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