THERE are hundreds and thousands of reasons why a top secret society of keen bakers has risen in popularity over the years.
So when the opportunity arose to enjoy a slice of the Clandestine Cake Club (CCC) action in Warrington I was more than willing to whisk up a baked treat and wait to find out the secret venue.
There are a handful of simple rules that must be followed should you wish to be welcomed with open arms and enjoy the inevitable cake coma which comes hand in hand with tucking into a conveyor belt of baked goods.
The first rule of cake club is that you don’t talk about cake club or - more to the point - its location.
After signing up for free online via the CCC website, members will be informed of the secret location just days before the meeting.
Why the secrecy? When retired 62-year-old Lynn Hill set up the club in 2011 in Leeds to fulfil cake lovers’ sweet-toothed dreams she hoped the concept of a secret location would add to the excitement and intrigue.
There are now almost 200 covert clubs of bakers across the globe – from Birmingham to Barcelona and Melbourne to Manchester.
Warrington currently has more than 140 members signed up and ready to showcase and share their baked delights. Now I’m one of them.
The second – and final rule of cake club – no cupcakes, muffins and brownies.
The clue really lies in the name of the club.
Lynn instilled this rule as she believes 'slicing and sharing is most definitely caring'.
Each evening has a theme to help steer the creative juices in the right direction when trying to decide what to bake.
So when around 30 cake lovers – both men and women – descended on the Gallery Café at Bank Quay House on Sankey Street in Warrington town centre at 7pm on Tuesday, May 24, members had one request to follow – bake a cake fit for the Queen.
From Victoria sponges in all shapes and sizes to some of the Queen’s favourite sweet treats including a ginger cake with lemon frosting, chocolate biscuit cake and Lamington sponge there was almost too many to choose from. Almost.
One of the members in attendance was teacher Barbara Heaven from Stockton Heath who joined CCC around three years ago and keeps coming back for more.
“Cake and conversation. What more could you want?” said the mum-of-four.
“I enjoy baking but I love eating cake just as much.
“I know there are lots of other people who feel the same which is why I think it is so popular.”
For Hilda Ashby from Padgate, this was her first time at the CCC and it didn’t disappoint.
“I read about it in magazine and I just thought why not? I have really enjoyed the evening,” she said.
The icing on the cake is that members can divide and share the baked leftovers to take home.
The seasoned members among the group were prepared with Tupperware to pack up their favourite treats and head on their merry, calorie-loaded way.
While the Warrington CCC has been up and running for a number of years, it has now been taken over by mum-of-two Jen Perry from Woolston, who left Warrington Borough Council around six weeks ago to launch Room Forty which offers a 1930s-style afternoon tea experience.
"It was great to see so many people come. It's a really friendly and welcoming group," said the 40-year-old.
"There is no competition and both advanced and novices can come along and share their recipes and eat plenty of cake."
To sign up to CCC visit clandestinecakeclub.co.uk.