The Clandestine Cake club has become a global phenomenon with amateur bakers bringing their cakes along to ‘clandestine’ locations.
Those wanting a slice of the action can sign up to the free club to meet, eat and swap recipes- and Doncaster is no exception.
But there are rules - no cupcakes, no scones, or muffins are allowed, only proper cakes which can be cut into 8 to 12 slices.
The very aptly-named Laura Local runs Doncaster’s Clandestine Cake Club, which meets roughly once a month. Laura advertises the date and time of the next meeting on the Clandestine Cake Club’s website where people can also book their place. She then notifies the bakers, where the meeting will take place, only the day before.
It’s all very cloak and dagger but when you have a free cake club you have to keep things a little under wraps because you don’t want any “cake-crashers”.
“People bring a cake,” explains Laura, 37, a mum-of-two, “but it’s not a competition. For some, it could be the first cake they’ve ever baked, for others it might be something they love to do. It doesn’t matter. Members all get try a little bit of each cake.”
Although she admits: “Sometimes you can get a bit stuffed when you’re trying up to a dozen slices. But those who’ve been coming for a while know what it’s like so we tend to take a slither, divide it or even take it away for later. Generally, there are a lot of happy husbands waiting at home!”
The Doncaster branch, which naturally has a baker’s dozen regular members, meets up in cafes and pubs and attracts all ages from women in their 20s to those in their 60s. The majority of members are women but the club is open to both men and women.
Laura, who opened the Doncaster branch last June, said: “It allows some ‘me’ time. I get most of my recipes from the internet but I adapt them to suit the theme. That’s the difference with this cake club; every meeting’s got a theme.”
Themes have so far included “Bring back summer” and “Back to school”.
Sheree Uter,34, an administrator and mum of two, is still successfully sticking to her post-Christmas diet but says there’s nothing better than having a catch up over a cuppa and a slice of cake.
“I’ve just had all my sins in that single slice,” she laughed.
Despite running Cupcakes Locally, her own baking business, Laura stresses that no one is there to judge.“I decorate cakes all day long so when I come to the club, it’s nice to just be able to bake a cake for its flavour.”
However, even though it’s just for fun some members do tend to go to a lot of effort. One recently baked a work of art decorated with real roses on top.
Laura added: “Even if they don’t bake as a rule, most people can’t resist bringing a cake along their first meeting. To be honest, the cake is just the main ingredient which brings us all
Recipes from the various clubs are included in The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook by Lynn Hill, out today, priced £20.
Doncaster’s Clandestine Cake Club is throwing its doors open to non-members for the first time on Sunday, March 10, at between 10am and 1pm, at Cantley Pavilion to raise money for Comic Relief with special red nose cakes. For once, cupcakes will be allowed and, as it’s for charity, the club will charge per slice or cake. Any cake donations, with all proceeds going towards Comic Relief, are welcome.
To get a slice of the action visit: Clandestine Cake Club