A few months ago Clandestine Cake Club organisers were asked if they were interested in getting in contact with their local Hobbycraft store to hold a special event marking the publication of The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook. Although the book has been out since February, it has only recently been on sale in Hobbycraft stores up and down the country.
I am a regular customer at my local Hobbycraft which has been open since November 2012 on Monks Cross retail park just off the York Ring Road and near the A64 junction. It “fuels” my addiction for the hobbies in my life- cross stitch, knitting, sewing as well as being a great place to stock up on baking and cake decorating essentials!
So a couple of months back I contacted the Manager of the York Hobbycraft and asked if York CCC could come along and hold a book launch event in the store. Several phone calls later we arranged a two hour event on a Saturday afternoon. Members of York CCC would choose a cake from the book, bring it along to Hobbycraft and we would let customers in the store sample the cakes, see copies of the book, buy the book or learn more about the club and sign up as a new member!
The front cover of The Clandestine Cake Club cookbook. This is now very well thumbed, the pages are spattered and one is even stuck together where I spilt milk on it!
It got to a couple of days before and people began dropping out so there were only four of us in the end with two bakers! I didn’t want the table to look unimpressive and I wanted a variety of cakes to attract the public so I went over the top in the kitchen the day before. I didn’t mind though as I had lots of ingredients which needed using up, I wanted to try more recipes out of the book and it was a miserable depressing day outside. What better than to be cocooned in a warm and cosy kitchen baking instead?
So here’s what I baked on Friday afternoon:
A Strawberry Yoghurt Butterfly bundt cake made using Rachel McGrath’s recipe http://www.dollybakes.co.uk for more fabulous bundt recipes and ideas!
This is Jini Mulukutla’s Neapolitan cake. I made this in my Alan Silverwood Battenburg tin without the separators in.
This is Amanda Woodward’s Raspberry Cakewell. Its like a Bakewell tart but in cake form!
Lynn Hill’s Stem Ginger Cake. I love stem ginger and I found this smelled heavenly as it was baking in my kitchen.
The Tarta de Almendras (Spanish Almond Cake) about to go into the oven.
Dried fruit soaking in cold Yorkshire tea. I used raisins, sultanas and dried apricots in this cake.
Apart from not reading the recipe right and putting the raspberry cakewell mixture into the tin wrongly everything seemed to be ok. I put the sponge mixture in first in both tins then added the frangipane layer on top of both tins. What I should have done was put the sponge in one tin and the frangipane in the other tin. I also ran out of raspberry jam and had to use a tablespoon of strawberry to make up the shortfall. I bet someone noticed!
At the Hobbycraft event we were given two large tables upstairs and a small one downstairs in the entrance to the store.
Copies of the book laid out on the table for customers to browse through.
All our cakes laid out to try.
The Spanish Almond Cake. This is ideal for those following a gluten and dairy free diet.
The Raspberry Cakewell. One lady said it reminded her of the cakes her mother used to make when she was a little girl.
The Chocolate Neapolitan Cake was a huge hit, especially with the children and the men.
The Overnight Tea Loaf was also popular. I told customers how easy it was to make and how versatile the recipe was to use whatever dried fruit you have to hand. Sadly, I forgot to bring some butter and Wensleydale cheese to go with it though!
The Strawberry Yoghurt Butterfly bundt went down very well with the children, especially the little girls.
The Stem Ginger Cake cut into little pieces. I scoffed a small piece of this and really enjoyed it.
Michele brought along the Mocha Marble Cake which was absolutely gorgeous. After I’d tried my ginger cake I had a piece of Michele’s cake. If you love chocolate and coffee, you will adore this cake. It was very popular, especially with the staff at Hobbycraft who kept coming past for some!
Our little taster table downstairs in the entrance.
My son Rob got to keep the antenna off the butterfly cake as he had been a massive help to me at the event. He came to Monks Cross with me as I needed to buy him some art stuff and I offered him some pocket money to help me carry the cakes in to the shop and to go and get me a drink from Starbucks! He helped serve the cake too!
Sadly we didn’t sell any copies of the book. This I think was down to the high retail price that Hobbycraft had set it at (£16). Each customer I spoke to who wanted the book said they loved it but were going straight on the Internet to buy it when they got home! Even though it was £4 lower than the RRP of £20 it is still far much more money than other book retailers would sell it for. I have seen the book for sale for as low as £5.99 on the Book People website. I don’t blame people for going elsewhere in this current economic climate. I would not pay £16 myself as I have a lot of other expenses in life, just like most people!
If you love baking, eating and talking about cake (and lots of other things too) then why not see what The Clandestine Cake Club is all about. We meet in secret locations around the UK and overseas and I have made lots of new friends over baking and cake.
To find out more visit : www.clandestinecakeclub.co.uk. and see if there is a club near you!
Love Sam xx