Clandestine Cake Club: Pistachio, Cardamom and Yoghurt Cake

Clandestine Cake Club
Clandestine Cake Cake Club Cake Selection

Clandestine Cake Cake Club Cake Selection

Are any of you Clandestine Cakes Club members? Have you heard of the club before? If not, and you LOVE baking cakes and anything cake related, you have to check it out! The basic premise is that as a member you bake a cake to take to an event, you share the cake with other members and then make new friends over the common interest of cake!

I heard about this secret cake society over a year ago and was super excited with the idea. There are clubs all over the UK, and increasingly all over the world! It was founded in the summer of 2010 by a lady called Lynn Hill from Leeds, Northern England. The mission statement for the CCC is: Bake, Eat and Talk about Cake, now there is nothing wrong with that!

As you all know you can make plans and then life gets in the way so you put things off and then you find that months have gone by and you still haven’t gotten round to doing those things that you really want to do. The CCC is that thing for me! I joined one of the groups but kept on missing out on their meets due to being busy at work or having other things planned. I even baked a cake once and then missed the meeting as I was stuck at work! So this time, I planned way ahead and sent an email to join the January meeting.

There are a few main things to take note of. The venue is a secret until a few days before the event. Once you have signed up to the event, the organiser will send an email to confirm the venue. There is a ‘Cake only Rule’- ‘CCC is not like any other club. You can share a cake, you cannot share a cupcake, Muffin or a Brownie. There is interaction and conversation as soon as you begin to slice a cake, that you don’t seem to get when you pick up a cupcake etc.’ You can also take a guest with you (who can choose to bake or not!).

Each event has a theme to guide your baking and give inspiration. The theme of the event I attended was ‘nouveaux’ -trying out a new recipe or using a new cook book or cake tin etc. The groups are run by volunteers who do it because they love cake and baking. So check out your local group and join one today! On the night there were 15 cakes on offer! A lot of new members so lots of people to chat to and get to know. The tea flowed and we worked our way through all the cakes with the determination to try every single one of them.

Pistachio, Yoghurt and Cardamom Cake

Pistachio, Yoghurt and Cardamom Cake

The recipe I decided to go with was a Pistachio, Cardamom and Yoghurt Cake. Not strictly a ‘new’ recipe for me but a ‘new improved version’ of the cake as I wanted to ensure that the cake would taste nice and I not turn out a total disaster! The cake was well received on the night, although it wasn’t the most attractive cake there. I got lots of comments about the flavour combination and was even asked for the recipe, which is always a good sign! The cake is fairly dense but still moist due to the yoghurt and the lime drizzle. The flavours work really well together and it’s sto easy to do if you have a food processor!

So here it is: (You’ll need a food processor and a small sauce pan)

Pistachio, Cardamom and Yoghurt Cake  (Adapted from ‘Sweet Food’ publised by Murdoch Books)

Ingredients

  • 150g Pistachio nuts
  • 1 tsp Ground Cardamom (about 15 pods)
  • 150g Butter
  • 185g Self Raising Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 180g Caster Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 125g Plain Yoghurt
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 2 tbs Honey

Method

  • Grease and line cake tin (either 20cm round tin or 2lb loaf tin)
  • Place pistachios and ground cardamom in the processor and pulse until just chopped
  • Add butter and flour and caster sugar then pulse for 20 seconds or until crunbly
  • Combine yoghurt and eggs then add to the cake batter before pulsing again for 10 secons or until just combined
  • Bake in oven at 180 degrees C for 40-45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean
  • In a small pan warm up the lime of the juice and the honey until combined and becomes a sticky syrup
  • Once the cake has cooled a little, pierce it all over with the skewer and slowly pour over the lime and honey mixture as a ‘drizzle’
  • Allow cake to fully cool in the tin

The original recipe contains a lot more sugar and a little less cardamom but I found it way to sweet, so I use honey to make the syrup, and found the cardamom could be stronger, so I have changed the recipe to my taste. The original recipe can be found on this site.

Pistachio, Yoghurt and Cardamom Cake

Pistachio, Yoghurt and Cardamom Cake

I really enjoyed my first event as a Clandestine Cake Club member and would highly recommend it to anyone who loves cake! 🙂

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Chicken Tikka Potstickers: the dumplings with a twist!

I have previously posted about potstickers/dumplings/gyozas before but for this recipe I have used the basic idea of the potsticker and given it a South Asian twist!

Chicken Tikka Potstickers

Chicken Tikka Potstickers

Chinese potstickers are traditionally served with a milder flavours in comparison to spicy South Asian cooking (as with a lot of Chinese cooking the flavours are simple and subtle) and the dumplings served with a simple dipping sauce, usually based on soy sauce and vinegar. Taking inspiration from the was South Asian samosas are served, I decided to add a little spiciness to the filling of the potstickers as well as serve them with a couple of punchier dips!

Recipe

For the dumplings:

  • 1 packet of pre-made dumpling pastry (I’m too lazy to make my own this time!)
  • 4 skinned and boneless chicken thighs (chopped very finely or minced)
  • 2 tbs Tikka Masala curry paste (or make your own spice marinade)
  • 1 medium cooked potato, crushed (I used left over roasted potatoes)
  • 2 chopped spring onions (can use leeks or onions)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 2 tsp oil (for frying)
  • Boiled water (for steaming)
Potsticker wrapping

Potsticker wrapping

For the Chilli, Mint and Yoghurt Dip

  • 1 cup of natural yoghurt
  • 2 tbs green chilli sauce (I used bottled)
  • 2 tbs mint sauce (I used bottled but you can use fresh mint too!)
  • Salt (to taste)
Mint and Chilli Yoghurt

Mint and Chilli Yoghurt

For the Spiced Tomato Dip

  • 5 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 tbs oil (for frying)
  • Spices (I used 1 tsp each of mustard seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and dried chilli flakes)
  • Curry leaves (a few)
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 2 tsp vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
  • 0.5 tsp sugar
  • Salt (to taste)
Spiced Tomato Chutney

Spiced Tomato Chutney

Method

For the dumplings:

  • Mix the chicken with the Tikka paste and allow to marinade for a few hours of over night.
  • Mix the raw chicken with crushed potatoes and leeks and add a little salt.
  • Wrap the dumplings using about 2 tsp of filling per dumpling. Line a couple of plates or baking trays with ling film to put the dumplings on to avoid them sticking the plate. make sure the dumplings aren’t touching as they will stuck together. You can also stick them straight into the freezer on the tray/plate then stick them into freezer bags for later use.
  • In a heavy based sauce pan that has a lid or wok, add the oil and warm up. Add the dumplings into the pan, fairly close together, completely filling the pan but with a little space between each dumpling as they expand during cooking. Fry for a few minutes until the bottom of the dumplings have browned a little.
  • Now it is time to cook the filling, so add some water to the pan (about 1 cup), cover with the lid and steam for 5-10 minutes on a low heat (until the filling is cooked through). If there is still water left in the pan, increase the heat to evaporate the remaining water and crisp up the bottoms.
  • The dumplings will stick to the pan (hence the name ‘potstickers’ but with a little care and the help of a fish slice spatula, you can easily lift them out!)
  • If cooking from frozen, no need to de-frost them. Just stick them straight in the pan and steam for an extra 5 minutes.
Potstickers- chicken tikka

Potstickers- Ready for the freezer

For the Chilli, Mint and Yoghurt Dip:

  • Mix everything together and add salt to taste, simple!

For the Spiced Tomato Dip:

  • Dry roast the whole spices and curry leaves in a saucepan
  • Add oil and cook the onions until softened
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste, stir and then cook for a few minutes until they are soft and most of the juices from the tomatoes has gone
  • Add the salt, sugar and vinegar and cook for a couple more minutes
  • Taste and allow to cool
Chicken Tikka Potstickers

Chicken Tikka Potstickers

I made a batch of these and froze them for future meals when there is no time to cook or I’m too tired. Today was that day!

The filling was nicely spiced and very much reminiscent of the taste of chicken samosas but a lot lighter since they aren’t deep fried. The potatoes in the filling help to keep it all quite dry so there is less risk of the dumplings bursting, however it also means that dips/chutneys are very much necessary!

The spiced tomato chutney worked very nicely, as the vinegar added a sharpness that lifts all the flavours and brings back in the freshness that you would normally get from a traditional Chinese dipping sauce. Then the minty yoghurt cools everything down… So delicious! I ate at least 10 in one sitting! 🙂