Now anyone of you who know me will know that I love attending and organising Clandestine Cake Club events. Earlier this year I was asked to do an interview via email to promote Clandestine Cake Club in the East Sussex area and we featured in the Etc Magazine back in January 2017. If anyone wishes to read the full version go to pages 38 and 39 on the online Etc Magazine. Otherwise here in an excerpt from my interview and my story of how Clandestine Cake Club came into my life back in 2012.
How did you come across the idea of the Clandestine Cake Club?
I was first introduced to Clandestine Cake Club when I appeared on Eric Lanlard’s Baking Mad programme, on Channel 4. I was involved in a mini bake off with two other lovely ladies, one of whom was Gwyneth, the organiser of one of the Manchester Clandestine Cake Clubs. As soon as i got home I looked it up and there was a Brighton and Hove Club starting up – the rest is history!
What made you want to run a group?
After being a member for about a year and a half in the organiser had to step down and I took over the Brighton club. More recently I have joined up with Sarah and combined the clubs for Eastbourne, Brighton and Lewes for one super Cake Club!! I’m an organiser so I do enjoy trying to come up with a theme and suitable venue, although have to admit finding venues is often really difficult due to the fact that we cater ourselves!
What has been your favourite theme so far and why?
My favourite theme so far was one of my very first clubs which was an Alice in Wonderland Theme. I love sugar craft and it gave me a chance to be a bit more wild on the design. I had great fun designing a Mad Hatters cake and there were some great cakes that day held outside in a park that had links to Lewis Carroll himself. Another more recent theme I loved was our Halloween one for Eastbourne as I did a muertos de dias cake with funky gel piping.
How would you describe the social element?
I think the social element of cake club is great. I’ve met tons of new people, all with a shared interest. Members tend to change often but there is a small core group in our club that come to most events which has been great. We have even socialised outside of regular meetings as I attended the cake and bake show with one and four of us recently filmed an episode of the Great British Bake Off An Extra Slice (sadly our bakes didn’t get featured on screen). I have even joined a book club on the recommendation of one of our group which has been great too. Its just a really relaxed and informal event, where we share recipes, catch up on all cake related business and just generally have a great time! Oh and eat a lot of cake!
Has anything surprised you about cake club?
Cake Club surprises me every time as some of the cakes people make are truly stunning. At our last meeting Ana made the most beautiful chocolate and cherry cake that was laden with ornate buttercream flowers – it felt such a shame to cut in but it tasted amazing too!!! I have had a few unfortunate surprises with venues too, who shall remain unnamed, as when they realised that we were bringing cake along cancelled my booking with just three hours notice. Fortunately we have living rooms and gardens to fall back on and on this occasion went back to a previous venue the Northern Lights pub who saved the day!!
Has your baking changed as a result?
I think my baking has changed for the positive. I’m much more likely to try new recipes for meetings and there is no pressure for them to always succeed! I have also started making more of my own recipes to try out on everyone which I did for the last meeting and my lemon, blueberry and almond sandwich cake appeared to be a success!! I think that’s something most of the club enjoy is the opportunity to test and push themselves as bakers.
What do you enjoy the most about cake club?
The most enjoyable element??? Thats difficult as it would be hard to pick between the people who come along who are fab company and those amazing cakes!! How many people get to spend an evening trialling lots of scrumptious cakes!!!
How often do you meet and what kind of venues do you go for?
We have been meeting quite irregularly over the last 12 months or so with our clubs being combined. Also I got married this year which took up a lot of my time but now we are back to normal myself and my fab co-organiser Sarah are looking at more regular meetings. Also with the combined club we hope to alternate the venue between Eastbourne, Lewes and Brighton. We will go to any venue that wants us!! It can be difficult, especially if venues serve their own food but we have held events at pubs, cafes, outdoors, and even my back garden!!!
Hopefully I’ve expressed how much fun Clandestine Cake Club can be so why not see if there is a club near to you on the website www.clandestinecakeclub.co.uk. If there isn’t one near to you then why not you join me as an organiser! Or perhaps you are reading this as a local venue that would like to host one of our events – get in touch as we are always looking to help and promote local business.