The Cake and Bake Show 2014 – A Look Back
Well, I had a thoroughly lovely time at The Cake and Bake Show in London last Friday! Did you go? If not, I’m afraid you did miss out a little but hopefully I can fill you in a bit.
As soon as you entered the exhibition hall you could smell the sweetness! I arrived a little after the show had opened so it was already very busy and bustling with people gawping at amazing sculpture-like cakes, eating sweet treats or generally browsing what was on offer. So much was going on it was hard to know where to start.
Walking around the show was practically an assault on the senses with so much to look at one each stand, the aromas of all the baked goods from different bakery stands and classes and little tid-bits to taste from people selling their wares. From around Tewlve O’clock, the different theatres got going and you could hear the different presenters and chefs over the hub-bub.
One highlight was all four Bake-Off winners from years gone by uniting on stage for a boys vs. girls competition. When I watched it they were making brownies including, of course, California Prunes who were hosting the stage. It was somewhat chaotic with Wendi Peters struggling to control the giddy, competitive bakers whilst they tried to get one-up on each other. It was great to see the bakers a little more natural and un-edited and I was surprised to discover how wonderfully sassy John Whaite truly is! It was a laugh a minute and the bakers really shone, creating some delicious looking brownies completely live – no “here’s one I made earlier!” The boys disappeared quite sharpish (I think they had a packed schedule for the day) but I managed to get a quick snap with Joanne and Frances who were very welcoming and friendly to all the audience members afterwards.
On the subject of baking brownies, the show just proved that, as a nation, we seem to have become a little obsessed with them! All of the stands selling baked goods seemed to be offering their own version; big, small, dark, light, every variation was there. We sampled some from one stand but, unforgivably, I have forgotten the name of the Bakery I’m afraid. They were lovely and fudgey and up with the high standard of everything on offer at the show. There were also sellers specialising in one particular treat such as macarons, marshmallows, chocolate and, of course, the Meringue Girls were there and seemed to have a crowd of people buying their candy-striped meringues all day long!
As well as the actual baked goods there were plenty of stands offering up everything and anything to help us bakers with anything we might need to help us create our own sweet treats at home. From the professional cake air-brushing kits right down to simple piping bags and cutters, everything you could think of was there. I was particularly fascinated by the stands demonstrating Cake Lace and I must try it some time! Some stands which seemed busy all day long were Blossom Sugar Art (look out for a post testing their moulds soon!), Cake Boss and Sugar and Crumbs with their flavoured icing sugars.
The sponsor, Nielson Massey’s Flavour emporium was a fun experience with little tumblers of their different extracts under glass domes so that you could lift them and inhale their lovely fragrances one by one. There were other fun things happening too such as the Modelling Magic station with Renshaw and cookaholics with Neff. I spectated on these rather than taking part as I wanted to take it all in but they looked like such lovely activities and everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy them. I did, however, have lots of fun playing with the Neff sliding over door (please someone buy me a Neff oven with a fancy sliding door!!)
Whilst I didn’t make it to any of the classrooms this year, I did catch a couple of the different talks and demonstrations from the various big names in baking. My favourite, however, was seeing the Chocolatier Paul A. Young speak in the Cake Kitchen. He demonstrated how to make his “Fig and Date Three-Point Tart with Cumin Chocolate Syrup.” It was a tart made with a cream cheese pastry which looked really simple to make and could be used with lots of different recipes. Every step of the way Paul explained exactly what he was doing and added what you could substitute ingredients for if you didn’t like them. He also added in so many tips about using different types of sugar for different things and also choosing chocolate, of course. I was truly inspired by him and after his effortless presentation I think someone needs to get this man a television programme!! I will definitely be trying out a variation on this recipe so I will let you know how that goes.
Now, I could go on and on and on about every little part of the show but I will leave you with a few pictures including those from the display tables and cake decorating competitions. A quick note here though to apologise for the photo quality – my camera lens got quite well acquainted with my anti-bac hand gel in my bag on holiday and has gone all smudgy so I had to use my phone instead!
If you missed the show this year, then I strongly advise you go next year – you really will get your money’s worth and enjoy yourself immensely. I know I did!