How excited am I to have found this cookbook? It is absolutely brilliant!
I was just wandering round The Works one day in December, when I spotted this book, The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook by Lynn Hill.
It caught my eye, as things with huge cakes on tend to do. I flicked through and liked the look of a few cakes, so I bought it. It was only once I had got it home and looked through it properly that I realised what a gem it was.
Have you ever looked through a cookery book, and stopped at almost every page, saying, ‘Yes! I must make that!’? Well, that’s what happened here. I almost immediately formed a plan to try to cook lots of recipes from it. Then Miss 10 picked it up. She is my partner in crime when it comes to cake eating, none of the other three being particularly cake oriented. She (completely off her own bat) began a list ‘cakes I want to try’. The list went Page 10,12,14,16,18,20 …. I’m sure I don’t need to continue. She got as far as page 36 before realising the pointlessness of the task.
I have been doing my best to meet her desires! I started with the seed cake, because I do love caraway. A surprising thing happened. I cooked it at the temperature required for a fan oven, and at the maximum time specified, the cake was just right. Then a second surprising thing happened. Mr PC liked the cake. Mr PC never likes cake, but this one obviously had enough of a savoury taste that he enjoyed it.
Buoyed by this, I tried the banana and cardamom cake. I had to bake it in two tins as I didn’t have a 2lb loaf tin at the time (this has since been rectified), so I couldn’t judge the cooking time against what was in the book, but they worked out well. Another success. Everyone liked this one and requested that I make it again.
The next one I made was banana bread. Again, the temperature and timing were spot on. Again, the cake was lovely. The only problem was the icing – none of us liked the cream cheese icing, but the cake itself is a definite repeater.
Again with the cherry cake. Easy. Quick. Delicious.
Yesterday I made the Scrumptious Sticky Toffee Cake. Oh my word, it was divine! I made the cake in the afternoon, knowing that we would be out in the evening (skittles and sausages with the church), and planning to have it as a dessert when we got in. It took just a couple of minutes to make the toffee sauce once we were in, and we had a proper pudding. I have never really made puddings, and had always dreaded having to come up with one. I was perfectly happy with cakes, but there are different expectations for puddings. This cake could meet both. Without the sauce it was a delicious moist cake. With it it was a sticky, sweet, toffee pudding.
I am going to pretend to myself that the next cake will be a little bit healthier. I have fruit soaking in tea for me to make the overnight tea loaf tomorrow. I now have every faith that it will turn out wonderfully.
If you like making cakes, this is the book for you. It is just cakes – no cupcakes, no biscuits, no breads, just proper full size cakes. They are beautifully presented, with lovely pictures all the way through. Every one of them has given me exactly the right timings for my oven. Every one has been delicious, and has gained the approval of at least one other unexpected member of my family.
I don’t like new year resolutions. I made one in about 2011, to recognise that every day has the same opportunity as January the first. I feel sorry for everyone who at this time of year punishes themselves with unsustainable diets and exercise plans. What I do like are medium term plans. My medium term plan is to bake almost every recipe from this book, and enjoy them as much as possible!