Wednesday was my second outing to the now famous Clandestine Cake Club! The theme this month was "Inspired by the Silver Screen". There were loads of fabulously delicious creations on show from pistachio and rosewater (Passage to India) to strawberry daiquiri (cocktail).
The theme was a real head scratcher for me and I spent a good few days tying to think of the perfect cake.
I started off trying to think of films about cake or with cake in them, which was a bit of a fruitless task and a little unimaginative (layer cake had been taken).
I then decided to just pick a favourite film of mine and develop a recipe from it. So, I compiled a small list of my all time favourites mainly consisting of far too many musicals, a couple of oldies but goodies, a vast selection of coming of age 80s teen movies and pretty much all the Harry Potter films (except the second one which frankly isn't worth mentioning).
I wanted to focus on flavour rather than decoration and it was much harder than I thought trying to make something un-food related into cake-form. I mean how I am suppose to know what Clark Gable's mustache tasted like?
So in the end I settled on a Harry Potter Butterbeer cake. It was an actual food item which made things easier but obscure enough that I could put my own stamp on it. There are a few recipes about online for butterbeer drinks and cakes but I decided rather than just copy them I would try and devise my own recipe based on what I thought butterbeer would taste like.
Apparently J.K. Rowling said in an interview to Bon Appétit magazine once that she imagined it "to taste a little bit like less-sickly butterscotch." It always seemed to be quite a comforting and warming beverage so I started to test a few different flavour combinations.
My first experiment was a bit of a disaster. The sponge itself was nice enough, rich and vanilla infused with a hint of cinnamon. But I tried to make a caramel syrupy saucy thing to drizzle on top, lets just say it did not taste nice. As you can see from the picture, it set solid and grainy and cracked horribly. I couldn't present THAT to a room full of cake aficionados!
My second and final attempt was much more successful. I decided to go for a caramel/butterscotch sponge with a rich caramel and cinnamon buttercream. The cake itself was comforting and sweet and the cinnamon in the frosting gave it a warmth which I imagined the butterbeer to have.
I decorated the top with cocoa powder and glitter stars and literally could not of been more proud. I set it in the fridge overnight and went to bed a happy little cake maker.
The following morning, disaster struck! It was early and I may not have been at my most bright eyed and bushy tailed, but as I settled it into my lovely Jamie Oliver cake tin and popped on the lid I came over all butter fingered and dropped it! On its head! So my lovely decorations were stuck to the lid of the tin and the buttercream was all smooshed and streaked with brown. I may have actually cried.
I had all of about 3 minutes until I had to dash for my bus so I just popped it in a bag and headed to work.
As this was my first time baking for cake club I really wanted to present something worthy so at lunchtime I made a mad dash for the shops for some sort of remedy to my cake wreck. So, I grabbed a jar of white marshmallow fluff and some mini marshmallows and made my way back to the office.
I slathered the top of my cake in a generous layer of marshmallow fluff frosting and studded it with lots of mini marshmallows.
The resulting cake was a little bit rough around the edges and the marshmallow fluff was melty and dripping down the sides. But, it went down an absolute treat! There was no leftovers at the end which is always a sign of a successful bake!
Thank you for your patience with this incredibly long winded post, not onto the actual recipe;
I consulted a few different books and asked a few different bloggers opinions when creating this cake, as I was unsure how to incorporate the caramel into the sponge but the recipe itself is my own crazy concoction. I was super proud as I had never really created my own cake recipe before.
175g plain flour
100g ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
half a tsp cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of ground ginger
175g butter, softened
100g Muscavado sugar
200g tinned caramel
2 large eggs
Silverspoon Vanilla Paste
I started by creaming the butter, sugar and caramel until smooth, and then I added the sachet of vanilla paste.
I then added the two eggs and mixed. It curdled slightly but I simply added a tablespoon of plain flour to try and combat the curdle.
Add all of the dry ingredients and beat until combined, try not to overwork or you will end up with a slightly drier cake.
Divide the mixture between two sandwich tins and cook at 180C for 25-35 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean and it is springy to the touch.
For the buttercream I beat around 65g of butter with the remaining caramel (100-150g) and added some cinnamon. I then added icing sugar. I never usually measure icing sugar I just keep adding little bits at a time until I get the desired consistency.
The resulting cake was a hit! There was not a crumb left by the end of Cake Club and I think even the drippy marshmallow mess of a topping made it all the more popular! I am definitely going to try this cake recipe as cupcakes and maybe even a traybake in future as it was moist and rich with a lovely warmth; exactly what I imaged butterbeer to taste like.