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MEN WHO BAKE
Sitting in my living room in Plymouth watching Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa, baking a lemon yogurt cake inspired me to try my hand at baking cakes. I thought, “I can do that”. I’d baked breads before and cakes from packets but never a cake from scratch. So I followed the recipe and directions to the letter and the verdict from my family was that it was delicious. What’s more, I found I really enjoyed baking it. This was about a year ago and from then I’ve never looked back.
Truly a pationate amateur, and much to the delight of my family and colleagues, I spend most of my weekends in the kitchen trying out and playing with the different recipes, methods and techniques I’ve researched during the week. Once I’d found the knack of baking great tasting cakes (not just my opinion) I turned toward decoration to try to make them not only taste good but look good also, very much a work in progress. Although a great deal of my inspiration comes from professionals like Anna Olson, Mich Turner and Peggy Porschen, I find an incredible number of amateur bakers have some amazing and original ideas.
The Clandestine Cake Club is testament to that. One of my best cakes and my biggest cake disaster both came in the form of Red Velvet Cake, my first attempt was so dense it could have almost been water proof but my second attempt won our works bake off competition in which I was the only male baker. So far I don’t have a blog, maybe I’ll start one, and I’ve never watched The Great British Bake Off.
I moved into my own home in Summer 1986, and at that time I’d never baked anything in my life apart from Christmas Puddings. Now that’s a story in itself: in 1985, the year of Live Aid, our school VIth Formers decided that we’d all make something to sell at Christmas, to raise money to send to Bob Geldof for the Food Aid programme. Most people made things like wooden pencil boxes or knitted jumpers (remember those huge ’80′s Cardigans like Wham! used to wear?), but I made 2 christmas puddings in the slow cooker. One of the puddings sold to a teacher and one to another VIth-former. And that was that………. at least you’d expect it to have been, but the following Christmas the said teacher came into the toy shop where I was working and as soon as he saw me said “Are you making those puddings again? They were the best we’ve ever tasted!”, so I agreed to make him one and bring it in to the shop a few days later for him to come and collect.
In all the good books they write “and the rest, as they say, is History”. “The Rest” in my case was that other staff in the shop wanted to try a pudding too and between 1986 and 1994 (when I left retail and went back to University) I was spending a week each October making around 500 Christmas Puddings which were then transferred the length and breadth of the UK by Beatties’ toy shop area managers and thus delivered to shop staff and their families from Basingstoke to Newcastle Upon Tyne. Live Aid and Food Aid were no longer operating (as far as I knew) so the profits were donated to other charities which I supported, predominantly AIDS charities. After stopping work to go to UNi. I tried to stop making puds due to time and money constraints, but Beatties staff kept asking for them and so all through Uni I made about 100 or more each year and then once I started teaching I was still being asked to do them for Beatties folk. I kept quiet about them in school though. Beatties closed down in 2001 and that really should have been the end of the puddings but in 2005 I moved to a new job in a VIth form college and found that there were lots of real foodies on the staff, so I started offering to do puds there and I still do them now, but these days only about 50- 60 per year. Since 2005 profits have gone to The Albert Kennedy Trust in Manchester.
So, that’s the first cooking I ever did, but once I moved into my own home I wanted to be able to make cakes and cook all other food from scratch – I didn’t want and never have wanted ready meals and take aways and worst of all bought cakes. So, armed with my Grandmother’s 1935 Be-Ro recipe book, a Centenary Edition Be-Ro book from 1986, and the October 1984 Family Circle Cake Supplement, I taught myself to bake, starting with what’s still my favourite cake – Cherry Almond. Over the years I have been passed recipes by friends and colleagues, bought a few new books and invented quite a few of my own cakes (such as my English Garden Cake made with almonds, bilberries and peaches) and made my own versions of other cakes (such as my take on the Coffee Walnut Cake which has been adopted by the National Gardens Scheme as one of their “Classic Cakes” in 2012.
Now that I open my garden to the public under the NGS I have the best excuse ever to bake dozens of cakes every summer, as garden visitors always want home made cakes and tea. My latest venture, and the reason I found out about CCC, is that I have written and had professionally printed my own Cake Recipe Book – “Recipes from Grandma’s Garden” – which I am selling to raise funds for the NGS. I am very much an amateur baker: I never want to be a “pro” – if I was baking because I had to for my work I would hate it and probably never cook for pleasure ever again.
Mike Sum – Exeter
I recently took up baking after seeing the Clandestine Cake club on TV. I only had previously made a couple of cakes and cupcakes just for fun, the TV spot spurred me on to my first Clandestine meet up to which my cake, an upside down plum and blueberry cake, was very well received. My passion for baking was ignited and I haven’t looked back since.
I am still very much an amateur baker but ever increasing my repertoire after seeing the Great British Bake of 2012. I love new challenges, experimenting with flavours and love making pastries now. So far I have only managed 1 baking disaster, burning the bottom of my Cinnamon Palmiers which was a bit time consuming as I always make my own pastry! My favourite cake to make is a chocolate cake with a mint chocolate chip buttercream filling and icing coloured mint green, it looks fab, tastes great and wows people who don’t know I bake!
You can check out my baking over on my twitter @_gluttony_
Paul White – CCC Stamford
Paul White (paulthebaker) has been hand making bread as both a career and a hobby for over twenty years. As an artisan baker at Hambleton Bakery which is ” currently on ITV1,” in the competition to find “Britains Best Bakery”. (starts November 2012).
An avid fan of sourdough and a supporter of the Campaign for Real Bread, Paul is extremely passionate about every aspect of breadmaking and baking, now venturing into the world of Clandestine Cakes, Stamford
Find him on twitter @wwwpaulthebaker
Stuart – Arbroath
I’m a member of the Dundee Clandestine Cake Club. I live in nearby Arbroath and I’m an amateur home baker and confectioner. I say confectioner also, because I like baking and making all sorts – not just cakes but cookies, brownies, krispie treats, sad attempts at fudge, marshmallows and anything sweet really!
I love creating in the kitchen and have done so from an early age, in fact my first memory of baking was with my Gran and for some reason I remember this was the day before I started primary school. We made mini bread rolls and I was so chuffed with myself at making them.
My love of baking has intensified over the past few years and my friend Yvonne heard about the Clandestine Cake Club starting up in Dundee. I immediately e-mailed the organisers and although the first meeting was full, there was a cancellation last minute and I whipped up a hummingbird cake in very short time. The theme of the latest meeting was ice-cream flavours and I opted for mint choc chip. My cake was a moist chocolate cake with green mint chips inside and on the outside a mint marshmallow fluff frosting with chocolate chips through it.
Since joining the club, I have started a baking blog which gives me a great excuse to bake even more and share my results with the blogosphere (and my work colleagues who are cursing me for their weight gain!). I am also an amateur cartoonist and I like to incorporate my little cupcake creation Cakeyboi in there too. The site is only a couple of months old, but I am addicted to blogging already!
Oh the recipe for my mint choc chip cake can be found here http://www.cakeyboi.com/2012/07/chocolate-mint-chip-cake-with-mint-choc.html
Checkout my blog www.cakeyboi.com
Follow me on Twitter @MrCakeyBoi
Adrian – Bristol
I’m a student at a University in the UK and I have just started baking seriously since February this year in the middle of the write-up period for my dissertation. I find baking a very effective way to take my mind off work and enjoys the whole process immensely. I am originally from South East Asia but currently reside in Bristol, UK. Being a uni student does mean that I only have access to few baking equipments and an oven with multiple hotspots. On top of that, I find it extremely difficult to get people to finish off my bakes as most uni students are extremely conscious about their fat intake/calories etc. As a result I tend to go for recipes that can be easily scaled down to avoid wasting food/clogging up my arteries. I’ll just have to wait till I get home in summer before I can bake some proper cakes I guess. Lastly, I admit I’m not a fan of fondants and have never tasted a good fondant before so if you think you can change my mind please do!
Here’s the link to my blog: http://stressreliefbaking.blogspot.co.uk/ Title says it all.
Christian Halfmann – Germany
I love baking, although there is not always the chance to do so. As a child I was always ready to help my mum. Of course, pinching the dough was the favourite part or licking out the bowl.
I’m an amateur when it comes to baking and recently I tried quite a few cake recipes. At one point I did a cake once a week. It slowed down a bit, but who knows where it will go.
I’ve just posted a cake recipe on my blog: Cooking Around the World. Yesterday I did some kind of leftover cake with lime juice and various cream cheeses – see above.
Already for some time I have developed the habit to take a photo of nearly all the things I cook or bake. At the moment I live in Germany. Some people would call the place, where I live, a hamlet, but most people call it town.
Robert Noles -New Orleans, LA, USA
I started cooking at seven or eight. Baking became a more serious pursuit about ten years ago. I try to bake regularly (much to the good-natured consternation of my lovely wife). My cooking (and baking) is British focused but has some strong French and Creole/Cajun influences (brought about by living in New Orleans).
I enjoy British baking as it seems to be much less sweet than most US baking and the flavors and flavor combinations are more interesting (to my palate at least).
I also bake bread (both yeasted and quick) on a weekly basis.
Ed Halifax – West Sussex
Duanne Hiscock – Leeds
”I started baking because I like the challenge of trying new things. Baking and more specifically cakes usually herald a celebration and it is a great feeling being part of that especially by baking cakes.
I love trying exciting flavours and techniques and get a lot of inspiration from books and TV programs. Baking is a joy and brings joy and that is what excites me most I think.”
Lewis Hunt – Derby
I have been baking for most of my life, pretty much since I was old enough to tip a bowl of flour over my head and whack things and people with a wooden spoon. I am a Teacher of Food Technology currently based in Lincolnshire with regular visits to Leeds and in my spare time I make and bake stuff for my blog. I consider myself a traditional baker with an experimental streak which usually consists of cakes being launched across the room when they go wrong. I am planning on developing skills in sugarcraft and I’m constantly trying to expand my baking and food knowledge.
- Twitter @thefoodnut
- Website http://exploitsofafoodnut.blogspot.com
Chris Holmes – Sawston Sth Cambridgshire
Chris Holmes, a.k.a. Mr Cake, I worked in various restaurants as a chef for several years, gaining experience cooking both sweet and savoury foods. In June 2010, I made the cake for my own wedding, and following this in July 2010, I decided to take the plunge and be my own boss. Setting up a cake company seemed like the best way to combine my artistic side with my love of cooking. My business is now focused on bespoke wedding and birthday cakes and favours, as well as supplying my local farm shop with cakepops and my own homemade gourmet fudge. I am currently a sole trader and work out of our home kitchen in the village of Sawston, South Cambridgeshire.
Chris sent in a “Rather Tasty Carrot Cake” here is the recipe
Dave Candy – South Warwickshire
Phil Joy – Crich, Derbyshire
I am a qualified chef and self taught baker, lived in North Wales for 24 years but moved to Derbyshire 7 months ago to work in the Loaf Bakery.
I won chef of Wales for 2 years whilst I studied catering in college, I’ve also worked along Simon Rimmer for a month in his vegetarian restaurant ‘greens’. One day I would like my own old fashioned deli and tea room, but for now that’s a dream.
Mike Rose -Newmarket
I live in Newmarket, UK but grew up outside of Washington, DC, USA. I have always had an interest in cooking and baking since I was a young kid but I never really did much of it. I was just glued to watching the Food Network. This obsession with food has carried on into adulthood but now I cook/bake all the time. I used to only bake for my partner or a friend’s birthday and occasionally take baked goods into work but now I bake on a weekly basis for my blog, Mikesbaking.co.uk. I tend to normally bake cupcakes, muffins, or cookies, and save baking cakes for birthdays. I love trying out new recipes of unusual cakes. My favourite cake to make is called Tunnel of Fudge, I haven’t done a blog post on it yet but will be soon! There are a lot of classic British cakes I have yet to try baking, I am definitely an amateur baker learning everyday.
Check out my blog: mikesbaking.co.uk
Tweet me: @mikesbaking
Clandestine Cake Club Profile:http://clandestinecakeclub.co.uk/members/mikesbaking/profile/
Rich Skyrme – Cardiff
I’ve been baking now for about six to nine months and am still very new to the craft and very much an amateur. A particularly endearing childhood memory is of the beautiful aromas in the house from my mother’s baking so one of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2011 was to get in the kitchen and learn how to make a cake. I began with basic sponge and fruit cake recipes, bought a few cook books and went from there. I’ve just completed a 10-week evening course and my cake-making confidence is infinitely greater now than it was 12 months ago when I wouldn’t dream of joining something like the Clandestine Cake Club and I’m really looking forward to the inaugural Cardiff meeting.
I tend to bake on Sunday afternoons, when I have the opportunity to take my time over making something and I find the whole process of baking quite cathartic. At the moment I’m at the stage where I’m trying a lot of different recipes so I’ve not really got a ‘signature’ cake, but my favourite thing to make so far are moist cakes with a lot of fruit in.
I have a blog where I’ve posted my adventures in baking so far – Richcantcook
Andrew Morrisby – Manchester
I had always been interested in cooking and baking as a small boy and my mum was happy to indulge my love of baking and eating! I then became a pastry chef and wound up working for Gordon Ramsay@Claridges on the pastry section. I sadly gave up this career a few years ago but remain a passionate and enthusiastic baker. Currently the major baking in my life is to make wedding cakes for my friends and family, but I am partial to whipping up a victoria sandwich here and there. I would say my all time favourite cake would be a classic Carrot cake with a vanilla buttercream.
Bob Moss – Originally from Leeds (Yeah) now living in Wetwang, East Yorkshire.
I’ve been baking for a few years now but when I was younger I had no interest at all in cooking or baking. However, I’ve always had a sweet tooth so one day I tried to make my own Victoria sponge (following the standard Be-Ro book recipe of course) and it was so much nicer than anything I’d ever bought in a shop – I was hooked!
My day job is working for myself as a freelance software developer and I’m married with 2 dogs and 4 chickens. My wife has her own business making handmade preserves which takes us to lots of food fairs and festivals throughout the year. As I have a passion for quality local produce this is a great way to meet the producers and discover some superb products which I otherwise wouldn’t have found.
My photo is from 2010 when I entered the Wetwang Village Show for the first time and came out with several 1st places and won the 2 trophies for most points overall in the domestic produce section and jam and pickles section. This caused a bit of a stir with some of the regulars who wondered who this newcomer was who had won both trophies! I’m pleased to say I managed to retain my domestic produce trophy in 2011.
I prefer the good old fashioned recipes – you just can’t beat a traditional scone or custard tart. I love looking through old recipe books and trying out long forgotten favourites.
My favourite cake has to be a traditional victoria sponge with strawberry jam and vanilla buttercream filling – delicious!
Rick Bissell - Oldham
@grandpalew<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
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My name is Rick Bissell otherwise known as The Recipe Chef. I have worked in the catering industry for over 15 years, 5 of which were as a chef. I am currently a stay at home dad with my 3 year old son. My passion for cooking has never left me and to help me keep my hand in the kitchen I started baking. I live in Oldham just outside Manchester with my wife Sara who has been my biggest critic for over 15 years.
I am not a professional baker, infact some of my first attempts were a disaster, but as time has gone on my skills have improved and I am now quite good at it and have started baking cakes for people as a hobby. I also write a blog www.therecipechefscakes.blogspot.com as well as a recipe website www.therecipechef.co.uk so that I can share my creations. I don’t try to be fancy and everything I could can be made by anyone in their own home. I am a great believer that food is for everyone and that recipes should be able to be cooked by everyone not just Michelin star chefs.
My greatest creation to date was my sons 3rd birthday cake which was a Star Wars inspired Stormtrooper Helmet http://therecipechefscakes.blogspot.com/2011/07/stormtrooper-cake.html
David Le Masurier – Cardiff
“Hello, my name is David and one of my favourite childhood memories was visiting the awesome Greys Tea Room in Totnes with my mum. This really introduced me to the world of cake as an art form. The cakes were nothing short of magical, amazing window displays designed with such beauty and imagination, that as a child [or an adult] you just couldn’t walk past the door. This inspired me to bake although I only really got back into baking recently. I am lucky enough that my partner loves to bake too so it becomes a real social activity that we enjoy together.
In my quest for #menwhobake, I tweeted to Eric Lanlard and Edd Kimber asking if I could register and feature them on this page. They instantly replied yes, and with permission to use their twitter pictures I quickly set about adding them to the list with the briefest of history about them.
Eric Lanlard – London
Originally from France, Eric moved to London where he now runs his very successful cake emporium Cake Boy. Author of several books and with a few TV baking programs behind him, Eric also holds very popular cookery classes at the Cake Boy Cookery School in London.
I wonder if Eric would allow us to have a Clandestine Cake Club event at his Cake Boy Emporium. I’ll keep you posted cake lovers.
Edd Kimber – London
Edd is a Yorkshire lad at heart. I was lucky enough to meet him on a couple of occasions. After winning the Great British Bake Off in 2010 he has since moved on to a successful baking career in London. The Boy Who Bakes website is full of the most delicious recipes many of which are encompassed in his new book, suitably called ‘ The Boy who Bakes. Lets hope one day Edd will find the time to attend one of our Clandestine Cake Club events.
Matt Friend – Leeds
“I’ve only been baking regularly for a few years now, but I’ve always loved food, especially cake! I have many a childhood memory of baking with parents, grandparents and aunts. I remember my Mum making a pineapple upside down cake (always my favourite) when I was in my teens, and popping up to the shops. I ate three-quarters of the cake and when she came home I blamed it on the dog.
I normally have a disaster when I make something for the first time, and have the battle scars on my arms from not paying attention when taking things out of the oven. But normally when it goes wrong it just makes me want to try again until it comes out just right. Except for Danish pastries, they turned out inedible and I’ve not been back there yet.
Personally, I don’t think you can beat a classic Victoria sponge, it’s the best, but I do make a pretty nice Greek honey and pistachio cake too.”
Lee – Wallington Surrey
26 year old Lee is a teacher, who’s real passion is baking. A complete amateur but loves finding and cooking from really old cook books. He is currently blogging about his experience of cooking from Mrs Beeton’s!
Tony Robinson – Leeds
“I’m 49 and have been partnered for 20 years. I’ve been cooking since I was about 4 or 5 and baking since I was 10.
I come from a family of cooks and bakers. I really enjoy making classic cakes but adding a new twist occasionally, hopefully without taking away the true essence of the cake”.
Chris Morey – Leeds
“I’ve been baking on and off since my final year at university – it was a fantastic getaway from the stress of dissertations and deadlines. Since then I’ve kept it up and enjoy nothing more than being in the kitchen – it’s my fortress of solitude (I also love comics). I’m by no means a professional, but I enjoy baking and more importantly am happiest when something I’ve made makes people smile. Big believer in taste over appearance but try to make my creations look nice!
My favourite recipes for a while have been lemon drizzle cake (I’ve adapted this so many times – it’s a great basic cake to build on) and chocolate brownies. Always looking to try something new however – few disasters making cookies so need to keep trying there!
Biggest triumph was a chocolate wedding cake. Planning was a job in itself and transporting from Leeds to London was even more nerve-wracking.
Currently working on a fair few Christmas cakes and a mini version of rocky roads. Looking forward to my first event!
Pete Cavanagh – Leeds
Rob Martin – Leeds
“My mum and maternal grandmother both baked a lot and I remember loving being in the kitchen when any sort of cooking was in full flow (usually to steal some cheese/chocolate/whatever food I could). There were occasional results far from perfect, but because there were no allusions to professional cookery, mistakes were just accepted or discarded, which made me feel I could always try anything in the kitchen, without feeling discouraged.
The cheesecake was overcooked and the filling had curdled! People tried to eat it but I just threw it all away. Yuck!
One of my favourite cakes was inspired by CCC creations, by Mike (@nalsa) and Susie (@stickypinny) and is a rhubarb-topped and custard-filled cake.
I love new challenges and recently baked 150 cupcakes for a friend’s birthday. Next on my list is to work more with pastry and try and get my hands on Paul Hollywood’s (iced) buns.
Rob’s Rhubarb and Custard Recipe can be found here
Mike Wallis – Leeds
Amateur baker since he was old enough to hold a wooden spoon, Mike has been interested in the science of baking for many years. Writing about how to bake for Tea & Cake has led to developing recipes such as the Bakewell Muffin, The Triple Lemon Cake and the Fatless Boiled Tea Loaf, as well as the Tricolore Cake seen on these very pages. Cake wrecks generally involve frangipane or crème patisserie, but thankfully they’re rare. And when they do happen, icing covers a multitude of sins ( as told to the crowd at Bettakultcha, video evidence here on Youtube which also includes the classic WI Victoria Sponge Recipe). Don’t tell him you use the all-in-one method in an electric mixer, or you’ll get a lecture on gluten elasticity.
Andrew Kite – Epsom
“I’m definitely an amateur… but I love the challenge of difficult stuff. My favourite bakes are Pavlova, Banana Cake and Cupcakes generally. I’m experimenting with unusual flavours…been on a bit of a pumpkin kick recently (well it is the season!) so pumpkin spiced latte cupcakes HAD to be made! Mostly things go ok, but I don’t mind eating the trial runs!”
Andrew has a number of recipes he’d like to share with us on his blog Catchkitey
26 year old Lee is a teacher, who’s real passion is baking. A complete amateur but loves finding and cooking from really old cook books. He is