Friday, 30 September 2011

Clandestine Cake Club @ Bean and Brush Cafe, Sale

Another month, another excuse to meet up with the lovely ladies of Manchester's clandestine cake club and another excuse to eat cake because "it's good to try other people's recipes in the aid of gastronomic research."

Cakes - before sampling

This time we were hosted by the quirky Bean and Brush Art Cafe, set in the centre of Sale; it's a revelation in do-it-yourself arts and would be a brilliant place to take the kids. If I had any. Never fear as there is plenty of great coffee, food and beer action that also makes this a wonderful place for the adults to hang out too (and you can join in the arts too if you like!). Indeed their coffee is very good and the staff are very friendly. The menu looks good for a light bite or spot of lunch too - it's kid friendly enough without being overly patronising to the little people.

Bean and Brush Art Cafe - with thanks to Gumtree

This month's Clandestine Cake Club theme was Fruit and Veg and this gave me the opportunity to, not only stuff my face with some very unusual cakes (courgette, sweet potato, avocado and pumpkin all made an appearance); but to bake my very favourite cake; my fall guy, my stand in, my back up, the cake I know works every time and always tastes fab.

Courgette, Cinnamon and Walnut Cake

As I was once again accompanying the talented, but dietary restricted, Pin Ups in Pinnies; I was inspired to create another gluten and dairy free cake. Instead of inventing my own this time (see my last CCC post for an invented recipe); I stuck to something tried and tested and just tweaked it to suit my, or rather Alex's, requirements.

Alex of Pin Ups in Pinnies and my 'muse' for the cake

The cake in question is Nigel Slater's Beetroot Seed Cake, which runs along the traditional type lines of a carrot cake but so much lighter, fragrant and full of an earthy sweetness from the beetroots. It's never let me down and do you know what? Even with the gluten free tweaks the cake shone through and I felt it was generally appreciated by all who tasted it; plus the gluten free flour retained the brilliant, vivid purple of the beetroot that is usually lost when combined with 'normal' flour.

Wheat and dairy free Beetroot Seed Cake

Don't wait to have a glut of beetroots for this one, it's too good not to be baked straight away!

Beetroot Seed Cake - gluten and dairy free
Feeds: 8-10 slices
Prep: 20 min Bake: 55 min

225g gluten free self raising flour - I use Dove Farm's blend
1/2 tsp cinnamon
180ml light olive oil
225g light muscavado sugar/soft light brown sugar
3 eggs - separated
200g raw beetroot - grated coarsely
Juice of half a lemon (a big one)
100g mixed seeds (I used pumpkin and sunflower)

For the icing:
8 tbsp icing sugar
lemon juice or orange blossom water
poppy seeds

1. Set the oven to 180c/gas mark 4 and grease and line a 2ld loaf tin.

2. Beat the egg whites; be sure there's no oil/fat in the bowl or on the mixer. The idea with the gluten free cake is to get as much air in as possible, so start off on the lowest setting and work up. Beat to soft peaks. Set to one side.

3. I another bowl beat the sugar and the oil together.  Then introduce one lightly beaten egg yolk at a time. With both the sugar/oil and the eggs, work through your mixer speeds to combine as much air as possible. You need to spend a good five minutes working on this stage.

4. In a food processor coarsely grate the beetroot (or use the coarse side of a box grater), then add to the mixture with the lemon juice and the seeds. Fold in carefully, trying not to knock the air out. Don't worry, it will look mostly like beetroot and not much else right now.

5. Fold in the flour and cinnamon, again being careful.

6. Fold in the beaten whites with a metal spoon (so not to knock the air out) and the pour your quite wet and very pink mixture into the lined tin.

7. Pop in the oven for about 50-55 mins. After about 35 mins pop a tin foil cap on the cake so the top doesn't burn. It's ready when it springs back on being touched and a skewer comes out clean. As gluten free flour is slightly thirsty, be careful not to overcook.

8. Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool in the tin.

9. When cool, make the icing; you'll need about 3tsp lemon juice/blossom water, but just add as you go, then add about 30g poppy seeds. You want the icing to be wet enough to drip down the sides of the cake.


Ps You can add raisins as well if you like. Only use 50g of seeds and add in 50g of raisins.

Bean and Brush Art Cafe, The Old Sorting Office, 12 Hayfield Street, Sale, M33 7XW - 0161 973 2140 - - Twitter

Bean and Brush Art Cafe (The Old Sorting House) on Urbanspoon