On Thursday 26 January, I attended the inaugural meeting of the Devon branch of the Clandestine Cake Club. Two bakers had to cancel at the last minute (we missed tasting your Black Forest gateau, Kirsty from Kirsty’s Kitchen.)
Jan Billington from Maddocks Organics kindly lent us the use of her stunning holiday cottage, The Hayloft, near Cullompton. It has six bedrooms, a huge living space and would be perfect for two families wishing to holiday in Devon together. The kitchen area with its huge refectory table and granite island were perfect for displaying and sampling our baked wares.
The theme was Devilishly Devon which was a great excuse to make some gratuitously unhealthy cakes. This was my Devonshire Clotted Cream Cake (it had 225g clotted cream whisked inside, instead of butter):
Joyce, a farmer by trade, from Pitman’s Farm had made a beautiful layered strawberry cake – some layers were sponge, some meringue and it was chocka with cream, almonds and strawberries:
Marcus, aka Country Wood Smoke, provided a ‘starter’ of his own cold smoked salmon slices (smelling deliciously and subtly of beech chippings) atop a fresh rustic loaf, made with half white flour and half Einkorn flour (sold by Dove’s Farm).
His cake was my personal favourite, a Smoked Chilli Chocolate Cake. The sponge had a crumbled smoked chilli baked into it – it was very subtle and there was only a small residual warmth, the chocolate ganache on top was made using smoked butter. The combination was breathtaking and had a real depth of flavour.
Karen, who blogs here had made a delicious Devonshire Honey Cake with Lemon Frosting. The zesty, crisp icing was a great contrast to the soothing honey sponge underneath.
Jan, our hostess, needlessly apologised for her Snakebite Chocolate Cupcakes. They were awesome and had a decadent squidgy chocolate centre. She very cleverly incorporated Devon produce: local cider in the icing, Otter Ale in the cake batter. They were a surprising hit with my kids and Jan’s daughter seemed to enjoy them too!
James, the only non-blogger there, had made an alluring Sticky Love Cake. This cake was studded with cashew nuts and had a really attractive sprinkling of rose petals on top. It was spiced, unusual and more-ish (Moorish?)
After what felt like 666 slices of cake (OK, only six actually) plus the bread and smoked salmon and small glass of red wine, I felt unbelievably full up - we did honestly only have very small wafer-thin slices of each, plus I'd had no dinner - I thought my staying power was better than that. The great thing about the Clandestine Cake Club is that the cakes get divided up at the end and you get to take them home, so the pleasure continues for days....well, ahem, until the next day mid-morning-ish....