Twas a grizzly day in London town yesterday, but inside Earl’s Court there was plenty to keep people warm. It was Day Two of the first ever Cake and Bake Show – and it was heaving.
A sell-out exhibition, the queue alone made one massive source of body heat. As did the crowds inside.
Some of the content was heart-warming too. Particularly our first port of call: a demo presented by the fabulously homely Mary Berry – the baking queen everyone wants to hug. Not that you could get close enough to do so at that point (especially after her Bake Off sidekick Paul Hollywood appeared – to the sound of a collective swoon).
Much more of a draw (for this Pud-Hog at least) was the Marketplace, where various cake-makers hawked their wares. Here were loads of familiar faces (such as Paul A. Young and Pistachio Rose – about whom more later on), but also some intriguing newbies – the most interesting of which was Suhaav, a company selling eggless, vegetarian Cake Balls (the Man bought a Lemon Zest one for 75p, and it was mouth-wateringly moist).
On the whole, there weren’t that many samples to try – with Paul A Young’s tasting demo being a notable exception. Indeed, in the way of most exhibition-type events, it was more about businesses hawking their ‘Show Bargains’: icing; decorative tools; display cases; time-saving inventions…
In a semi-journalistic mode, I kept my eye out for trends as we went, and I have to say – for better or worse – Cupcakes still appear to have the crown in a death-grip. One way or another, the majority of stalls were devoted to them, and freshly-bought Cupcake Carry Cases (looking like transparent toolboxes) seemed to be tucked under plenty of arms.
Thankfully, though, it wasn’t all about shopping. Away from the throng of buying and selling were a few cool displays to awe and amaze. In my favourite area (the zone with all the chocolate demos, since you ask), one man carved a dinosaur skeleton from a solid chocolate slab. Twas sadly too big to stash in my bag, but impressive nonetheless.
More gasps were to be heard by the Edible Beach area, where entrants to the sea-themed decorating comp were shown. No doubt there were enough food colourings to knock out a whole Primary School; but not before transforming them to drugged-up all-night ravers.
A couple of my favourites are below (Lobster-themed wedding, anyone?), and although the standard of icing was high – and plenty ‘Beachy’ – I did wonder how many of them were truly ‘Edible’…
Edibility wasn’t a problem I faced with the demos, however. Not only could you see and smell the goodies being made, it was also occasionally possible to nibble the results – as long as you were speedy on your feet.
Indeed, having watched some of the public presentations (as opposed to those in the Classrooms, which cost £8 a ticket), I eventually managed to snaffle a freshly-baked specimen from Real Bread enthusiast Aidan Chapman, who runs the Phonenix Bakery in Weymouth.
Though savoury (and therefore not really fit for this blog) it tasted frankly awesome – well worth the scrum I endured to grab it.
All that talk of yeast was inspiring too, making me desperate to run to the oven and start up my next batch of buns post-haste.
First, there were goodies to eat, however: Chocolate Naan from Pistachio Rose, and four fab tasters from Paul A. Young. Stay tuned and I’ll tell you about them soon. That ought to warm your cockles…