Baking Club Days

Seeing as Amelia and family are away in Aus at the moment and there isn’t too much cooking going on, I thought I’d post about the baking club that Amelia and I started a few months ago. We thought it would be a great way to justify making… and more importantly eating more sweet treats, any excuse to bake is a good one right??

So we decided that once a month we would get together with other keen bakers that we knew. Each month we would have a theme and everyone would choose their own recipe, bake it and bring it to share with the group. We could then critique the food, compare techniques, share recipes and most importantly sample all of the goodies. The plan was fail proof – how could delicious sweets, cups of tea and good company ever go wrong?

Our first months theme was meringue pies, we could only muster up two other baking fiends but thought that 4 was a good start. And a success it was, even though the tea was traded in for something a little stronger (everyone was a little on edge after trying to juggle the making of a meringue pie along with children, work, husbands, etc).

Our menu consisted of Blackberry and Lime Curd Pie, traditional Lemon Meringue Pie, Blueberry Custard Meringue Pie with Chocolate Pastry and Individual Lemon and Passionfruit Meringue Pies. And they were all delicious!!! We discussed pastry shortness, thickness, disasters and deliciousness,  traded meringue techniques (Swiss, French and Italian) and all shared our meringue pie baking experiences. By the end of the afternoon everyone had a much fuller tummy, a greater respect and understanding for pastry and meringue making and a few more recipes to add to the collection. The Blackberry and Lime Curd Pie was deemed most delicious and everyone took home a plate filled with a selection of pies for husbands and children to sample. We decided on a theme and date for next months little gathering and thus concluded our first baking club experience.

Next months baking club, “layer cakes”, proved to be a different story! Amelia and I were excited and had been carefully deliberating over which layer cake to bake, the choices were endless; chocolate or not? how many layers? which type of icing? You get the gist. I finally decided to do something a bit different for me (I’m usually a sucker for chocolate) and went for a coconut and lime layer cake from Dan Lepard’s, Short and Sweet while Amelia went for a triple chocolate layer cake from Tea with Bea, Bea Vo’s recipe book. We were happy with our choices and getting ready for the bake off when one of our fellow bakers had to pull out because of work. After trying to shuffle dates and change schedules with no success our baking club of four turned in to a baking club of three, we decided to carry on and let our number four catch up with us next month. And then another curve ball is thrown and baker number three also has to cancel, and just a day before our scheduled baking day!! So now it is just Amelia and I left to fly the baking club flag, we deliberated over canceling “layer cakes” altogether and just waiting until next month however it just didn’t sit right with us to give up an opportunity to bake. So on with the show, we decided that despite our busy schedules and lack of baking buddies we would push on. Our cakes were both a delicious success (perfect Italian meringue buttercream icing, good cake to icing ratio and not too fiddly to put together) and were greatly enjoyed by the two of us and the husbands however it didn’t really seem like a proper baking club without all of our lovely baking members.

Hopefully this post has inspired you to start your own baking club (even if it does just consist of two people), the more reasons to bake, the happier we are!

Happy Baking,

Alice x

P.S. If you would like any cake or meringue pie recipes just let us know and we’ll post them.


14 thoughts on “Baking Club Days

  1. Love this post Ali, reminds me of how delicious these two cakes were to eat… would definitely make each of them again! The chocolate cake was enormous, would make the perfect birthday or event celebration cake. The coconut cake would be the highlight of any afternoon tea. Mmmm.. Yumm! What shall we make for the next baking club?

  2. What a brilliant idea ladies!! Loved the story
    And the outcomes.. Very impressive! 🙂
    Looking forward to what’s next! 🙂

    • Thanks, we can’t decide on what should be next… we’re thinking cookies or maybe tray bakes? Have a date set for next month though so will definitely continue to post the baking club days! You should start one! Let us know if you do and how it goes…

  3. Hey Sisters…..Love your blog. I have a friend turning 50 and thought your Coconut and Lime Layer Cake sounds delicious for her birthday cake. I’d love to give it a try if you would post the recipe. Thanks. Happy Baking x

    • Heres the recipe for the coconut and lime layer cake. It was a Dan Lepard recipe, from his book ‘Short and Sweet’. It will make a perfect 50th Birthday cake…

      150ml tinned coconut milk
      50g desiccated coconut
      1/2 vanilla pod, scraped
      50ml white rum, plus 3 tablespoons extra to drizzle on the cake
      300g caster sugar
      250g unsalted butter, softened
      3 medium eggs
      275g plain flour
      21/2 teaspoons baking powder
      6 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice ( juice of 2 average limes)
      meringue buttercream icing ( you can also use lime curd in between the layers if you like)

      Line the bases of three 20cm round sponge tins with discs of non-stick baking paper. Heat the coconut milk till boiling then remove from teh heat and stir in the desiccated coconut, vanilla and rum. Leave to soak for 30 mins so the dry coconut softens. Place the sugar and butter in a bowl and beat until the dry coconut softens. Place the sugar and butter in a bowl and beat until light and fluggy then beat in the eggs, one at a time, until evenly combined. Sift the flour with the baking powder two or three times then gradually fold this into the sugar, butter and eggs, alternating with spoonfuls of the coconut mixture (remove the vanilla pod here if you used one) until smooth. Divide between the tins and smooth the tops. Heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and bake for 30-35 minutes. Leave to cool in the tins and then remove carefully. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons lime juice and 1 tablespoon rum on each layer. Top each of the sponges with meringue buttercream icing as you assemble the cake, finish with a layer of icing over the top and sides.

      Meringue buttercream icing:
      4 egg whites from medium eggs ( about 125g )
      225g castor sugar
      325g unsalted butter, slightly softened
      2 teaspoons vanilla extract

      Place the egg whites and sugar in a saucepan and stir over a moderate heat until the mixture is hot and the sugar dissolved. Scrape the mixture into a mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk for about 5 minutes until very thick, holding its shape and cooled. Beat the butter into the meringue, about 50g at a time. Stop whisking as soon as all of the butter is evenly mixed through. Finally, beat in the vanilla extract.

      Happy Baking Anthea, let us know how it goes!

      • Thanks so much for the recipe….can’t wait to make it…mmm….it sounds so good, maybe I’ll have to do a trial…just to make sure before the big night!!!
        Question: If i need a larger cake do you think I would need to double the recipe or just half again for a 23cm triple layer and would I need to double the Meringue Butter Cream for the larger cake or does the one recipe make plenty???

  4. For a 23cm triple layer I would just half the cake recipe again, I think double would be too much. However the icing I would double, running out of icing is a layer cake disaster in the making… you can always freeeze any extra and use it to ice cup cakes.


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  6. The triple layer chocolate cake looks amazing. Please would you be able to post the recipe for it as i would love to have a go at it.

    • Hi George, the recipe is from the book ‘Tea with Bea’, and can be purchased here . It is a very long recipe, I’ll try to find a link and if I can’t will type it up for you and post on here…It certainly is a worth it, such a gorgeous cake!

      • Hi George, sorry this has taken so long, I finally got the time to type this recipe out for you. Don’t be put off by how long it is; it’s definitely worth the effort! Enjoy and let us know how you go!


        For the chocolate buttermilk cake:
        225g dark semi sweet chocolate
        65g dutch process cocoa
        175g unsalted butter
        4 eggs
        300g caster sugar
        175g plain flour
        1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
        1/4 tsp salt
        235 ml buttermilk

        Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Put the chocolate and cocoa in a large, heatproof bowl. Melt the butter and pour it into the bowl of chocolate and cocoa. Stir until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
        In another bowl whisk together the eggs and sugar. Pour into the chocolate mixture and mix until well combined.
        Put the flour, bicarb soda and salt in a large mixing bowl and sift twice. Add one third of the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and mix until well incorporated. Add half the buttermilk and mix until just combined. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture, then the rest of the buttermilk. Finally, add the last third of the flour mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.
        Spoon the mixture into a greased and base lined 25 cm cake tin. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a cooling wrack.

        For the Chocolate Italian Buttercream:
        70g dark chocolate chopped
        360g caster sugar
        1 tbs golden syrup
        100ml water
        6 egg whites
        600g unsalted butter

        Put the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave until the chocolate has melted then stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
        Put the sugar, golden syrup and water in a large saucepan and mix until well combined, making sure that no stray grains of sugar remain unmixed. Set over high heat and bring to a rapid boil. When the sugar mixture has come to the boil, add a sugar thermometer and keep cooking until it reaches well into soft ball stage (120 degrees Celsius). Remove from the heat. Put the egg white in a large bowl and whisk until soft peaks start to form. Slowly pour a steady stream of sugar into the egg whites and continue whisking until the meringue cools slightly. Add the softened butter one third at a time and whip until fully incorporated. Whisk the cooled melted chocolate into the buttercream until fully incorporated.

        For the Fudge Icing:
        250 ml whipping cream
        65g golden syrup
        350g dark semi sweet chocolate
        1 tsp vanilla extract
        75g unsalted butter cut into cubes and chilled

        Put the cream and golden syrup into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Put the chocolate in a large bowl. As soon as the cream mixture has come to a boil, immediately pour it over the chocolate. Set aside for 1 minute. Using a small balloon whisk placed in the middle of the bowl, stir with very small motions, Don’t stray from the middle of the bowl. Keep stirring and eventually a very shiny, thick, glossy mixture forms. Gradually stir in wider motions to incorporate more cream into the emulsion until it is fully combined. Add the vanilla extract and butter and mix until well combined. Set aside to let the chocolate stiffen into a firm consistency before using.

        To assemble the cake:
        Cut the chocolate Buttermilk Cake horizontally into 3 equal layers. Put one layer on a cake stand. Spread a thin layer of fudge icing over it. Now spread a generous layer of the chocolate buttercream over the top. Repeat this process with a second layer of cake on top of the first layer. Top with the last layer. Spread a thin layer of chocolate buttercream all over the cake, making it as smooth and neat as possible. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
        Just before the cake is ready to come out of the fridge very gently heat the remaining fudge icing until it is smooth, runny and glossy. Take the cake out of the fridge and carefully pour the icing over it. Let cool and set slightly before decorating with chopped honeycomb.

      • Thank you so much for posting the recipe. it must have taken ages to type.
        Im sure i am going to have fun making it and even more fun eating it.
        I will certainly let you know how it goes when i make it.

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