As organiser of the Brighton and Hove Clandestine Cake Club it made a refreshing change to finally make it to the Eastbourne branch for their Halloween meet. No stressing about finding a suitable venue; no manic fretting about last minute cancellations and no rushed organising on the morning of the meeting to ensure id packed enough plates, napkins, cake forks, cake slices and a bin bag for scraps. Things have moved on slightly since I attended this meeting almost a year ago and I now co-run the newly named Eastbourne, Lewes, Brighton and Hove Clandestine Cake Club with Sarah. Secretly I love all that organising but on this occasion it was just nice and relaxing to turn up with just me and my cake! Id been up quite late the night before the meeting as I had chosen quite a decorative cake to take along!
I cooked a simple Victoria sponge but chose a dia de muertos theme, the Mexican festival the Day of the dead. It falls on the Catholic festival of All Saints Day that follows All Hallows Eve. It is a national holiday in Mexico when they honour their dead since the 1960s but predates that to an Aztec festival dedicated to the Aztec goddess Mictecacihuati. The Day of the Dead is a three day festival now where families will clean and decorate family graves to honour their loved ones, leaving offerings like toys or tequila for the children and adults respectively. A common symbol of the holiday is the skull which people wear as masks called callacas, and it was nice on which I based my cake. Once I had baked two 7 inch round red velvet cakes I cut out a template of a skull to shape the sponges sandwiched together with buttercream. After dirty icing the cake I added a layer of white fondant as my base layer and then the fun of decorating began.
The beauty of this cake is you can really go wild and creative with the decoration, the only thing to remember is to keep the decoration symmetrical. I added some indents for the eyes and used some cut out orange and blue fondant to layer the eyes. I found a new piping gel in Hobbycraft which can easily be coloured and when pipped it keeps its shape. Its great for any delicate piping or writing words so used this to shape the mouth and some swirls and dots, symbolic of most skull masks. I also used some gold and silver chocolate balls to add further decoration and added some roses to the cake board for a pop of colour. For a cake I actually threw together one evening as my original plan had fallen through I was really impressed.
As usual the array of cakes on display at the cake club did not disappoint. We met at the Cornfield Tea House on Cornfield Terrace which was a classic little tea room. Had I not brought my own cake I would have happily tucked into their offerings as the cakes there looked fantastic. Ana brought along a ghastly peanut butter and chocolate cake, complete with meringue ghosts that tasted truly amazing (and I requested a copy of the recipe straight away as I love peanut butter). Anne made a chocolate, salted caramel and marshmallow iced pumpkin cake, another great combination of flavours. Our host Sarah had made a cool bat cake with chocolate – a classic!! Last but not least Gemma made a witches cauldron cake made from Victoria sponge complete with flake fire, witches legs and hats. Five fab cakes! Cracking way to spend a Saturday morning.
If you want to join us next time then sign up at www.clandestinecakeclub.co.uk and find a club near you.