Autumn Flavas cakes with Sheffield Underground Cake Club

We met at Daves house in his lovely back garden with views over Sheffield, We were so lucky to have sunny weather !

Our theme was the flavours of Autumn and our bakers and guests baked 5 delicious cakes.

Annes plum crumble cake with ginger added to the crumble. It was a spongecake recipe with added ground almond for crunch.

Daves cake was Apple Cinnamon crunch cake with 2 layers of apple added in 2 stages with the batter which has almond milk in it. He recommends not using a loose bottomed tin as the batter is very fluid. In fact the apples all bobbed to the top as it cooked but it was delicious with a topping of a pot of fresh cream with sugar and a dusting of cinnamon. Topped with fresh figs and raspberries.

Vickys Sticky Ginger Skillet Parkin was made and baked all in the same pan. Delicious warm with ice cream . It was from the BBC Good food website, you melt the butter in the pan and then stir in the rest of the ingredients and bake in the pan. Great for a bonfire treat. It had a secret ingredient stem ginger .

Alicias Pumpkin Cake was made with real canned pumpkin puree from the US, canned is easier and she recommends if you use fresh pumpkin, to use a small one as they are more flavoursome than the large ones bred for carving lanterns. It had 3 layers andwiched with cream cheese and cinnamon frosting.

Karens Plum and Vanilla Cake was supposed to be a Plum Vanilla and Lemon cake but I left the lemon zest out by accident . It was still very tasty and a great way of using Autumn fruit. There is more flour and this makes the edges nice and crispy . The plums were de stoned, halved and placed cut side up in a circular pattern.

We tried all the cakes and took some home. Join out next event on 23rd October for Bonfire Cakes … venue to follow !!

Looking forward to bake off starting today !! #gbbo2021

Please contact me for details of the Underground Cake club and we are always welcoming new bakers , and guests. Please suggest venues for our future bakes .

Best wishes Karen

Follow me on @fabcoach at Insta or Twitter or my website or join the Underground Cake club FB group or like the page

Mountain Cakes with Sheffield Underground Cake Club

We met at Carolynns house for a Mountain themed Sheffield Underground Cake Club. This is Daves Toblerone mountain cake. He looked at the recipe and halved the quantities, the cake had melted toblerone and cocoa in it plus melted butter. Decorated with a toblerone glaze and chunks of Toblerone .

My cake was a peaky Bundt sponge cake with local organic rhubarb and organic redcurrants , topped with drizzled, melted chocolate and toasted coconut shavings. Careful greasing of a Bundt tin is recommended.

Carolynn’s cake was the same Toblerone mountain cake as Dave’s, from an Australian website …. she also cut back the ingredients to 3/4. The filling and topping definitely tasted of toblerone ! Scrummy.

Annes cake was an Italian Mountain cake. In Italy, different mountain regions make cakes with local fruits and these are a popular local treat. This one used Golden Delicious apples plus cinnamon and raspberries. The top looked very mountainous and tasted delicious and was still warm.

Below are pictures of the cut cakes .

It then rained a lot so we had to pop the cakes indoors .

Our next event is on Sat 18th September 2-4 . Theme and venue to be announced .

Best wishes


Karen Perkins Life Coach @fabcoach Do come and bake with us. We are friendly amateur bakers and bake for fun.

Summer Floral Cakes at Springvale Community Garden

We met on a scorching summer day to bake Summer Floral Cakes, which were gluten free, with Sheffield Underground Cake club.

We met the amazing Sara Beavan-Widdowson Artist and community engagement expert at Springvale Community Garden , run entirely by and for the community by volunteers . They welcomed us and showed us the fruit and veg for sale. The first cake , top row middle was Sians Honey cake, made with ground almonds and ground rice. She baked for 2 hours and drizzled warm honey on top while it was warm. The recipe was from Dave Darwents recipe book !!

I made an Elderflower and lemon cake (top right) from Baking Mad website. It was very easy . I used Belvoir elderflower cordial and Dove Farm gluten free self raising flour. The cake was vegetarian.

The next cake , lh side of row 2 was Annes Elderflower and Lemon cake a Clare Bailey recipe it had xylitol as sweetener, gluten free self raising flour, corn flour . No eggs, just oil and elderflower cordial to make a batter. Lemon zest and drizzle on top.

Claire made scrummy Sticky Choccy brownies . Just back from holiday she explained how forgiving they were. Gluten free flour, ground almonds, egg yolks and melted chocolate all mixed in, but one of the ingredients she forgot actually was mixed in the baking tin… it made no difference they were moist and delicious.

Carolynn made Lemon and Violet Cake … from 2 different recipes …with ground parma violets in the topping and filling. No flour was used but she used ground almonds instead. Parma violet and lemon drizzle, plus parma violet icing.

We had a guided tour of the community garden, saw the herbal ” physic” garden, the fruit trees, fruit canes and poly tunnels. Volunteers tend all the veg and they had asparagus and artichokes , salad, brassicas …. and a nature garden with a pond. Its a fantastic place worth visiting.

Our next Cake club is Sat 21st Aug 2-4 theme to follow …at Whinfell Quarry gardens Whirlow …. bring a flask and a cushion or folding chair.

See you there RSVP Best wishes Karen

Karen Perkins Lifecoach (@fabcoach) • Instagram photos and videos

@fabcoach | Linktree Check out my Linktree !!

Sunshine Cakes with Sheffield Underground Cake Club

We had a relaxing cake club on a theme of post lockdown positivity and Sunshine, with sunshine cakes .

Anne made a Mandarin and Pineapple Cake aka Florida Sunshine Cake , aka Pig Picking cake. Called as such as a cake for community picnics in Florida or Carolina. Made by combining a packet of cake mix with a whole tin of mandarins, unsweetened apple sauce and egg whites. The topping was whipped cream, crushed pineapple and 1oz of custard powder all mixed together . She chilled it for an hour.

Carolynn made an Amoretti and Peach Melba cake . In the sponge she added crushed amoretti biscuits. The topping was peach juice heated , with white chocolate added to create a peachy ganache. It had a home made raspberry coulis with it.

Sian made a Coffee Pavlova cake . It made its way via several suburbs and even encountered local sheep , before making it to sunny Hillsborough. The chocolate custard beneath the pavlova and on top of the coffee sponge was a delicious idea.

I made a lemon and raspberry Sunburst Sunshine sponge. The sponge was a Delia Smith recipe, which I halved and added yellow food colouring to one half. In the cake tins I marbled them. I spread one half with lemon curd, and the other with raspberry conserve, and filled with whipped double cream. Topped with yellow icing made with fresh lemon juice.

We all tried our cakes , and shared our cakey tips and ideas for coping with lockdown and post lockdown working.

Next event is Sat 17th July in Oxspring area 2-4 so if you are going , please book and RSVP for numbers. Socially distanced.

Any questions or ideas for venues please contact me . Everyone welcome, we are amateur bakers so all efforts are welcomed and scoffed !! Burning equals learning !!

Best wishes


@fabcoach on Insta and Twitter

Caterpillar & Creepy Crawly Cakes

Sheffield Underground Cake Club channelled their inner caterpillar cake design expertise. Here are our cakes.

Anne made an insect themed Honey and Parsnip Cake … bees being the link. Very tasty, eggs, oil, grated parsnips, honey & sugar with a cream cheese and honey topping. A BBC Good food recipe.

Carolynn made a Gingerbread Apricot Caterpillar cake. A Sainsburys magazine recipe, amended to include, a ginger swiss roll with crystallised ginger and ginger sponge. The filling was Apricot jam, lots of tasty pieces, plus a coating & filling of lemon buttercream. She made the stripes from 100’s and 1000’s but advised against it as they got everywhere !!

Clare made a Cecil Caterpillar, from a Pinterest recipe. Chocolate ganache with smarties buttons for the spots. Clare recommends using a pringles lid to set the caterpillar face, and add smarties.

Sian made a hot choc and cinnamon spice cake with an initial mix of cocoa, sugar in boiling water, the adding creamed butter, sugar etc. The icing is chocolate buttercream with a piped spiders web & spiders . Yummy.

Karen made Coco the dairy free caterpillar. A chocolate swiss roll made with eggs, castor sugar and cocoa. The filling was raspberry conserve, and should have been Elmlea Plant … but despite the packaging note…it didn’t whip so had to be poured on. The face was fondant icing mixed with raspberry conserve, plus chocolate hazelnut features, and vegan chocolate drizzled on the body.

June meeting 26th June …theme to follow

July meeting 17th July ( before school hols )

Please tell people about our group. All welcome we are friendly & lots of people pop in by themselves . If you want to suggest a venue or offer your place as a venue…please let me know !!

Best wishes


Luscious Post Lockdown Park meetup with real people & real cakes

After at least 6 months of Zoom Underground cake club, where we couldnt taste other peoples cake, we finally were able to meet up, less than 6 socially distanced bakers , in Stannington Park to celebrate !! It was a beutiful sunny day. Clare brought a picnic table to display our cakes. We brought flasks with lashings of tea plus we had takeouts from Kafe Stannington Park. I have a lovely iced latte , as it was hot outdoors . Our theme was treats and lusciousness. It was so great to meet up in person after lockdown and try our cakes, all socially distanced. We cut our cakes and everyone helped themselves, with their own cake slices, socially distanced.

Karen made a Kumquat Upside Down cake with Kumquats , which a mini bitter citrus fruits . You stew the fruits in slices with sugar to make a fruit layer to put in the base of the cake tin. Don’t use a springform tin or the syrup can leak through the base as it cooks.

Sian made a delicious Raspberry Cream Chocolate cake, with fresh raspberries and cream topping with grated chocolate. It was lush.

Clare made a Coconut Dream cake , with dried coconut slices from Lembas. Coconut sugar, milk, eggs and coconut cream. Another delicious cake .

We had a fab time and chatted away for over 2 hours in the fresh air. Its amazing to be able to meet up in person again, try the cakes and take some home. Our next meetup in person is Sat 22nd May. The theme is Caterpillar or creepy crawly cakes, without copyright infringements. Location to follow 3-5 , zoom if the weather is vile.

Here are our cakes and the evidence .

Any questions or if you would like to join us follow our FB page

Best wishes Karen Perkins

Life Coaching Sheffield & Business Coaching Sheffield by Karen Perkins (

Things we are looking forward to after Unlocking Cakes .

We met yet again on Zoom on Saturday for Sheffield Underground cake club but next month all being well we will meet , 6 people with LIVE cake tasting at last on the 24th April in Stannington Park 2.30 til 4.30. Booking essential.

Clares cake was Neapolitan cake, above, inspired by her favourite ice cream. She’s looking forward to getting out for an ice cream. Layers of pistachio, chocolate and vanilla, like the ones she has seen in Italy and so much tastier than the garish UK varieties. She filled it with strawberry daquiri filling and marshmallow fluff. Difficult to watch this without being able to taste it, I do confess.

Some recommendations for take away ices . Caspers on Archer Road , Our Cow Molly Farm ice cream parlour, Scoops on South Rd Walkley.

Anne made another cake in her Scandanavian series . A Skuffukaka cake from Iceland this time …. a chocolate cake that reminds her that she want to go to Iceland for her next holiday. Scandinavian cakes are perfect in Yorkshire as they are big enough to give a decent slice !! Scandis are into Hygge or cosy cake and coffee shared with friends. Cosiness, comfort and self care . On Xmas eve apparently everyone gives someone a book and they all sit and read quietly … with their hygge maybe .

Maggie showed off a delicious chocolate and raspberry brownie from Coles Corner Cafe on Abbeydale Road near Jamesons, which she recommends . . Her brownie is recommended as its succulent , unlike some which are too dry. Maggie is looking forward to Geisha the Ballet, by Northern Ballet …which got pulled because of the pandemic.

Bernie recommended Hugh Fearnley Whittingstalls brownie recipes from the Guardian.

Carolynn made Easter Brownie Millionaires slices with caramel and topped with chocolate and Easter eggs . She’s looking forward to making a cake to share.

Bernie made Cruffins , a hybrid cake. She said it reminded her of cake and coffee with friends which she couldn’t wait to do it again. She made croissant dough & added grated orange peel and cinnamon and left it overnight in the fridge to proove. Then she pulled it into a long strip, plastered with butter , rolled it into a log sideways so you can see the curls. Cut it in half lengthways , like a leek …and e roll it , cut into strips and curl into muffin tins will see the layers. Clare said you could try this with croissants in a tube and add fillings if short of time.

I had a very stressful week so I bought a cake … but I would definitely make it. It was a purple velvet cake, with tangy blackcurrant jam filling, purple sponge and soft cheese topping with blackcurrants . From the Co-op. I cant wait to eat cake and share it with the Cake Club , also to visit my son who I have not seen for a year in the flesh. Well I will see him in his aunties garden soo fingers crossed.

We had a great chat about how things were going in lockdown new hobbies like sock making by Clare ( Second Drawer Down sock book by Verity Castledine) . Bernie had been making art books of photos for her kids 30th birthdays . Her tip was use printapix, but find it via Groupon .

Our next event will be in a park , with 6 people, 6 cakes, all socially distanced. The theme is Luscious Tastebud Tempting Treats for sharing . Meet near the cafe in Stannington Park, bring a chair or rug. Clare is bringing a picnic table so we can safely share cakes & distance. Sat 24 April. 2.30-4.30 rain check at 12 … Zoom link if weather is vile.

Best Wishes Karen

Karen Perkins Life Coach @fabcoach on Insta and Twitter

Marzipan Cakes with Sheffield Underground Cake Club

On Saturday we had a brilliant Marzipan themed Sheffield Underground Cake Club. Due to lockdown we met on Zoom, with the usual sighs of ” I do miss being able to share my cake out ” but hopefully better days are coming round and we will be able to meet 6 in a park and then properly as a group safely back in our favourite cafes. We have a massive list of places to try in 2021. Here are our cakes for your perusal.

Carolynn made Bakewell Blondies. Janes Patisserie recipe to which she added blackberry jam and lumps of marzipan. She made 2/3rds of the quantity and cooked for 30 mins.

I made Simnel Buns …vanilla sponge with a blob of Raspberry jam topped with balls of home made marzipan. I made the marzipan , my first attempt at home made. I recommend it , you add ground almonds, castor and icing sugar , an egg yolk and a teaspoon of orange juice. Luckily I only made half quantity as there was some left. Everyone suggested I cut it into pieces and freeze it for my next bake.

Clare made the BBC Good Food easy Battenberg cake . Ground almonds, lemon icing with apricot jam under the marzipan.

Vicky said she missed tasting the cakes in real life …she joined us sitting on the terrace in the afternoon sun .

Anne made a Marzipan Cherry cake , it looked delicious and you can see it in the photo above. It was the same recipe as Daves but a different shape !!

Dave made a Marzipan Cherry Cake and sent us lots of photos and the full recipe. It looked delicious.

Adapted From: and Family Circle Souvenir Cake Book (1985) Cherry Almond Cake.

The original version of this cake (link above) uses very similar proportions of all ingredients, and an identical ingredient list, to the Family Circle Souvenir Cake Book recipe for Cherry Almond Cake, with the exception that the latter includes no Marzipan. After trying the recipe the first time I found that the cake took a very long time to cook, and that it sank in the middle (which on Charlotte’s web site it rather looks as though hers did too). I therefore revised the recipe to use exactly the same proportions of ingredients as the FCCAC, except the cherries which I retained as the greater amount used by Charlotte. I also switched from butter to margarine, selected heavy-gauge tins and increased the cooking time, again based on the FC recipe. The resulting cakes worked perfectly! Finally, because I tend to batch-bake, I doubled everything and made two cakes at once.


Charlotte’s Original:

  • 150g unsalted butter – softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g self-raising flour + a little extra for dusting the cherries
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 25g flaked almonds
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 150g glacé cherries
  • 150g marzipan
  • A little icing sugar – to help roll out the marzipan


  • 10oz Stork margarine (tub version not block)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 10oz caster sugar
  • 11oz plain flour + a little extra for dusting the cherries to roll the marzipan out
  • 1 generous teaspoon baking powder
  • 11oz ground almonds
  • 2 generous tablespoons flaked almonds
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 12oz glacé cherries
  • 12oz marzipan

We had a good discussion about Marzipan. People remembered it as being only for Christmas when they were kids. Used for wedding and Christmas cake and petit fours or marzipan fruits. Daves mum stopped using eggs in her marzipan when the Edwina Currie salmonella scandal broke. It was the first Vegan marzipan … she used rosewater instead of egg yolk. Others use chick pea water in their vegan marzipan. Another suggestion was to make hazelnut marzipan with ground hazelnuts.

Our next Cake Club will be Saturday 27th March . Zoom for the time being but watch this space . Cakes on a theme of Things or Flavours we are looking forward to after Lockdown Unlocked. 3-5. Zoom link available just ask Karen . If we can meet outside we can have a Afternoon tea cakes theme .

Best wishes


Follow our Facebook Page Underground Cake Club or Join our Facebook Group

Karen Perkins is a Life Coach in Sheffield …who loves baking & climbing mountains. Follow her on Social media

Snowy Landscapes with Sheffield Underground Cake Club

Our theme in January 2021, on Zoom during #lockdown3 was Snowy Landscapes Cakes. We had lots of visitors. We also had a cakey quiz supplied by Bernie …

See pictures of the inside of the cakes … below

Anne made a massive Norwegian Cream Cake. Iceland Norway and Finland are big on cakes. This 3 layer Norwegian cream cream cake had 10 eggs , plain flour , baking powder. No fat, like a panettone, once cooked it’s fluffy and light. She sliced it in 3 and drizzled milk on each layer, filled each with whipped double cream with vanilla essence and icing sugar, strawberry jam and blue berries . This cake is traditionally baked for Norway Day on 17th May .

Clare made a marzipan cherry and almond warm cake with icing sugar on . She realised after baking, her oven has a sloping shelf so the cake was at an angle. Who cares !! It looked delicious.. Served warm.

Carolynn made Almond and Cherry buns with home made marzipan plus dark Chocolate inside. She made egg white meringue on top . She used the egg yolk, castor and icing sugar and ground almonds to make her own marzipan. Homemade is less sugary so better for you. 

Marzipan cakes will be our February theme as people were so impressed and keen to try them.

Dave told us all about the cake he dreamed of making . His cake was a 12th Night cake, traditionally made to eat for 12th Night or the 6th of January. He described a massive family cake from the Yorkshire TV farmhouse kitchen cookbook  with 12 eggs, 2lbs of sugar , 1lb of butter. The original was in a16 inch cake in a slow aga for 4 hours. He wanted to be environmentally responsible so will not be making a cake till we can share them again 🙂 He showed us a photo of a Mary Berry 12th Night cake. The recipe is on the BBC cooking website. Buy peel off icing to stick on.

Sian bought cake . 2 birthday cakes …. Vanilla and chocolate. We were very jealous. The cakes were #selfcare projects. Her kids chose them as a treat as the whole family have been working so hard. Its ok to bake when it suits you & buy when it doesn’t. We have all supported each other through covid . #thankyou

Bernie made a  Devils food cake a Chocolate cake with treacle and golden syrup. Its from the Hamlyn All colour cookbook, really simple and cheap. Meringue icing made from icing sugar, golden syrup and egg white. Helen said its called Swiss meringue topping . To check if meringue freezes … they are going to do one slice to test how it lasts in the freezer.

Helen showed us a Freezer cake, a slice of her chocolate Yule log. It’s a Mary Berry fatless sponge with amaretto, filled with fresh cream. She portioned it and froze it. We had a great discussion of what cakes people froze & tips. Freeze the blondies . Make a cake and cut it in slices to get out when you want a piece , if no one else in your household wants cake.

Next topic was Birds in lockdown …. Countryfile … were  at Forge Dam filming the Mandarin ducks. Parakeets in Graves Park. Flamingos in Kensington St James Park . What do they eat to make them pink ? Squirrels in Botanical Gardens Animals are missing people in zoos. Goats in Jesmond Park.
Then school puddings , as we chatted about a tv series filmed in Norton Lees Sheffield about corner shops Back in Time.
There is a Manchester tart recipe in Clandestine Cake club book. …. Desiccated coconut on top. People ate cornflakes, custard and jam for puddings. School puddings theme for next meeting. Bernie mentioned that lots of E numbers are natural. Fortified bread was popular in the 60’s and 70’s .

We moved on to bread baking in Lockdown. Bread recipes to prove in the fridge sound good, easy to leave overnight and not stress. Look for recipes … Cinnamon buns …. Ready to roll for breakfast, with an egg yolk in the dough . Ways to prove your loaf . Balance on a radiator. Stand near oven exhaust. Proving oven in Stoves .

Pickling jars …. Piccalilli & Jam making …. Make them as soon as they are ready … Ideas include a Jam swap at future meetings. Use up apples for mincemeat . Have a Cake club on Daves allotment …. Summer puddings with blackcurrants.  How to wrap and store food . Times Calendar cookbook by Katie Stewart cooks and freezes by the season with seasonal ingredients and recipes. 

Next event 3-5 27th Feb … On a marzipan theme. Probably on Zoom.

Marzipan cakes will be our February theme as people were so impressed and keen to try them. School puddings theme for our March meeting. For our next real life socially distanced event when possible, we have picked the theme “Cakes made to Share “

Contact me with any questions.

Best wishes

Karen Karen Perkins @fabcoach on Twitter and Insta Website

Mysterious colour cakes with Sheffield Underground Cake Club.

Our instruction today was to “Introduce your cake by holding it up and everyone can guess what the secret ingredient was that gave it, its colour ” We had another Zoom event as Covid #lockdown2 was in force this week. 

I made a crystallised ginger, banana and chocolate cake . I like to use up ingredients so ripe bananas meant no waste, ginger from the store cupboard and the rest of my cocoa and some cacao to get the choccy look. I was pleased with the bake, slightly squishy at the base and tasting like chocolatey Parkin. I will make it again ! 

Anne made Rose and elderflower sponge with a delicious filling of Teignmouth Priory Rose and Elderflower curd in the center plus Rose butter cream on top and layered in the filling. Ann used little icing hearts scattered around the top, that looked like sugar petals. 

Green was the mysterious colour that took at least 4 guesses to uncover. … Vcky had made an Avocado mug cake , mashed avocado plus the usual ingredients … With avocado being an Egg substitute . We then discussed the merits of Spinach for green colouring too.

Carolynn made a compote topped cake. We had to guess the compote .. After 6 guesses because we couldn’t sample it on zoom, someone plumped for plum and it was revealed as a Plum compote and butter cream topped sponge, with roast  chopped plums in the bake. 
We discussed tips for freezing slices of cake for later if we couldn’t scoff a whole one. Tip freeze one slice at a time, or freeze separate cupcakes and bag up when the butter cream has frozen.  And yes , you can freeze butter cream!

Bernie zoomed in with her Swiss roll … With amazing stripes of different colours in the roll. She recommended Morrisons gel food colouring … Lemon and raspberry were the 2 stripes and she said the best way to keep the the integrity of the lines was to use 2 types of cake batter. 
Make stripes with no butter batter, divide it and colour, pipe lines on a baking tray and put in fridge, gently smooth the next batter over with a palate knife . Butter and icing sugar with egg white for coloured ones. 
Clare made lemon icing and lemon butter cream. Bright coloured cake inside Sunshine cake …. Her mystery ingredient was orange food colouring to cheer us up.

We had a lovely chat to take our minds off the perils of Covid and home working. This group has been so supportive through these wierd times. Some inspirations include 
-Bernie said a chequerboard cake was easy. 
-Sian gave us tips for using up flour slightly past date #phew. 
-We learned LIdl coconut flour  … Is naturally gluten free 
-Use up old flour …. Unless it has mites. Tee hee 

-Someone recommended Couch to get fit app… 
– A local on line Adrienne Yoga 
– Breathing for relaxing.  Sian talked about Circular breathing & Square Breathing
We need to be reminded that “Our basic needs are not being met aka Maslow … So it’s ok to not to feel like you should “.  Time to Refocus and be kind to yourself …. All good reasons for sharing and zooming cake !

Our next cakey event is Sat 19th Dec Flavours of India, Festival spices or a freestyle medley 3-5 zoom to follow !! Join us, we have a fab time … Can’t wait to meet up & eat up in real life soon !! Contact me, Karen Perkins for details of how to join .. or LIKE our FB page .Follow me on Twitter and Insta @fabcoach