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Interaction and Conversation begin when you cut the first slice

CCC Auckland
CCC Auckland

Clandestine Cake Club was founded in the summer of 2010 with the first event being held on 11th December 2010. Since that time the whole cake rule, though challenging at times, has become synonymous with sharing. At first I didn’t want to step on the toes of a similar club in Leeds called Iron Cupcakes. There, people would bake cupcakes to be judged by others as to which was the tasties and the best. I wanted to go down the opposite road of whole cakes and be none competitive.  I created the Clandestine Cake Club in homage to the Secret Tea Room which I was running in my home at the time. Here strangers came to my house for home made afternoon tea.

On one of these occasions I heard a guest say they didn’t want to leave.  So I popped the kettle on and served more tea. It was at this time that, although I loved doing these events once a month, I also loved the idea of bringing people together over tea and cake but didn’t want to do all the baking myself. I searched the internet for cake and baking clubs, but found none. So, I created the Clandestine Cake Club keeping events secret, save only to those who booked a place and where ever possible be held at different locations.

This is where the whole cake rule comes in to force.

You can share a whole cake. There is interaction and conversation when you cut the first slice often asking the person next to you would they like a slice. Revealing the inside of a covered cake often creates many Ooo’s and Aaarh’s at tables. Multi layered cakes of rainbow colours and fillings reveal themselves for the first time in front of admiring cake lovers. A Cupcake, Muffin and Brownie, simply lifted from the serving plate, does not quite have the same impact. Try slicing a cake. Feel the denseness  and squidginess of a chocolate fudge cake, or the gentle delicate softness of a light Victoria sponge.

There is an art to baking a good cake and when you have the chance of sharing what you make, gives many people the lift needed to take them away from their troubles for a couple of hours.

My husband and I never sliced our wedding cake because of the amount of pictures that were taken on the day. We simply forgot.  The 3 tiered cake made by myself with Royal Icing was taken away to be sliced by others and shared among our guests. But with every cake I slice at a ccc event, it takes me back to my wedding day in 1977, where I feel I am slicing my own cake.

I often say to those who ask me why the cake only rule, to picture this:

Place 2 large tables in a room. Have one table filled with unsliced whole cakes and the other filled with Cupcakes, Muffins and Brownies. Then invite 2 different groups of people to enjoy all the cakeyliciousness. Ask one group to take their fill from the Cupcake, Muffin and Brownie table then go and sit down for tea. While inviting the other group to slice as many cake portions as they wish, then ask them to also sit down for tea.

I pretty much guarantee that the people will still be slicing cakes and interacting with each other at the whole cake table. While the Cupcake, Muffin and Brownie group will have already sat down having never asked each other if they want another cupcake or muffin or another brownie. Nor will they have discussed the inside of some revealing cake, marvelling at how it was made. Or looked with curiosity at some unusual fruit or vegetable ingredient that someone decided to experiment with.

That is why CCC has the (whole) cake only rule, you can share a cake. Friendships have begun over a slice or three. People are transported away from their troubles by baking at home for a few hours. Being part of CCC has helped many people through difficult times, through mental illness and depression. How do I know this you may ask? The emails tell me. The conversations I have, with members, tell me how much being part of CCC means to them. How much it has changed their lives. Even taken them down different and exciting roads in their life and how many new friends they have made with the simple act of sharing a cake.

I am often asked what do I want for CCC. I want to create the biggest cake community in the world. Where sharing cake and friendship is at the heart of every CCC event. Where, with joy and excitement, people bake for the sheer pleasure it brings them and the possible friendships and relationships that may grow.

Everyone is welcome to be part of this. Come and join in the fun, make new friends and share your cake.


‘Interaction and conversation begin when you cut the first slice’.

Lynn Hill

Founder of the Clandestine Cake Club




  1. Linda Newbury

    Hi Lynn,
    Thank you for a great article. You are right, of course. I run a monthly tea dance for Argentine Tango and bake several different whole cakes each time. They are definitely conversation starters…lots of oohs and ahhs at first and then people really engage with each other. It seems the whole atmosphere is enhanced by the thought of the cakes. I always make scones too and serve them with clotted cream and jam…it is afternoon tea after all! However, I’ve found that small cakes in general have less impact and are always left until last. Maybe it’s because people feel they can make them themselves or maybe they don’t offer the feeling of sharing that you get with a whole cake.
    I would love to combine my tango with a cake club…maybe one day 😉
    Best wishes, Linda

  2. Sue Thompson

    Hi Lynn, I am also an avid baker, going more for the taste of the item rather than the elaborate look of it. I joined my local club last year but have yet to get to a meeting mainly because they seem to be few and far between. Any question I have asked has yet to be answered. Is it ok to set up another outlet for the club in the same area or not. Regards, Sue Thompson

  3. Susan Jones

    Its all true what you say Lynn.
    Personally I have made lots of new friends and after attending meetings in other areas, Leeds, Saltaire, Huddersfield, started up the Spen Valley group which covers Cleckheaton and surrounding towns and its usually very well attended. I have enjoyed the excitement of watching CCC items televised and love spotting members I know and I loved the excitement of attending the final photo shoot for the CCC cookbook and the televising of a CCC meeting in Leeds for Look North on TV.
    CCC has brought lots of fun and excitement to my otherwise quiet life.

  4. Amanda Woodward

    It is easily the best club I have ever joined 🙂
    The concept is simple and yet each meeting is different. It’s a great way to meet new friends and old – and I am so glad I read that article in the Daily Mail all those years ago!

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