Very quietly, groups of bakers have been gathering together around the nation to meet and eat cake. Here's how Clandestine Cake Club works.
Baking’s big again, thanks in part to a rising number of TV programmes such as The Great British Bake Off, Lorraine Pascale’s Baking Made Easy and Eric Lanlard’s Baking Mad. But that had nothing to do with the initial Clandestine Cake Club (which we’ll henceforth refer to as CCC), held in Leeds in December 2010, according to founder Lynn Hill.
“It was purely a need in getting more people together over tea and cake, without having to do all the baking myself. The people can do the baking and they can invite a guest. It was that simple,” she says.
Since then, inspired by this simple philosophy, 52 CCCs the length and breadth of the UK have formed and registered on the official website.
Lynn has past form in the secret baking stakes though. Inspired by Kerstin Rodgers’ Underground Restaurant, she founded the Secret Tea Room at her home in Leeds in 2009, serving tea and cakes to up to 10 people who “arrive as strangers but leave as friends”.
The CCC is now taking this simple philosophy national.
The ‘rules’ of CCC
Here are some of the guiding principles from the CCC website:
"Members will bake their own cake at home and bring it along to a planned Secret Location. Social interaction with strangers will still be there where the creative talents of members will be on display and shared, eaten and enjoyed with others."
"There will be Adventure, allowing you to be free and creative in what cake you bake. There will be fun in seeing what others have created from Themes such as Cake Porn, Cake Cornucopia, Crimson Crime Cakes, and many more. Each Secret venue will be different, both in size and location. So a commitment to baking a cake and bringing it along, will be paramount."
"No cupcakes, muffins, brownies, pies or tart. It’s all about cake."
A look at some forthcoming meetings reveals a range of tasty themes, from the Dalston branch’s requirement that each cake must contain "one of your five a day" to a meeting in Sittingborne themed around flowers.
Need some inspiration?
If you fancy joining a Clandestine Cake Club meeting, we've got plenty of delicious recipes for you to choose from. And if your meeting doesn't have a particular theme, you could make a statement about your personality by arriving with one of these:
Pam Corbin's chocolate cake
What it says about you: I'm decadent
A dreamy chocolate experience that you can make with either fudgy icing or go all Black Forest with a cherry-chocolate combo.
Stella McCartney's carrot cake
What it says about you: I'm a traditionalist with a twist
A classic cake, perfect for a veg-themed Cake Club; this version also includes honey or maple syrup.
Lorraine Pascale's mojito genoise
What it says about you: I'm complex
The queen of modern-day baking's twist on a classic Italian cake.
Gizzi Erskine's blackberry bakewell
What it says about you: I'm a healthy eater, even when it comes to cakes
This cake uses no butter of fat - a whole boiled orange provides the necessary moisture.
Claudia Roden's orange and almond cake
What it says about you: I'm exotic
A Middle Eastern classic. Thankfully, food processors mean you don't have to rub the cooked oranges through a sieve.
Even more cake recipes
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