Archive | February, 2013

The secret is out!

16 Feb
Lynn Hill's new book

Lynn Hill’s new book

SHE says she’s ‘just a lady from Leeds’ but, like it or not, Lynn Hill is truly a legend (not that she’ll thank me for saying it!).

After looking for something to do in her retirement, Lynn set up the Secret Tea Room at her home in Leeds and from that grew the Clandestine Cake Club in 2010.

Fast forward a few years and there are now around 160 groups throughout the UK and overseas, including Loughborough, where I have the pleasure of making my living.

In case you’ve been hiding under a dustbin for the last two and a bit years, the ethos behind Clandestine Cake Club is ‘bake, eat and talk about cake’, offering the opportunity for cake geeks like me to get together over their love of baking, without feeling judged.

Only cakes are allowed – no cupcakes or muffins here – and each event is kept secret until a few days before it is due to take place, with only the theme given as a clue.

Over the last year I’ve enjoyed taking part in the meetings, which included the NAAFI Cafe at Great Central Railway’s Quorn and Woodhouse station and Loughborough Town Hall’s gallery space.

And today I had the honour of joining both Lynn and Janet Currie, the Loughborough co-organiser, at the local launch of the brand new Clandestine Cake Club recipe book at Waterstones along with some of the other cake club members.

Featuring 120 recipes, many from Lynn herself and one by Janet, which I tasted today and confirm it’s gorgeous, the book is a definite must-buy and, despite only being released on February 14, has already proved so popular that it has had to be re-printed.

For the occasion I made an attempt at Gary Morton’s Rhubarb and Custard cake from p42 of the book, a slight gamble as it doesn’t actually have a photo of what it should look like.

After a semi-successful practice attempt last weekend, I learnt some valuable lessons and made some slight alterations, including doubling the amount of rhubarb and adding extra custard in the frosting. I don’t think it looks like quite as good as Gary intended but it did taste nice and that’s all that matters in my book 🙂

rhubard and custard cake

I’m not giving you the recipe though because you need to buy this book. Priced at £20, get on down to your local Waterstones (or visit the Book People website because apparently it’s on offer at £6.99!)

Here’s a little snap of some of the gorgeous cakes we sampled today, including Janet’s Choo Choo Chai cake and her sister (and co-organiser of Loughborough CCC) Anne’s delicious cherry and cardamom cake.

cake club

If you would like to become a CCC member, visit