The Happy Foodie's First Cookbook Club

On 18th November 2017, we hosted our first ever Cookbook Club, a chance for us to get together with some of our influencer friends to cook from, and chat about, a chosen cookbook over lots of delicious food. With its beautiful instagram-worthy interiors and fully functioning kitchen, we chose Rye London as the location for our event and couldn't have been more excited for the day to come around. 

Our inaugural meet was all about GBBO 2016 winner, Candice Brown's debut cookbook, Comfort, one of our favourite books of 2017. Taking inspiration from the photography in the book, we styled the event to reflect the copper accents and pink touches throughout.

 

The lunch table set and ready for our guests to arrive at Rye London.

With so many beautiful recipes to choose from, we asked our guests to each bring a different bake from the book, so that we would all get to try lots of the different cakes, biscuits and desserts inside. We set up a table for our guests to display what they had made, and my what a table it was! We had Florentines, Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Blondies, Hazelnut Brownies, a Chocolate, Coconut and Banana Loaf, Millionaire's Shorbread Stars, a Cherry Bakewell Tart, Flapjacks, Orange & Hibiscus Madeleines, a Mocha Chocolate Cake and a Mint Chocolate Cake. What a line up! Our wonderful guests had all gone to an amazing amount of effort, and it truly brought the pages of Comfort to life.

All our lovely guests' bakes together

We were absolutely thrilled that Candice herself could also join us on the day and all tried to keep our cool around one of our baking heroines. After a bit of mingling we all sat down together to enjoy a lunch including some of our favourite savoury dishes from the book (the Black Pudding Sausage Rolls, Vegetable Quiche and Mediterranean Soda Bread) and some beautiful salads from local restaurant, Merci Marie. 

During lunch, Louise McKeever, one of the editors of Comfort, interviewed Candice, giving us all some more insight into life after GBBO, the process of writing her first cookbook and her plans for the future. Candice had us all in hysterics with her amazing stories and it was so insightful to hear more about how Comfort came into being (we're all very jealous of Candice's boyfriend, who got to eat all the test recipes for dinner every night for weeks).

After lunch, Candice treated us all to a demo of her triple layer Black Forest Gateau. With Christmas just around the corner, it was perfect timing for us all to get the tips and techniques for perfecting this absolute showstopper, from creating the perfect chocolate ganache to piping chocolate decorations. If you would like to make this recipe at home, you can get it here.

The finished cake took pride of place amongst all the rest of the bakes from the book, before being boxed up and taken to be auctioned off at Bake For Syria, which was taking place the same day. (It took a significant amount of restraint not to just eat the whole lot of that glorious looking cake!)

All that remained was to get stuck in and eat all of the rest of the bakes and chat about our experiences of cooking from the book over a nice cup of tea. We can confirm every single one of them was a complete joy to eat, and with boxes of leftovers taken back to families and partners, the joy kept on going for some days afterwards!

We loved every minute of our first Cookbook Club and can't wait to get going with the next one in 2018. A massive thank you to all of our lovely guests for bringing such wonderful bakes and to Candice for joining us and teaching us how to make that incredible cake.

Watch this space for The Happy Foodie Cookbook Clubs in 2018!

Candice Brown

Candice Brown is the winner of The Great British Bake Off 2016. Born in North London, Candice grew up in the pubs that her parents ran – and that she famously immortalized in gingerbread for her most…

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