Clandestine Cake-a-long Episode 1: Lime & Pistachio Cake

Cor, what a cake to start with! For those of you who haven’t read last week’s post – I’m embarking on a new mission to bake my way through the fabulous new Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook. Every fortnight I will hopefully be joined by other crazy bakers as we show our attempts at the cake choice of the fortnight.

I have been in contact with many of the contributors of the book (many of whom have said that they are also up for the challenge of baking along too) to find out more about them.

This week, I am starting with Lynn Hill, Founder of the mighty Clandestine Cake Club. I’ve not actually met Lynn yet but I feel like I know her well following several phone calls and email exchanges over the past 2 years. (One of my sisters has been in Lynn’s house for a Secret Tea Party so that makes us nearly relatives?!)

Lynn lives in Leeds, where she set up the very first Clandestine Cake Club. In order for us to get to know Lynn a little better, I posed some questions for her to answer:

How did you get into baking?
My mother baked and cooked at home and I loved the cookery classes at school.

What is your favourite cake?
I love citrus flavoured cakes but I also love a good layered sponge cake with a nice filling and topping.

What is the last cake that you made?
The last cake I made was the crispy lemon cake on page 130 of the CCC Cook Book

You have friends coming round for the evening, which cake would you bake them?
I’d make the Finish Lemon Mothers Day cake on page 194 of the CCC cook book.

What famous person (past or present) would you like to bake a cake for?
Mrs Beeton. I’m sure she would love to see what we bake in the 21st century.

How many CCC events have you attended?
In 2 years I must have organised quite a few but never counted them so I’m not quite sure how many.

What recipe out of the CCC book do you fancy baking the most?
I’d most like to make the Lingonberry White Chocolate Cake on page 106 because the author of the recipe actually sent me some Pomerans and dried Lingonberries that are generally not available in the UK. The recipe suggests using cranberries and orange zest as an alternative.

Thanks Lynn – You sure do like your citrus cakes!

For the first recipe for the cake-a-long, I thought it only right to choose the cover cake. The Lime and Pistachio Cake. An imposing cake, with 3 layers and several cooking techniques. This cake features on page 141 of the Clandestine Cookbook.

The recipe includes sections on baking the sponges, making a lime syrup, a lime curd, pistachio encrusted chocolate and lime frosting. Phew! I have to say that I completely loved making all the different elements of the cake.

The sponges were so much quicker to prepare than I thought they would be. The lime syrup was incredibly easy and just divine – I am definitely going to use this again for other baking projects.

I hit a bit of a stumbling block with the lime curd – I never seem to be able to gets curds thick enough although all the ingredients were easy enough to prepare. No matter, even though the curd was still fairly liquid, it was absolutely gorgeous – and sooo tangy!

And then it came time to assemble the cake together…Hmmm, perhaps my frosting needed to be thicker. To say I had a minor disaster is a bit of an understatement – My husband might have uttered the words, ‘Cake Wrecks’ at this point. Didn’t stop us eating it though! Completely gorgeous taste, very tangy but balanced by subtle nutty flavour and the creaminess of the frosting. Just need to do a bit lot of work on my presentation. Considering it is February and my valentines flowers haven’t arrived yet (hint) I didn’t bother with the rose petals.

So how did you get on? I so wish I could have posted a successful picture of my first Cakealong attempt but here it is, faults and all. I loved the cake and the experience of preparing all the different elements.

If you have baked the lime and pistachio cake, add your picture or blog post url to the linky below. The link up will remain open until Monday 25th February. The Clandestine Cake-a-long pinterest page can be found here

Our next Cake-a-long will start on Tuesday 26th February and will be Julia England’s Toffee Shock Cake on page 227.