Clandestine by Candlelight

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It was the 19th of November, the nights had started to draw in and it all went a bit ‘dramatic’ at Loughborough Clandestine Cake Club.  We’d been enjoying Downton Abbey and reading Wuthering Heights, so, inspired by the time when cakes were always eaten with forks, tea served from silver teapots, tables kept their legs well covered and the dramatic undercurrents were seismic – our venue became ‘Clandestine Heights’ for a few hours.

The fire was roaring, the teacups were sparkling and the candles were lit, the scene was set in readiness for ‘Clandestine by Candlelight’.  Bakers arrives with cakes inspired by history or their favourite costume drama, to be greeted by well-starched Edwardian staff on arrival.

After photographs, a cup of tea and first slice of cake we all settled down in the parlour for an illuminating presentation by Dr Matthew O’Callaghan, Chairman of the Melton Mowbray Food Partnership and the Pork Pie Association.  He also bakes a mean cake – his Melton Hunt Cake was delicious!

Matthew gave a talk entitled ”A History of Cakes: A fascinating story of how cakes have got lighter over the years since the Romans”, and it was.  Matthew talked about the 5 eras of cake – Prehistory & Roman, Medieval, Elizabethan, Georgian, Victorian & Modern, and how baking has developed. Cakes have got lighter through the ages due to developments in raising methods – and the history of cake is full of politics, inventions and tightly guarded secrets!  Plus, we discovered that we had examples from at least 3 of the 5 eras at cake club that day.

Our bakers baked – Swedish Apple Cake, Mother in Law’s boiled cake, Clockwork Orange Drizzle, Scripture Cake, Galette des Rois (Twelfth Night cake), Melton Hunt Cake, Queen Elizabeth Cake, Chocolate Hazelnut Love Cake, Chocolate and Earl Grey Torte, Coffee and Walnut Cake, Victoria Sponge, Chocolate Sponge cake, Lemon & Vanilla Cake.