Leeds’s own Clandestine Cake Club enjoys slice of success

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While millions of us focus on the TV trials and tribulations of a handful of bakers, talented cake creators across the city are secretly rustling up equally impressive treats.

However, the first rule about Clandestine Cake Club (CCC) is that you do not talk about Clandestine Cake Club – or at least, you do not reveal its location before a meeting.

PIC: Tony Johnson

PIC: Tony Johnson

The hugely-popular group was founded by Leeds retiree Lynn Hill in 2011 and now has 200 branches across the globe where enthusiastic bakers meet to share their sweet-toothed dreams.

Members book on to events through the website, whip up desserts according to that session’s brief then gather at a secret location, revealed near the time, to sample each other’s creations.

With a new, bustling North Leeds branch and popular Pudsey and West Leeds group - which boasts 150 members ranging in age from 18 to late 60s - it is clear this city has no shortage of budding bakers eager to have their cake and eat it. But their meetings are a world away from the stresses of the Great British Bake Off (GBBO) tent, where competitors quake in their boots under the piercing gaze of judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry and which recently saw frazzled contestant Iain Watters dump his Baked Alaska in the bin.

Sharon Clarkson, who runs Pudsey and West Leeds CCC, said: “The great thing about Clandestine Cake Club is that there isn’t a competition. Quite often the best tasting cakes are simple loaf cakes. It’s not all about being the fanciest on the outside. We have many brand new bakers come along and yes, some of our members’ cakes are amazing but we don’t want anyone to be put off.

“The best thing about CCC is that we all love to bake and eat cake.”

Sunday’s Sweet Shop Heaven-themed event was the 30th Sharon has organised and saw a table at The Lounge, Farsley, buckling under the weight of calorie-laden goodies covered in everything from flying saucers to dolly mixtures, containing Snickers bars, gingerbread and 16 cakes.

The 43-year-old mum, who “loves” the GBBO because of the way it inspires people to try baking, said: “My husband is a great cook but he’d never baked since school.”

Are you a star baker? Email photographs of your cake creations to debbie.leigh@ypn.co.uk for the chance to see them in a slideshow on the YEP website.

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