The things I enjoy most about being a cake club organiser – other than, of course, the opportunity to gorge myself on cake every month and practise my baking skills – are meeting new people and feeling part of my community.
This is especially the case since Wakefield is my adopted home, not my native one. I moved here for work and at first wasn’t sure how long I’d stay. However, six years on, the city has undergone a transformation and so has my attitude towards it. It’s a place that’s finally starting to feel like home, and that’s due in no small part to its thriving cultural scene (there aren’t many cities that can boast an internationally acclaimed art gallery – The Hepworth Wakefield – and Europe’s largest sculpture park on their doorstep!), and Clandestine Cake Club.
So our event on 30 January with its theme, A Work of Art, was particularly appropriate, bringing together as it did my two favourite things about the Merrie City. We held this gathering to coincide with the bi-monthly Art Walk –Wakefield’s alternative night out, which sees the city’s cultural venues and eateries open their doors for some after-hours creative delights.
Despite a few protestations that this theme was too hard (having been up ‘til midnight the day of the event grappling with my own cake-tastrophe, I was inclined to agree!) our bakers rose to the challenge with a series of edible masterpieces that locally-born Barbara Hepworth would have been proud of (and would probably have enjoyed eating too!).
Hepworth’s legacy was certainly in evidence, with three cakes inspired by her works. We had two delectable renditions of her Pierced Hemisphere sculptures (or should that be Pierced Cakeysphere?!): Ann’s lemon and blueberry version, and Nichola’s vanilla sponge. Lucy meanwhile chose to interpret Single Form, Hepworth’s commission for the UN building in New York, in rhubarb and custard cake, bringing together Wakefield’s two most famous exports (sculpture and rhubarb) in one!
Most of the works tended towards the abstract, including Kirsty’s raspberry ripple cake with abstract icing, Alice’s stupendous hidden-design chess cake from the Great British Bake-off book, and my own homage to Damien Hirst. After a late-night genoise drama, I was feeling grateful for Hirst’s spot paintings phase – and Smarties! – but disappointed that my ‘pickled sheep’ plan had failed in the execution.
Once again, Gillian showed off her artistic flair with an impressive hand-painted version of The Scream on a sugarpaste-covered sponge. And Tamzin brought a relic from her (and my!) hometown of Middlesbrough, with a Swiss roll tribute to The Bottle of Notes, a famous local piece of public art.
Finally Kay produced a whopping three different kinds of ginger cake, which she dedicated to our wonderful host venue – Create at Wakefield One. The name was not the only thing that was perfect for this particular cakey soiree – manager Shaun and his team made us feel right at home and the art was as colourful as the venue, with papier-mâché sheep and crocheted bicycles by local artists on display.
Create is the latest addition to Wakefield’s café scene, located in the brand spanking new library and museum, which are also Hep-worth a visit (sorry – any opportunity for a pun!). Run by the Create Foundation, it operates as a social enterprise, re-investing its profits in innovative training and employment programmes for vulnerable people. Great food, contemporary surroundings, and a fantastic social mission… What are you waiting for?! Pay them – and their sister restaurant in Leeds city centre – a visit today!
Huge thanks to Create, and of course to our wonderful bakers who make being a cake club organiser so much fun – and who proved this month that the artistic spirit of Hepworth and Henry Moore are still going strong in Wakefield!
The Gallery (cue the music!)