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How to bake a Camden Birthday Cake

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You cannot imagine a birthday party without a birthday cake. Although you can find quite reasonable priced nice and tasty birthday cakes in the main supermarkets, nothing beats the home made birthday cake.

Camden Council is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and one of the activities to mark this event will be the Camden50 Bake Off on the 3rd August, at the Roundhouse’s Summer party.

All locals are invited to submit their cakes based on themes around this jubilee birthday and all things Camden. The cakes will be judged by the Primrose Bakery. After the judging, the cakes will be sliced and shared with other party goers. So, what cake are you going to bake?

As an inspiration, I think that birthday cakes should represent in some ways or other, the birthday person. One way I have achieved this is by thinking about the flavours and what they would mean for the birthday person. Recently I made a green tea birthday cake for a friend of mine who had spent three years living in Japan and has amazing memories of her life there. So I thought that the flavours of a green tea cake would remind her of the beautiful experiences she had in Japan.

There are many ways to describe Camden which I think would include diversity, quirkiness, originality, mystical, fun, trendy, entertainment, night life, and even aromatic smells from the market . Your cake can represent anyone of these descriptions plus more. Everything and anything you have ever imagined of Camden can be portrayed in your cake. For example, Rainbow coloured cakes that make reference to Camden’s colourful markets and streets; Piñata surprise cakes symbolizing the ever changing and dynamic Camden; or a simple vanilla bean cake alluding to the beautiful and tranquil parks and canal walks in Camden.

You may wish only to use your own tried and tested favourite flavours and ingredients but then you can elaborate with really special and unique decorative features for the Camden50 birthday party celebration cake. You can hand paint musical notes, or stick a Dr Martins shoe made of icing on the top of the cake. You can also hand pipe the simple phrases like” Camden Lock” or “Happy Birthday Camden”.

My cake for the Camden50 will be ‘Ombre’ cake with salted caramel and almond flavour coffee. It will have 5 different sponges and two different fillings, all covered in a chocolate ganache. It will be a true showcase of the diversity, colours and flavours of Camden and its residents.

For the decoration, I will be looking at taking inspirations from some of Camden’s unique icons such as canal barges; Camden Town Tube signage; Punk and Mohican hair styles; Camden Town Brewery lager bottle; a giant Black Cat from the Carreras Cigarette Factory in Morning Crescent. My little trademarks will be made of pastillage and hand painted. All ingredients will be sourced at the local shops.

Whatever you do, bake and decorate your cake with love. Think about the occasion and who you are baking it for. Perfection is not the essence here, just passion for baking, originality, time and effort.

Good luck!

Jelena Culum is a organiser of Camden Clandestine Cake Club . We are all passionate about baking, eating cakes and meeting new people. Meeting once a month in a secret location around Camden. For more information, please visit: http://clandestinecakeclub.co.uk/groups/camden/

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