Clapton Festival – it was all about the cake

It’s all about the cake were out enjoying the slow beginnings of summer a couple of weeks ago at the Clapton Festival, a new festival in yes, you guessed it, Clapton. We were part of the Hackney Homemade market at St John’s Church in Hackney, where there was around 60 stalls of varying crafts and edible items.

Getting set up

A hard days baking the day before resulted in 12 cakes in a variety of flavours and all looking very lovely. There was a minor disaster when I ran out of sugar but this was quickly resolved by popping to the corner shop to buy some more.

Gazebo in tow, we were hoping that we would be using this to shade from the sunshine than protect from the rain, but with the forecast as ‘sunshine and showers’ it was hard to tell. A few drops of rain early on and before the gazebo was up prompted minor panic but thankfully it didn’t last for too long and all the cakes remained intact.

The cakes

And then the sun came out!

The morning got off to a slow start as people lumbered out of bed to have a look at what was on offer. But afternoon is really ‘cake time,’ so it was after lunch when the main cake action took place. It was the rhubarb and almond cake’s first outing with It’s All About the Cake, but it seemed to go down pretty well, as did the mocha cake, another newbie. The old favourite, baked cheesecake, got off to a slow start, but once the first slice had gone, the momentum picked up. The sun got to the rocky road cake a bit, but not enough to put anyone off giving it a try anyway!

So all in all, a successful day. And as Hackney Homemade has now made this Saturday market a regular weekly feature, you may well see us there again some time soon!

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Paradise Gardens 2010 – cake cake cake!

Paradise Gardens festival in Victoria Park, London has been and gone for this year. It was It’s all about the cake’s premier appearance at the festival. And a cake success I think.

Me and my cakes

A pretty full on day of baking at home on the Friday meant that the rest of the weekend was largely spent sitting around eating and selling cake. Perfect! And oh, was there some good cake. Cheesecake (of course), hummingbird cake, brownies, rocky road, lemon, double chocolate, shortbread… mmmm…! I also decided to employ less haste and more patience on the Friday during my baking session, which meant that there weren’t even any baking disasters to report. Therefore, no cake wastage whatsover.

After a short stroll over to the park on the Saturday morning, cakes in tow, shoulders aching, the festival got off to a bit of a slow start. It was looking a bit overcast. It was super windy. Let’s be honest, sitting behind the cake stall it felt like winter, not June. A quick trip back to the flat by Ian for an extra jumper and some more socks, meant that I didn’t get too chilled anyway.

And thankfully, the cold didn’t put people off the cakes, which seemed to go down a treat. Many were shocked at the size of the slices, purchasing a cautious one piece between two, but quickly coming back for more. Both the brownies and the cheesecake were described as ‘the best I’ve ever tasted.’ And I believe it was the rocky road bars that made a child cry (because they wanted more). A successful day anyway, which meant that Saturday evening was spent doing a bit of panic baking – the cheesecake and rocky road bars were just too popular.

Sunday, as I remember from the days when I wasn’t baking cake or running, is for lie ins, so another slowish start. But on Sunday afternoon, the sun finally came out. I was able to take my second pair of socks off. Ian headed out into the great unknown of the festival to lure people to the stall and away from the ice cream with samples of lemon cake. And I, single-socked, just, well, stood behind the stall eating cake (not really, no – not me). The final count at the end of the day meant that there were was just enough cake left for me and Ian to tuck into, but not enough to make us stupidly fat. So all in all, a success!

The Stall

Given its success and the said loveliness of the cakes, it’s likely that It’s all about the cake will be looking for other festivals to premier at this year. So keep an eye out for any more news. Likely to be east London, or thereabouts.

The Cake Line-Up

Chocolate Brownies

Rocky Road Bars

Vanilla Cupcakes

Double Chocolate Flake Cake

Hummingbird Cake

Super Lemony Lemon Cake

Cheesecake

The Infamous Hummingbird

This cake apparently originated from the southern American states. It is said to have been around for quite a while. I am therefore always surprised that no-one I bake this for has heard of it or eaten it. Anyway, once they do, they are always wanting more and wondering why they have only just discovered it!

There are no hummingbirds in this cake. It has been said that it is named so because the cake is sugary rich and is therefore like the nectar that hummingbirds like to feed on. Whatever the name, the cake is a moist and packed with flavour. Similar to a carrot cake in many ways, but with banana and pineapple. A great all-rounder to spoil your guests with.

THE RECIPE

300g caster sugar
3 eggs
300ml sunflower oil
270g peeled bananas, mashed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
300g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
100g pineapple (fresh if possible)
100g shelled pecan nuts (or walnuts), chopped

For cream cheese frosting:
300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter
125g cream cheese

Preheat the overn to 170C, gas mark 3. Grease and line two or three cake 20cm cake tins, depending on how many layers you want.

Put the sugar, eggs, oil, banana and cinnamon in a bowl and mix together until well incorporated. Slowly add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and vanilla essence and continue to beat until everything is well mixed.

Stir in the chopped pineapple and pecan nuts carefully until evenly dispersed.

Pur the mixture into the prepared cake tins, dividing evenly and smoothing over. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and the sponge bounces back when touched. If you only put into two cake tins, it will need a bit longer than this. Leave the cakes to cool slightly in the tins before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

As you can see, I went for the 'two cake tin' option, one of which is smaller than the other. It didn't seem to affect the taste though!

Now make the cream cheese frosting. Beat the icing sugar and butter togetyher until they are well combined. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy (approx. 5 minutes – it helps if you have an electric mixer at this point!). Do not overbeat, however, as it can quickly become runny.

When the cakes are cold, spread a layer of the cream cheese frosting onto the first one. Place a second cake on yop and cover with frosting too. Also cover the side with frosting if you want. Finish with pecan nuts and a sprinkling of cinnamon.