The Bake Group

February 18, 2012

A few years ago it was book clubs, following on from the success of Channel 4’s excellent dark comedy The Book Group. But there’s a new trend emerging… baking clubs and groups. Following on from the success of The Great British Bake-off and a general resurgence of interest in home-baking more and more people are going back to basics and turning out their own cakes and treats in the comfort of their own home. This may be to do with the recession, although with the price of cake ingredients I’d be surprised if you save a lot of money. The difference, of course, is the taste. While shop-bought cakes have come on in leaps and bounds over the past 10 years, nothing can come close to a home-made cake.

One group who agrees with this is The Clandestine Cake Club, an organisation of hardline home-baking lovers who get together to sample members’ recipes. But you can forget any cupcakes, traybakes or muffins… we are talking way more traditional than that. Think coffee and walnut cake, Swiss roll, Victoria sponge and possibly a fruit loaf.

Cupcakes have had their day. For a start, there are almost always a triumph of design over taste. Then there is the difficulty of eating them because they are frankly too big and too sickly. The only really nice one I had was as a gift from a former colleague – it had a surprise fruit injection in the sponge which transformed it. Traybakes have their place for feeding a crowd with treats and muffins can be nice but the home-made cakes favoured by the CCC have much to be said for them.

Regular readers will know my favourite is a lemon cake but gently spiced home-made cakes come a close second simply because they are so good with a cup of tea in the afternoon. This week’s recipe falls into that category and would probably be accepted by the CCC. A kind colleague brought me some to try and I made it this weekend. Her elderly mother lived with a family in the States in the 1960s and they told her how to make it. She has now passed it to her daughter and once you have made it you’ll be passing it on as well because it’s such an easy recipe to make.

While perfect with a cuppa, it would not shame any dinner party as dessert with maybe a toffee sauce and some ice cream.

Jewish Apple Cake

8oz self-raising flour

8oz demerera or light brown sugar

4tsp cinnamon

pinch salt

2 eggs

6 fluid oz sunflower oil

2tsp vanilla extract

3 eating apples, peeled, cored and chopped into pieces about the size of a hazelnut

10z walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 180C (fan oven 170c) and grease and line a loaf tin.

Mix the dry ingredients (apart from the walnuts and apple) together. Mix in the eggs, oil and vanilla and then fold in the apples and walnut. It’s a fairly stiff mixture and it will look like you have too much apple. Pile into the tin and bake for about 40mins. The cake is ready when a skewer comes out clean.

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2 Responses to “The Bake Group”

  1. Jane Mackinnon Says:

    Julie can you give oven temps for a fan oven some recipes say 20% less others say 10 hopw you are well Jane xx
    ps I love baking and your recipes


    • Hi Jane, lovely to hear from you! I baked this in a fan oven at 170C and it came out perfect. Obviously all ovens vary and I’m still getting used to a fan oven but find 170C best for most quick cakes i.e. ones that take less than an hour to cook. If you think that may be a bit high try it at 160c – it won’t be a disaster, just might take a bit longer. Also, the lady who gave me the cake and recipe used demerara sugar and it gives a much darker, more treacly consistency which was delicious, especially to have it as a slice of cake. The one pictured was made with light brown sugar and, while still yummy, ir mabe better if you fancy having it as a pud. Let me know how you get on (or I’ll hear from Grace!) x


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