Thursday, 24 June 2021

Clandestine Cake Club take's off

A SECRET society for cake-lovers has taken off in Henley.

A SECRET society for cake-lovers has taken off in Henley.

Members of the Clandestine Cake Club, which was formed last June by Charlie Shaw and Charlotte Gater, meet once a month to swap home-baked treats.

Meetings are held at different venues and details are only revealed a few days beforehand via word of mouth or social networking websites.

There is a different theme each time and every member has to bring an appropriate cake that they have made themselves. Muffins and cupcakes are not allowed.

The club is part of the Clandestine Cake Club network, which was started in Leeds by Lynn Hill in 2010 and now has more than 100 clubs across the UK.

Ms Shaw and Ms Gater, who are both 29, formed the Henley branch after a friend did the same thing in Reading.

Ms Shaw, who lives in Gainsborough Road and teaches at Micklands Primary School in Caversham, said: “I bought a house in Henley last year and wanted to meet new people. I also love to bake, so this seemed like a really good idea.”

Ms Gater, who lives in Deanfield Road, said: “Charlie and I are bakers at heart — we fight over who gets to make birthday cakes for our friends.” About eight or 10 people now attend each month, with new faces appearing each time.

Ms Gater said: “The club definitely has its regulars but every month we tend to have at least one new person. We even had a man from London pop in during the regatta. When he heard about us, he stayed an extra day in Henley to come to the meeting.

“It’s a very relaxed atmosphere — there are no formalities or rituals and you’re not allowed to judge other people’s cakes. Cakes must be home-made, though — even if you dropped yours on the way in, I’d still rather eat it than a shop-bought one.” Rajnee Knights, 36, of Remenham Hill, joined the club after discovering it while searching the internet for running clubs in Henley.

“I’ve come back three times now but I still haven’t got round to joining a running club,” she said. “This is much more fun, though.”

Meetings have been held at Magoos bar in Hart Street, the Saracen’s Head pub in Greys Road and the Beer Tree in Reading Road but the organisers would like to hear from other willing hosts.

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