Cake Club has been a little under-represented on the blog recently due to a staffing issue. First of all founding organiser Louise departed for pastures new (surely not solely because she got knocked out of the tournament, but one draws one’s own conclusions) and then half the office went on holiday because of some nonsense or other called “Christmas”. Clearly the level of commitment has sagged. And what a shame because the round of the 22nd of December was a corker!
Simon from sales treated the crowd to a peach custard creme-adorned sandwich with peach slices and raspberry coulis drizzle (oh my!). Not that he’s a perfectionist or anything but he actually apologised for the slightly unfinished pattern in the drizzle. Apparently he underestimated how much juice he had available to squirt over his creme.
One time employee of the quarter Aurelie is famous for her customer service expertise but crashed out of last year’s cake club with her dangerously original almond hedgehogs. This year she played a little more conventionally with a classic chocolate log, a very popular design at this time of the year. It was adorned with a charming Christmas scene and beautifully dusted with a white powder that really showed off the carefully-crafted texture of the icing. It looked like snow but Aurelie assures us it was of fully legitimate provenance.
Far be it from your humble reporter to express an opinion (especially as I was a good 5,000 miles away on the day, stuffing my fat face with biltong in a bar in Johannesburg) but it was a close run contest judging by the votes and the reported opinions from those who were there on the day. In the end, Simon clinched it by a hair, winning 6 votes to 5 – he progresses to the next round.
On the 10th January everyone was back from their various foreign jaunts and Joe from development took on Gary from sales. Gary, a one-time bakery owner, seemed the obvious favourite but as neither gentleman has a track record with cake club, the most widely accepted benchmark of culinary skill in Europe, it was anyone’s round as we approached the venerable tasting hall.
Gary went for a solid classic, the chocolate sponge with matching icing and some coloured sprinkles. Despite his restraint however, it was remarkably delicious and clearly the result of a master craftsman barely scratching the surface of his considerable talent. Conversely, bachelor Joe demonstrated a level of ingenuity that would only be matched by the bastard offspring of Heston Blumenthal and MacGuyver, by baking two cakes, in mugs with a microwave. One was chocolate chip, the other plain vanilla. He even decorated them with candles for added wow factor.
Cake Club is a larger-than-life place where dreams are made and dashed, where dead certs are crushed by cruel happenstance and underdogs come from nowhere to conquer the world. On this occasion however, Goliath wore a helmet and Gary’s simple, classic treat took Joe’s experimental fancies out the back for a good kicking, gaining 11 votes to just 3. Gary we will see in the next round; Joe we will see in the basement, tearfully shredding his recipe book.
Next cake club is on Monday, when our German customer service expert Nicole goes up against Geordie techmeister John. Will it be a legendary British victory similar to the famous success of 1966, or a crushing teutonic triumph like the car industry of the past 20 years? Only those in cake club can decide!