Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Clandestine Cake Club - Great British Bake Off Final

My name is Miss Sue Flay and I am a bake-a-holic!

I am usually found hosting events and activities based around afternoon tea in Cambridge and soon to be London and anywhere in between. I have an infatuation with afternoon tea and all things cakey, I even have a tattoo of a cake on my foot, of which I am not proud of from time to time, due to my new detest for the cake in question haha.

However I also, for fun and frolics, host the Cambridge Clandestine Cake Club, which is part of a national franchise of free cake clubs, of which Cambridge was one of the pioneering clubs back in early 2011. It’s so exciting to see it growing every week, with over 100 cake clubs now running across the country, there is one in every town and city pretty much (And if you don’t have one in your neck of the woods, contact the lovely Lynn at the CCC to discuss running your own) and now we are seeing clubs overseas too in countries such as Canada, France, New Zealand and even the Cayman Islands - Cake rocks!

On Tuesday evening, not only was the Great British Bake off being watched on many screens across the county, but one in particular was being watched at a secret venue full of nearly 30 cake bakers and enthusiasts, all meeting at The First and Last” Pub on Eden Street, Cambridge, which was announced to booked guests a few days prior to the day to keep it exciting. I can’t thank the guys at the pub enough for switching the football off (Which got rained off anyway haha) in place of the politest viewing they have ever seen in their fabulous city pub!

A couple of the lovely guests had been to my house the night before for a mini cake club, due to a cancellation from the BBC One Show, no thanks to Paul Hollywood haha... so we got a second chance in a row to meet and chat over cake in a week which was fab! 

But that's another story that you can read about HERE ; )

22 cakes were proudly placed on the tables, wine or tea and coffee was enjoyed with a few slices and we all sat in near silence watching the Great British Bake Off as part of the theme for this evening. All the cakes baked were inspired by the BBC one baking competition and we had everything from Mary Berry’s Coffee & Walnut Battenburg to a Hummingbird Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream, there was a Cheesecake and even an Apple Pie Cake, it was a cakey paradise.

I also got to make my first ever Bundt Cake, which, if I am allowed to say so, was delicious and very much a fun recipe to try out. I completed it with bunting and a banner for my fave Bake Off contestant ; )  
You can check out a National Bundt Day competition which I entered it into.

I have been watching the GBBO avidly for the last few months, noticing a trend of people Tweeting and Facebooking their comments throughout each weeks’ show, so I thought it would be a fantastic idea to host a cake club night whilst we all watched it together in one room, however tough it was to find a venue that would let us bring cake in, give us a TV for the evening and serve us drinks... the pub was a natural decision, thanks to the lovely Deepa at Lazy Giraffe who suggested that we do this on the night of the final, it was a fab idea that worked fantastically : )
I thought it would get the conversation going throughout, but as it was the final, the guests went very quiet, very quickly, with the odd shriek, chuckle or gasp as James dropped his cake batter or Paul Hollywood used yet another cake innuendo. Mary Berry raised the most laughs with her comments and quips which had no doubt been edited for our viewing pleasure – soggy bottoms anyone?...

You could hear a pin drop, it was hilarious, yet tense all at the same time. The winner was cheered, with a few mixed emotions, we all agreed that John deserved it the most. Although, I wanted Brendan to win deep down, I did manage to hold back the tears ; ) 

We also had a quick visit from a photographer at the Cambridge Evening News, which should be in this Thursday's paper, so watch out for our geekery! 

The Clandestine Cake Club is free to members, they just sign up to the national website, locate their local club and they will be the first to know when a new Clandestine Cake meet will be heading their way.
All you have to do is bake a cake, usually to a theme set by the host, bring along an eating guest if you wish, as there is so much cake to go around, we like people to come and eat too!

We usually host these events in our homes or in local coffee shops, pubs, village halls, bars, restaurants, etc with prior agreement. We bring the cake and then buy beverages to help them make money, fill a space that might be empty at a particular time or day of the week and help them to gain new customers and interest so it benefits the businesses greatly too.
Word spreads quickly with the help of the CCC website, blog posts written up afterwards and the hundred of photos that end up going out on social media sites, it gets tongues wagging to say the very least, it’s a huge amount of fun!

I am ALWAYS on the lookout for new venues that might be able to accommodate us, so do get in touch if you can offer a space for a CCC meet.
We arrange meets from anywhere between 5 members to 50 members, it really depends on the venue and the location, as I like to take it into Cambridge City Centre as well as into the countryside to appeal to everybody in the area one way or another. Anything goes.. we have hosted events in local coffee shops, a cookery school, a Spanish restaurant and even in my own home.

What’s most important about the Clandestine Cake Club is that it brings people to together over one passion that we all have in common. It’s a common ground to get conversation started and with the beauty of Twitter and Facebook, it helps people to connect in person where they may have been Tweeting for months or years, but never met. I can’t tell you how many times I make introductions through the club to people who have never met but have been Tweeting one another for ages, it’s a fantastic way to meet new people and try new recipes and eat cakes that you may never have thought have eating!

The leftovers, oh boy are there leftovers, are divided up at the end and guests can take slices away with them to enjoy with a cuppa and their friends and family later on should they wish to do so. Needless to say, it never goes to waste!

We get men too, it’s not just ladies, men up and down the country are baking and enjoying our Clandestine meets, including in Cambridge.
Last night we had a gent who made the most amazing cheesecake I’ve ever tasted! Bring on more men I say, you can even find a “Men Who Bakes” Section on the Clandestine Cake Club Website.

New members are always welcome, either alone or with an eating guest, just sign up and await news of the next event, which should be in November fingers crossed. Just remember.. no cupcakes, brownies, traybakes or the like -  it’s all about the cake : )

You can follow me on Twitter for local updates and photos, etc @thesecludedtea or the Cake Club at @clandestinecake

And sign up here now if you are keen to join us:   

See you soon!

Miss Sue Flay 


  1. Thanks for a super evening. It was so fantastic to watch it with fellow cake enthusiasts and I'm chuffed with the result.

    You are right about making connections too. Lovely to meet twitter folk and new faces.

    Yay for cake!

  2. Thanks so much for coming, glad you had a good time missy. See you soon xxx