Deliciously Decorated by Sheffield Underground Cake club

At the weekend we met up for our cake club at Drew Décor Store on Ecclesall Road at Banner Cross . We were hosted by interiors expert & cake lover Suzanne Drew. Our cakes were inspired by the beautiful wallpapers . We believe this is the worlds first cake & wallpaper pairing event. We ate most of the evidence. Many thanks to Suzanne who was a marvellous host providing lashings of tea & lemonade.

DSC09882 Misty cake Drews décor

Here are our pairings:

Karen made a sugarfree Lemon, matcha & cardomom cake with poached lemon slices to match the citrus wallpaper , plus sharp lemon syrup to drizzle over the top.

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Dave designed a bespoke tin of paint cake called  Drewlux in hommage to the paint displays & R Drew Decorator. A rich fruit cake from his  BeRo cookbook, a family heirloom. It had sultanas, ginger& glace cherries. 2 cakes sandwiched together with lemon curd. With fondant icing & ready to use writing icing paint drips. The letters were cut with toyshop letters.

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Anne made a delicious fresh raspberry cake. It’s a Raspberry Velvet cake, made with American measurements . She added buttermilk, and fresh raspberries . The icing had fresh raspberries in it with icing sugar & butter.

DSC09878 Raspberry cake Karen perkins life coach

Vicky made a delicious Flower themed Victoria sponge with 3 layers sandwiched with jam, and covered with lemon butter cream under fondant icing. On the fondant icing she drizzled candy melts to show the petals as drips. Candy melts are coloured buttons melted in the microwave. She made the petals on greaseproof paper & rolled them around a rolling pin to shape them.

DSC09881Karen perkins life coach Vicky cake with wallpaper


Here are the cakey interiors and a photo of my new patented Sheffield Cake knife which I found at the Nether Edge Yard Sale trail in Sheffield.

Next we have some of the lovely wallpaper on show …

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Once again thanks to Suzanne …. if you like the cakes join us

Sat 19th Oct
Sat 23rd Nov
Sat 14th Dec       Follow us on Facebook

Suzanne is holding a talk with Cole & Sons from London follow the link

Check out “An evening with Cole & Son about their history & their latest collection” @EventbriteUK

Karen Perkins is a Life , Business & Career coach who runs Sheffield Underground Cake club.

The Sheffield Underground Cake club visit Stannington Carnival

We were invited by Stannington Carnival committee to judge the annual Cake competition. We combined it with our regular Underground Cake Club meeting on a theme of Tasty Carnival cakes.

stannington 2019 cake comp

We gathered in a shady gazebo, next to the park pavilion, with teas & coffee.
Here are the competition cakes and results :

1   1st in the Taste over 18’s Category was Rod’s Rhubarb & Custard cake
Fresh, tasty, moist rhubarb sponge with custard topping.
Ron Taste Competition winner Stannington carnival 2019 karen perkins life coach Underground cake club 8 DSC09838
Mention too, to Zoe Hewitts delicious dark chocolate mud cake !

2      1st in the Taste under 18’s Category Rebecca Naylor
Fab work, beautiful moist with deep flavour of pistachio and chocolate topping. ” A future baking star ”


3      1st in the Once Upon a Time category  was Rebecca Naylor , deservedly claiming her 2nd award of the day.
Coffee and hazelnut deliciousness, fondant icing perfectly flat with handmade rose in sugarwork. ” A beauty of a cake ”

The cakes made by Underground Cake club members were also non competitively super delicious. Cake club member Raheel & his daughter also helped judge.  After the judging we had tea and cake & shared our offerings ! Lots of people came to the stand to look at the cakes & made donations to the Carnival fund. They helped us demolish all the cake, except the winning ones that were kindly donated to a local nominated homelessness support organisation.

Here are the individual cakes :
Clares Victoria Sponge with fresh cream & homemade raspberry jam, made on the day, & still warm, from raspberries from her garden. She said that as she was baking other treats at the same time , opening and shutting the oven made her sponge rise slightly less than usual. We didn’t notice #yummy .
Clare Victoria sponge Stannington carnival 2019 karen perkins life coach 5 DSC09836

Karens Cranberry, Lemon & White Chocolate Gluten free, Dairy free sponge , with fresh raspberries & lemon zest topping.

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Daves Carnival cake with a secret surprise . It weighed 7lbs … and was made with vegetarian stork margarine, 12 eggs . The icing is from a 1983 recipe of his nans. He sandwiched the layers with apricot jam , as in previous versions, using the icing meant the layers slid off at an alarming un predictable rate !! It was very popular with the carnival volunteers too.

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Vicky made a delicious Lemon & Poppyseed cake ,with buttermilk in the sponge . The light delicate icing was 1/2 mascarpone, 1/2 cream cheese  so a slightly less sweet foil to the lemony cake . The rest of the topping went on a tiramisu #multitasking .

Vicky Lemon & Poppyseed Stannington carnival 2019 karen perkins life coach Underground cake club 4 DSC09835Thanks to Stannington for hosting us …we all went away with cakey tips & lots of interesting books from the bookstall .

Join us at out next meeting Sept  21st 2.30 to 4.30   Deliciously decorated ! Then Oct 19th 2-4 .

Baking GF cakes as part of Walkley Victorian Festival

We met on a hot sunny day, in the cool calm bookish sereneness that is Walkley Community Library , our hosts. We had chosen Gluten free cakes as our theme as quite a few members had requested this . The Victorian bit was part of the Walkley Festival.

Here are our cakes


My Caraway, White chocolate & lemon cake was moist , with a crunchy exterior from the chocolate & the GF flour. I added the juice & zest of a lemon as GF flour can sometimes be dry. The white chocolate was GF and dairy free too.


Daves Victorian caraway cake , with angelica topping, had a tablespoon of caraway seeds to give it that traditional taste. Angelica is a typical Victorian decoration. With buttercream fillin & icing topping..this cake was made with GF Quinoa flour ( from Atkinsons in Sheffield) which tasted just like flour !! He recommends a tablespoon of ground almonds to perk up a sponge . We all agreed !


Annes Victorian, Gluten Free Dorset Apple cake using GF flour plus 25g of ground almonds , mixed spice, apples, sultanas, ginger & butter. Topped with crunchy demerara sugar.


Sians delicious Pear & Ginger cake almonds sugar & eggs … no flour … with a crispy caramel topping that emerges through the bake.


Clare made Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie cake. Vegan chocolate, butter & ground almonds … so no flour. V moist & chocolatey. Topped with homegrown Raspberries & Strawberries.


Join our future non competitive Bake offs at Sheffield Underground Cake Club

July 13th we are judging Stannington Carnivals Cake competition .
August we take a break.

Sat 21st Sept the theme is Deliciously Decorated cakes somewhere near Banner Cross.

Sat 19th Oct Theme to follow   2 til 4 approx.

See you all there … do send me venues & theme suggestions .We have a FB page & group too

Best wishes




Rhubarb & Ginger cakes with the Underground Cake Club

We were hosted this weekend by the lovely Rhubarb Shed Cafe off Manor Lane, Sheffield. 4 bakers produced 4 totally different interpretations of the theme. All yummy !

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Above is my rhubarb and custard cake. I roasted the rhubarb with sugar in advance , let it cool and drained off the syrup to use with the cake later. The recipe was from the Good Food Magazine. The all in one cake mix includes ready made custard, and I layered the rhubarb & blobs of custard into the mix before baking. Serve warm.

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Annes Rhubarb, apple and ginger cake was made with crystallised ginger, golden syrup, lots of apples and rhubarb. It was from the BBC Good food website.

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Danis Apple Honey & Ginger was made with mostly honey in an all in one batter. She used powdered ginger and this gave a lovely parkin type sticky ginger taste. It had a honey glaze, and was from Waitrose recipe cards.

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Claire made a Rhubarb and Ginger cake , with 400g of homegrown rhubarb plus lots of cinnamon, topped with almonds.

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The cafe has a large car park & is next to the Art studios at Manor Oaks . They do afternoon teas too ! We will be returning.

Join our next events

June 29th 10.30 as part of the Walkley Festival  Gluten Free cakes
July  13th We are meeting at Stannington Carnival … 2 til 3.45. You can enter their cake competition or be a judge with Karen & Claire .
No cake club planned yet for August.
Sept 21st   Theme is Decorative Cakes …near Banner Cross … theme info to follow.

For more info contact me Karen Perkins via my website   or follow The Underground Cake Club on Facebook.

Enjoy your baking !!


Beachwalking in Barmouth

After the Cader climb we had a relaxing walking day on the dunes & beaches near Barmouth. Barmouth has a very long main street tucked away behind the shoreline with lots of chunky architecturally interesting grey buildings.  Morfa Dyffryn is an SSSI and the dunes are protected. There’s a campsite called Shell Island behind the dunes & overlooking the sea & Snowdonia. Looks great . We walked along the North Wales Way , from the tidal causeway across marshland on a raised walkway, through the massive dunes to the beach. 7 miles today , but all on the flat. DSC09768 Barmouth shop karen perkins life coach career coach sheffieldDSC09769 Barmouth beach karen perkins lifecoach career coachDSC09770 Barmouth beach 2 karen perkins life coach career sheffield

Next to Shell Island & the dunes

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We didn’t get to the naturist beach, but next time !!

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The sea air & sunshine are brilliant, sand martins over the dunes & cormorants flying along the shoreline . If you would like some tips on getting outdoors & building a fab worklife balance … please contact me for a free taster or follow me @fabcoach on Twitter or Insta .

Best wishes

Karen Perkins


Climb every mountain : Cader Idris

We decided to try another beautiful mountain climb, this time in South Snowdonia . Cader Idris is near Dolgellau, and 893m high , we chose the Minffordd route, which climbs up from a valley through oak woodlands & bluebells, beside a stream that flows down from the lake in the cwm that sits below the summit. The path winds up, around the edge of that lake & climbs via slate steps , onto the circular ridge , that takes you via several smaller peaks, round to the summit.

Cader Idris, peeks above its foothills, above Dolgellau in Gwynedd, N Wales. Its still difficult to imagine being up there on that rocky ridge !!

DSC09784 Cader idris from Dolgellau karen perkins lifecoach sheffield

We took a proper platypus 1.5l water carrier plus bananas & sandwiches, nature bars. We had the full kit of foil sheet, bivvie bag, compass, map, whistle, suncream, waterproofs, charged phones etc plus plenty of layers as it was cold at the top & we cooled quickly after the hard work walking up. I have added a link to the walk , at the end of this post, if you fancy walking it . Take care preparing as the weather can change quickly & you need to be able to navigate down .


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The middle peak is our final destination.

DSC09746 minyfford path going up cader idris karen perkins lifecoach sheffield

The second highest peak …enroute to the summit.

DSC09747 on way up to minyfford ridge cader idris karen perkins lifecoach sheffield

The upper section of the Minffordd path as it ascends to the circular ridge …seen below.


Walking round the cwm, the path winds just behind the edge of the craggy ridge above… so once you have climbed up to it , it has even stretches with amazing views out over the adjacent valleys & back into the cwm.

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About 2/3rds of the way to the top … boots & a banana break !!


Veins of quartz look like snow drifts .

DSC09751 peak Craid cwn amarch going up cader idris karen perkins lifecoach sheffield

On our way to this, the second highest peak on the way , you can just pick out other walkers. Below is the view from the same spot, but down to the lake .

DSC09752 reflection of summit in the llyn going up cader idris karen perkins lifecoach sheffieldDSC09753

Fantastic views out over adjacent valleys towards Corris & the south. The picture below shows the typical rocky terrain underfoot on the paths.

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Looking back down to where we’d walked… from just before the final ascent to the Cader Idris summit.

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Made it, very hot , but wrapped up quickly as the temperature changed suddenly , with cloud cover so we needed to keep warm .

DSC09759 on the way down going up cader idris karen perkins lifecoach sheffield

A view starting our descent on the other side of the summit, the actual craggy, bristly summit can be seen below, taken as we walked along a ridge , back towards the start of the walk.

DSC09760 Looking back up at the summit on way down going up cader idris karen perkins lifecoach sheffield

So at least 6 miles later we reached the end of the walk, no tea shop sadly but a beautiful sight on the opposite slopes on Minffordd … swathes of bluebells…  very common in this area, and unusually on open ground, not in dappled shade.

DSC09763 bluebells near Minyfford Cader Idris 2 karen perkins life coach sheffield lifecoach

Phew … we made it back and went to Minffordd Hotel for a massive pot of tea & a chat with 2 other walkers we met on the descent . Link to Minffordd Path PDF

Retire now …  before you stop working …#justdostuff around your work. Don’t put it off !!

Best wishes

Karen   or follow me @fabcoach on Insta & Twitter

Walking around Sheffield Open Up

Great time bussing & walking around galleries, artists, cafes & hidden Sheffield places looking at Art this weekend & last . @openupsheffield Great way to keep fit too.

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Life drawing at KIAC … fancying doing some classes ?

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Fab work by @kelhamislandfurniture


Looking down from the top of Manor Castle hill to Rhubarb Shed Cafe & Manor Oaks studios. Amazing views.

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Who knew there was a community kiln on Manor plus a timber recycling company ?

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Off next to Replicast studios .

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Starred momentarily on Bolam TV.


Paper curls seen on a windowsill.

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Portland Works had their open day so we went for breccie at the Harland Cafe
Lovely cafe in Harland works , popping in to see Fallen Giants furniture maker.


Fallen Giant

As usual we had a brilliant time chatting to the artists & finding out about what they love making & doing.

See you next year .. anyone who would like a free coaching taster .. please do contact me Click to contact Karen Perkins Creative & Life Coach

Best wishes Karen