Clandestine meetings for lovers of cake

Diane Thompson with a cake.
Diane Thompson with a cake.

A SECRET society is meeting in Morpeth with a mission to make mouths water with delicious home baking.

The Clandestine Cake Club was first set up in Leeds in 2010 to bring people together to share their love of baking and eat and talk about cake.

Now more than 140 branches are running across the UK and as far afield as Barcelona, Perth and Sydney – and the latest addition covers the Bedlington and Morpeth area.

Civil servant Diane Thompson set up the Northumberland group this spring to meet new people after moving to the area three years ago.

“The Clandestine Cake Club has been a bit of a phenomenon amongst the baking community and people are really getting to know about it,” she said.

“I heard about it from the lady who won the Great British Bake-off, Jo Wheatley, because I was following her on Facebook and she had a link to it.

“I had a look at the website and there was a group in Newcastle, but there was a waiting list.

“I thought I was never going to find a group, but I realised there was none in Northumberland so why not start one of my own?

“I live in Bedlington so that was the natural choice, but because of all the high street outlets and restaurants in Morpeth I thought that would be a good place for venues so the club covers the whole area.”

The idea of the club is to provide opportunities for like-minded people to socialise while sharing and discussing cake, and there is no charge to join or attend a meeting.

But the venue for each meeting is a closely guarded secret and is only revealed to people after they have registered as a member.

They will then be told the month’s theme, with sessions so far reflecting the Jubilee celebrations and ‘fun with fruit’, and members will be asked what kind of cake they intend to bake to avoid duplications.

Each person then takes their cake along for the other members to taste, and they can even take a guest to share in the treat.

The only rules are that there must be no judging and the bake has to be a true cake to share, with cupcakes, muffins, brownies, pies and tarts strictly off limits.

Miss Thompson said: “There is no judging allowed, it is purely for meeting people and the love of cake. It is not a baking class, it is eating cake and talking about it and sharing recipes. It is about the sharing experience of cutting into a big, proper cake.

“I have approached lots of venues in Morpeth and Bedlington about holding meetings, but quite a few are suspicious about what we’re doing if we are not getting paid.

“People don’t understand if they don’t bake. It is quite an isolated hobby and a lot of attention goes into it, but it is not quite the same as when you meet somebody who likes baking and you can talk about the last cake you made.

“It’s great to see the reaction to your baking and get new ideas. You don’t need to be a fantastic baker and you can learn from each other.”

Ten people have so far signed up to the club, but more are welcome.

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