Guest post from Kathryn Bruderer

Baking from the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook

As all keen bakers will know, the Clandestine Cake Club (CCC) cookbook is a selection of gorgeous cake recipes dreamt up by the members of the wide network of clubs which exist worldwide. The book was developed by Lynn Hill who started the clubs where according to the website members ‘gather in secret locations and bake, eat and talk about cake’. I love the sound of this – it makes me think of a kind of cake-based speakeasy!

Flicking through the book it’s hard to decide what to bake first, but the Raspberry Cakewell by Amanda Woodward of the Isle of Man CCC caught my eye. The recipe introduction says that ‘Knowing that pastry-based tarts are against CCC rules, Amanda found a way to reinvent this traditional pud by baking a gorgeous almond frangipane on top of a plain sponge base’. This was music to my ears as pastry and I are not exactly on good terms. My Nanna made the lightest, most sublime pastry but this gene was clearly not passed on, as mine regularly resembles rock-hard play-dough. My husband also loves Bakewell tart, and so this seemed like the perfect cake to begin.

There was a minor hiccup in my baking when I discovered I was one egg short halfway through the recipe, and I had to dash to the shops in the typical Manchester (i.e. pouring) rain. Despite this, the cake came together really well.

The recipe calls for a sponge base to be made alongside a frangipane made from ground almonds, eggs, sugar and butter. I’ve never made a frangipane before and was delighted with how easy it was, and how good it tasted topped with flaked almonds. Once cool, the sponge base and frangipane topping are sandwiched with good quality raspberry jam and then glazed with a simple icing.

The final result was really good, although I may have left the sponge in the oven a touch too long as it was a tiny bit dry, but the combination of the frangipane and jam with the sponge took care of that. If making the cake again, I would probably increase the amount of frangipane to make a more even split between that and the cake too, to give more of that almondy goodness!

The book itself is well laid-out, easy to follow, with lovely photos and there are many delicious recipes to choose from. Next on my list are the Chocolate Beetroot Cake, the Vegan Lemon Cake and the Stem Ginger Cake. This book is definitely one every baker should have on their shelves.

For more on CCC see

All photos copyright Adam Bruderer photography



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