At the weekend I visited Cake International - The Sugarcraft, Cake Decorating & Baking Show - at EventCity in Manchester. For the second year the show, the largest of its kind in the world, came to Manchester after a successful first year in the city in 2013. See my review on last year's show here. I didn't have as much time to spend at the show as I did last year so I had to prioritise, and of course seeing Mary Berry came out on top!
Mich Turner and Mary Berry were this year's star guests and the opened the show at 10am in front of an eager crowd! Mich Turner MBE is the founder of Little Venice Cake Company, a successful author, an award winning cake designed and has a host of celebrity clients from Cheryl Cole to Her Majesty the Queen.
I watched Mary's demonstration on the Cake International Theatre Stage where she started by making a Tirimasu Cake. The sponge layers were soaked with a coffee and it was filled and covered in cream and mascarpone cheese. She said that she likes to show people cakes that they can go home and make themselves, and she keeps in mind that you don't always have another person in the kitchen to help you so keeps things simple.
While she was making the cake she talked about The Great British Bake Off. While Mary doesn't bother to weight out the cake batter for every sponge layer, all of the contestants on GBBO do! She hoped that we thought her and Paul were fair judges and confirmed that no one else is involved in the judging decision. It is just her and Paul, without any interference from the BBC.
Mary does not like half fat or low fat products. She insisted that if you make the Tirimasu you must use full fat mascarpone cheese! She thinks that it is better to have a small slice of something perfect. However, she is giving up chocolate for lent. Although, she said, she could never give up alcohol!
Mary is fiercely passionate about getting children involved in baking and believes it is part of their education. The photo above is Mary and her three children. The second recipe she made were some Granola Bars. She smiled as she told us how she gets sent lots of photos around Christmas time of gingerbread houses that children have made. She often bakes with her grandchildren and thinks it is important to teach kids to bake and make things that they will enjoy eating.
She asked if we'd been watching her new show Mary Cooks and told us that the focus of the show was family baking and things that you can prepare ahead of time. The show is part of an exciting year for Mary which has included an appearance on Strictly Come Dancing. She told us how she would never appear as a dancer on the show, but she did have a dance with Anton Du Beke in the make up room!
Mary also appeared on Piers Morgan which she really enjoyed as she had a 'new frock' and very high heels. She thinks that Piers was nice to her and kept the show clean as his mum was there and she is a GBBO fan.
And finally, Mary's advice for being a good baker was that you need two things. Passion, and digital scales!
If you missed Cake International Manchester you can catch it again in London 10th - 12th April, and in Birmingham 7th - 9th November 2014.