Secret venues, inspired themes, fabulous cakes… The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook combines all these ingredients.
When Lynn Hill hosted her first Clandestine Cake Club back in 2010, she had no idea that after only three years her post-retirement community-spirited idea would have turned into a worldwide phenomenon with a beautiful cookbook to boot.
It all started at a secret location in Leeds with 10 keen bakers and 7 delicious cakes. Lynn wanted to create a place where people could meet and chat over tea and cake without having to do all the baking herself. By 2013, over 180 clubs had been established throughout the UK with more and more being created every week. Cake clubs sprang up as far afield as Cape Town (South Africa), Christchurch (New Zealand) and Hamilton (Bermuda). Gathering together recipes from Lynn’s original Clandestine Cake Club in Leeds plus offerings from around the UK and beyond, as well as Lynn’s own best-loved cake crowd pleasers, the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook is a bible for cake lovers and home-bakers alike.
The book was inspired by the passion which Lynn had seen Clandestine Cake Club members put into their baking and the heart-warming community spirit they had shared. Cake bakers hold meetings at venues ranging from the expected -village halls, vintage shops and restaurants- to the more unexpected such as castles, picturesque disused train stations and even a cabin in the woods. Events are also given a theme such as ‘Baking with Beverages’ or ‘A Novel Idea’ where cakes were inspired by books or fairy tales. Each baker is tasked with producing a creative, imaginative and edible work of art which leads them, not into competition with other members, but on a personal quest for perfection.
The clubs provide opportunities for local people to join together, socialise and share their baking tips and expertise. It’s a place for creating friendships as well as cakes and strengthening community bonds as well as baking skills. Like any club, there are rules. No cupcakes, no muffins, no brownies, pies or tarts. The most important rule however: ‘this is not a competition’.
Easy to follow recipes are separated into 8 cake type chapters: Classic Cakes, Victorian Cakes, Fruity Cakes, Global Cakes, Zesty Cakes, Chocolatey Cakes, Celebration Cakes and Creative Cakes.
Old favourites are revisited with recipes for Curious Victoria Sponge, Pineapple Upside Down Cake and Strawberry Swiss Roll, whilst inventive new creations like Earl Grey Tea Cake, Chocolate and Marmite Caramel Cake and a Blue Velvet Cake are shared. The book contains cakes for almost every occasion- a Hogmanay Dundee Cake which needs to be fed with whisky for several weeks before eating, an exquisite Italian Cream Wedding Cake with handmade chocolate leaves, a Father’s Day Spiced Ale Cake which can be toasted and served with honey for breakfast and a Rainbow Cake, perfect for children’s birthdays. The book even features a section on “cake wrecks” which home-bakers can refer to in a time of baking crisis.
The secret of Clandestine Cake Club is out and everyone is invited to join in.
ABOUT LYNN HILL
In 2010 Lynn Hill was struck by the popularity of Super Clubs and wanted to put her own spin on the idea. She began the Secret Team Room in her living room which quickly became a big success. Wanting to take it further, Lynn established Clandestine Cake Club and held her first meeting in December 2010.
Lynn works on Clandestine Cake Club full time and lives in Leeds.
Not only is Lynn available for interview and comment but several other cake club members are too, many of whom have heart-warming stories of how Clandestine Cake Club has changed their life.
The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook
Published by Quercus (2013)
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