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Beetle Forest Gateau

Those of you with entomophobia (fear of insects) may want to look away now. When I heard that the first Derby Clandestine Cake Club theme would be Trick or Treat I knew that last year’s Black Beetle Cakes would have to make a reappearance but in a slightly different form. The Clandestine Cake Club (CCC) has strict rules: no brownies, muffins, cookies pies or tarts and don’t even think of darkening the door with cupcakes. We’re talking big cakes that can serve 8-12 people. Derby’s first CCC was hosted by A Wannabe Foodie.

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Cherry Bakewell Fairy Cakes

It is a well know fact that on of my favourite bakes is the humble Bakewell Tart. The sweet almond sponge partnered with the rich raspberry jam is one of my favourite sweet flavour combinations. Of course this elegant tart has been transformed into the more commonly known Cherry Bakewell format thanks to Mr Kipling. There is a place for the delicious Bakewell Tart but just sometimes life calls for the one essential thing a Cherry Bakewell has; a garish red Glace cherry. It’s the rule.

In the past I have reincarnated the Cherry Bakewell in biscuit form and while baking Fairy Cakes for a School Fete last week I decided to make them in Fairy Cake format. Dainty little bites of jammy, almondy goodness. Of course a healthier alternative due to lack of pastry. Who am I kidding.

I will admit these never made it to the school fete and were used to fuel not only me but Hubs & Father-in-Law who have been working on a big DIY project. For the school I made a batch of chocolate cakes dusted with edible glitter (essential School Cake Stall ingredient)  and vanilla cakes with bright pink icing. It is the basic version of this recipe that I’m currently teaching in my cookery classes and out of the 300 cakes we’ve baked so far each and every cake has worked perfectly.

Cherry Bakewell Fairy Cakes
Makes 12

100g self-raising flour

100g caster sugar

100g butter

2 eggs

1 tsp almond extract

4 tbsp raspberry jam

100g icing sugar

2 tbsp boiling water

6 glace cherries, cut in half

1) Preheat oven to 180°c and line a bun tin with fairy cake liners.

2) In a bowl beat together the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy then one at a time stir in the eggs. Don’t worry if it begins to look curdled. Mix in the almond extract.

3) Carefully fold in the flour until the ingredients are well combined.

4) Put a dessert spoon of the mixture in each case. Place a 1tsp of the jam on top of the cake batter then top with a further tsp of cake batter. The jam sinks during cooking and by the time they come out of the oven the jam will be sitting nicely at the bottom of the cake.

5) Bake for 15-20 min until risen and golden. Allow to cool before icing.

6) In a bowl mix together the icing sugar and water until you have a smooth icing paste. Smooth the icing over the cakes and top with half a glace cherry. Ideally let the icing set before eating…but you know how it is.

Boozy Cherry & White Chocolate Crème Brûlée

This dessert has been a long time in the planning, but I struggled to find British cherries anywhere. As you know I’m passionate about British produce and where possible if it can be grown in the UK I will always try to buy British and only when it is in season. It would turn out Derbyshire or the East Midlands in general is a bit of a desert for British cherries. Searching the local markets and farm shops proved to be unhelpful as most were selling cherries from warmer climes. Morrisons eventually came to the rescue, but I was rather put out having to pay equivalent of £10 (yes £10!) per kg of British cherries whereas the Spanish cherries sitting next to them on the shelf were on offer and far cheaper. Why, why, why can’t British supermarkets support British produce for a change. Sorry rant over. If your interested in supporting the great British cherry pop along to CherryAid (thank you Beth for reminding me!).

Ever since we received a cook’s blow torch for a wedding pressie, pyromaniac Hubby has been itching for us to make crème brûlée. A while back I made a baked custard, but never a crème brûlée so this was a bit new for me. Come to think of it, before this I’ve never eaten a proper crème brûlée.

I was really pleased how they turned out and they were very, very tasty. The cherries & liqueur refreshingly cut through the creamy custard and Hubby had caramelised the sugar perfectly. The sugar had a very satisfying crunch as you put the spoon through it. Rach & Nick, if your reading this don’t be surprised if I make them for us in a couple of weekends time!

Boozy Cherry & White Chocolate Creme Brulee
Serves 2

12 cherries, halved and stoned
2 tbsp Crème de Framboise
190ml double cream
35g Green & Blacks white chocolate, broken into small pieces
1/2 vanilla pod
2 egg yolks
2 tsp golden caster sugar, plus more for topping

1) Slowly heat cream, chocolate and vanilla pod seeds. Once the chocolate has melted take off the heat and allow to infuse for 15 min. White the cream is infusing share the cherry halves between the ramekins and cover with 1 tbsp of Crème de Framboise each.

2) Preheat oven to 150oc. Beat together the egg yolks and sugar then gradually stir in the cream. Strain into a jug and pour into ramekins on top of the cherries. Some of the cherries may float.

3) Place the ramekins in a deep roasting tin and pour boiling water into the tin until the water is 1/2 the way up the ramekins. Bake for 20-25 min until custard is set and has a slight wobble in the middle. Chill for at least 5 hours.

4) Generously sprinkle the top with golden caster sugar. With either a blow torch or grill caramelise the sugar. Allow to cool for a few minutes before eating to allow the sugar to harden.

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