a few.  For more information check Harringay Market but whatever you do – do come and visit soon. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Every Sunday from 11am-3pm
North Harringay Primary School
Falkland Road
N8 0NU

Jubilee Jubilation…Oh the joy!

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Ooops!  We did it again!

Oh yes we did and I think we may have over challenged ourselves this time.  I think all 11 of us including Nan Alma had a piece of EVERY one of the 9 cakes!  We did it!

Today was the second meet of the Bounds Green & Bowes Park branch of the Clandestine Cake Club. The theme this time was Jubilee Jubilation and I must say I felt a sense of jubilation when I realised that I had eaten…let’s call it tasted all of the 9 cakes.

We welcomed four new bakers/eaters to our friendly cake family.  Gisela, Jessica, Chris and Nan Alma.

All of the cakes were as requested fit for a queen and took on their own interpretation of the theme.  There were some great names too, Nutty Victoria, Victori(a)ous  Sponge, Junk Mail and Berry Patri-choc-lick.

Meet the cakes…

Nutty Victoria II– named so as this was Kay’s second attempt at baking her VictoriaSponge with peanut butter filling.  Topped with Jubilee special edition M&M’s. She looks so proud of her cake bake!?!

Kay with her Nutty Victoria II

The funniest thing today was when ‘a baker’ I will mention no names here asked what type of cheddar was on top of the White Chocolate and Ginger Cheesecake.  We all roared with laughter.  Admittedly, the sprinkles of white chocolate did look like grated cheese, but cheddar!?!  So funny!

White Chocolate Cheesecake – a baked cheesecake baked by the lovely Serrika.  This was a hit.  It had pieces of real ginger in the cheese filling as well as ground ginger.  The base was of course ginger biscuits.  I love ginger so I absolutely loved this cheesecake.

“What type of cheddar cheese is that?”

Cheddar or white chocolate?

Junk Mail – not as it sounds was a 6 tiered red letter box cake.  A combination of banana and chocolate cake layers (3 of each) sandwiched together by a bourboun biscuit buttercream.  Mmmmm!  It was majestically tall and stood proudly on the table.  Natalie is fast becoming the queen of the biscuit buttercream.

Carrot Cake – 3 tiers of moist carrot cake held together with cream cheese frosting.  Again tall and mighty looking.  This was also delicious! Thanks Gisela.

Everyone loves Carrot Cake

Prince William’s Groom’s Cake – I hadn’t heard of this before and was quite excited about what it may be.  Theo did mention that it contained biscuit and chocolate so I knew straight away that I’d like it and I did.  Apparently Prince William requested this cake at his wedding.  Ooooh errr!

Fit for a Prince!

Raspberry, Blueberry and Almond Blondies – These bite sized bakes were tasty.  I’ve never had blondies before and wasn’t sure what to expect.  But I learnt something, I now know that the dominant ingredient in blondies is brown sugar and not chocolate/cocoa which makes brownies brown.  For me this was a lovely break from the other sweet cakes. Thanks Chris!

Victori(a)ous  Sponge –  She was delicious and moist.  Cerys, our youngest baker, baked a 3 layered Victoria Sponge covered in strawberries and blueberries.  So colourful and tasty, it reminded us of a childhood cake that we still can’t put a name to.

Berry British

Berry Patri-choc-lick – Our patriotic cake an oversized muffin cake with a selection of berries decorated in Union Jack flags, a London buses and red telephone boxes.  It was simple and it was delicious.

Royal Red & Blue Velvet – one red velvet layer and a blue velvet layer sandwiched with a cream cheese frosting.  Red, white and blue – the colours were intense and it tasted divine.

Royal & Regal – Red and Blue

I wonder how many of the other Clandestine Cake Clubs can boast of having three generations of one family in attendance!  This time Beverley not only brought her lovely young cake baker Cerys along, but her mother too who used to love baking cakes.

Daughter, Mum and Nan

Once again we recieved looks of appreciation from other diners at The Step and the lovely owners Nell and Matt got a chance to tuck in too!

It is wonderful what cake can do for the community…roll on the next one.  The theme will probably be related to The Olympics, I just need to find a suitable date and hopefully The Step will have us all bake again!?!

My goodie plate!

Satisfaction – Bowes Park Community Gardens

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There is nothing better than giving someone else satisfaction and I have just done that.  I made a cake for the Bowes Park Garden Group’s Annual Community Picnic, a simple chocolate cake.

Dark Chocolate Cake

I have just got back from delivering it and within seconds customers were asking to purchase a slice.

It’s a great feeling when you see people enjoying your cake.   Their satisfaction was my satisfaction. Roll on Sunday 24th June!

Jubilee Cupcakes

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What a fantastic weekend it’s been!  I’m not really a royalist, well I never thought I was, but I have really found myself enjoying the all the festivities this weekend.  The weather hasn’t been the best, but did we really expect it to be!?!  NO! Besides I had the opportunity to go back to my east-end roots and enjoy a good  ol’ sing-a-long at a street party. It was great!  Plus anyway it was an excuse to bake some jubilee cupcakes for my sister’s street party.

With the impending Jubilee Jubilation – Clandestine Cake Club coming up on Sunday I thought I’d just bake something quick and easy to share with the east-end gang. Following the red, white and blue theme I created a small batch of vanilla cupcakes and blue marble cupcakes.

Getting ready to be baked

Baked…almost ready!

Royal Red Heart

Regal Blue

The cakes were very popular with the neighbours and went down a treat.

Can you spot the cake thief?

My little treat after a long day!

Whimsical Wonderland…Wow!

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Sunday was the first ever Clandestine Cake Club event in Bounds Green & Bowes Park, the 100th CCC that has been set up and my first time hosting an event.  By the looks on the bakers faces, it was a huge success!

For me the whole weekend involved baking.  I started on Friday, baking cake samples to get the seal of approval from Jessica for the new Harringay Market.  This went well and got my excitement levels racing again.

Secondly my good friend had a little party and I baked a ‘special’ cake for that too!

Now the big event was the Whimsical Wonderland themed Clandestine Cake Club. There were ten cakes between eleven people.  So we were really challenged!

Madhatter’s Hat

The youngest member being just 13 years old, made a Madhatter’s Hat cake, which was a delicious moist pound cake. The cakes included a Caramel cake, Blueberry & Soured Cream cake, Choreo cake (a chocolate and oreo combination), Victoria Sponge with a Caramel Frosting, Madhatter’s Tea Party cake, Chocolate & Orange Marble cake, Sticky Wicky Coconut cake, a Toadastical Delight and my Topsy Turvy Black & Pink Layer cake.

It was great to see how all the bakers interpreted the theme and added their personal touch.  All the cakes looked so gorgeous and colourful.  What was even better was the attraction that the cakes generated in The Step.  There were looks of interest, complimentary comments and one booking for the next event which is just a few weeks away.

Chero Cake

Chocolate & Orange Marble cake

Victoria Sponge with Caramel Frosting

Madhatter’s Tea Party

Jubilee Jubilation is the fitting theme for the  next CCC event on Sunday 10th June. Cakes will need to be dressed for a Queen. I cannot wait to see the amazing cakey constructions next time, especially as one guest left on Sunday saying they already know what they are making for the next one.

Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on how hungry I am) my fridge is full of leftover cake. I am wondering how long it will take to disappear but by no means do I feel like I need another challenge.  One thing that I have finally realised this weekend is: although cake is delicious,  even I cannot eat all the cake I’d like to.

I have to thank Lynn Hill for thinking of the Clandestine Cake Club and sharing it with us.  It is such a simple idea really and one that almost anyone of any age can access and enjoy. I mean really, is there any human that doesn’t like cake?  It’s a rhetorical question, therefore I do not want any cake-haters to reply with messages of contempt.

Many thanks to The Step, a lovely new café which is becoming a firm favourite amongst the locals.  Last and a much needed thanks to all the bakers that attended – you were the vital ingredients! I thoroughly enjoyed hosting my first event and hope that there will be many more.  I have a huge list of ideas for themes but if you have any more please let me know.

Until next month…

Gorgeous Things – Pop-Up shop

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Saturday morning and Mrs Sun decided to grace us with her glory, after an absence of a few weeks, months even.  With the impending market stall to decorate, I decided to visit Nicky Grace’s pop-up shop in Muswell Hill, to find some crafts to decorate my stall.

I’ve never been to a pop-up shop before so this was a new concept to me; a great one at that. The shop, in her home, consisted of two rooms and her garden, each decorated with gorgeous vintage craft and floral paraphernalia.  From the handmade cards and purses, original art, floral jugs to the vintage fabrics, everything just looked so pretty and dainty, especially the cupcakes.

Interior stylist and author, Selina Lake was signing copies of her latest book ‘Homespun Style’. I was glad that she was there as I missed her at the Homespun Market Event at Spitalfields in April. I purchased a copy and I’m very much looking forward to having my own shop now just to decorate it.  One step at a time Kay… but biggie steps!

I’ll let the photos communicate now.

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Keep your eye out for the next one www.nickygrace.co.uk