Last weekend I went to The Cake & Bake Show 2014 at Manchester Central. This was my second visit to the show that runs for 3 days and is packed to the brim with stunning cakes, celebrity chefs, local produce and delicious baked goods. I went for the day on the Saturday and had a brilliant time seeing chef demonstrations, browsing the stalls and generally stuffing my face with tasty delights! Here's how my day went...
I started the day by checking out the 'Welcome to the Jungle' sugarcraft installation. Everything from the leaves, to the soil, to of course the animals themselves is edible in this jungle inspired tent. Made by CakeBomb, a collective of cake artists all brought together by their passion for cake decorating.
The detail was stunning. No matter how many amazing cakes I see, I am always in awe of each and every one! And rightly so, the cake jungle took the cake artists over 6,000 hours to complete!
Oh and look who else I bumped into in the jungle! I was so pleased to get a photo opportunity with Glenn Cosby and Christine Wallace from The Great British Bake Off. They were both so nice!
I checked out some of the stalls starting with Paul A Young's Fine Chocolates stand. Paul is a passionate and experimental chocolatier and one of his latest creations are the Hot Cross Brownie Pies pictured above. I tried some chocolate brownie and it was the most chocolatey brownie I've ever had!
I picked up some yummy cheese from The Cheshire Cheese Company. My favourite was a caramelised onion and rioja cheddar that is oh so good!
Billington's, one of the main sponsor's of the show, had a Sugar Market set up at the show offering visitor's samples of their sugar. Did you know that most brown sugar is just white sugar with a 'tan'? Billington's sugar however is natural and unrefined giving it a unique flavour. I was really surprised to find this out as I, like many others I imagine, assume that when we are buying a bag called brown sugar it is actually brown sugar inside! Sadly this is not always the case, but at least with Billington's you know you are getting the real thing.
Fresh artisan bread is one of my favourite things about food shows, and The Artisan Bakery didn't disappoint with stacks of crusty bread and tasty focaccia's.
Speaking of bread, if you make your own or want to start, BakeryBits is the perfect place to start. From the look of their stall, there is literally nothing you will need for bread making that these guys don't sell!
The filming for The Great British Bake Off 2014 started this weekend and she talked about the shows move to BBC One. She hopes the format of the show doesn't change, as the tent and bridge are a part of the show, and the squirrel! Frances talked about all the exciting things she has done since winning the show, which has included making The Shard out of gingerbread, making a cake for Quentin Blake and making shortbread for Barbara Hepworth. She is also working on a new book and is currently in discussions with television shows.
The scones looked fab and she advised using a large bowl when mixing the flour and butter, not handling the scone dough too much, and adding the milk little by little as you can always add more but never take away. Frances also revealed the secret behind her svelte figure - she loves running!
Next it was onto the Tala competition stage to watch Glenn and Christine from The Great British Bake Off battle it out in a live bake off!
They made brandy snaps with lemon cream and Christine was fully prepared with her homemade shaping cone and stand. She even brought pistachios from home to sprinkle on top - she meant business!
Glenn is born to be on stage and kept the crowd entertained. He announced that he has officially retired from teaching and has a tour planned (you can check out locations and get tickets here). He doesn't think a cake can ever be too big and made a giant brandy snap to try and compete with Christine.
Christine won the bake off after a taste test by some lucky audience members. She is currently appearing regularly on BBC Radio Oxford to talk about gardening and baking.
Afterwards I met Ali Imdad from The Great British Bake Off! He was watching the live bake off and I popped over to say hello when the bake off finished.
The Cake Boss is an American TV show that follows a bakery run by an Italian American family. They have since branched out into baking equipment and pans and their range was available to buy at the show. I loved the star shaped pan!
Nielsen Massey were another of the shows big sponsors and they had a cupcake and cocktail bar running throughout the show. You could also buy their extracts, and I purchased two bottle of vanilla as they had a great deal on. I highly recommend using Nielsen Massey over any other vanilla extracts as it is just the best quality and flavour. The smell of it is stunning and as soon as you smell it you will realise how good it is!
The Baking Housewife had some gorgeous looking rum cake on offer. She specialises in making Caribbean inspired cakes, cordials and marmalades.
I stumbled across this beautifully iced Cookie Garden that I had to share as it so pretty and detailed.
Local cafe Tea Hive had a stand and I had some of their Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cake. I have to say this is one of the best cakes I have had in ages and I was seriously impressed with it! I will be going to get more of this from their cafe in Chorlton soon!
If you read my blog often you may know that I attend the Clandestine Cake Club. It's a great network of cake lovers who meet up to share their love of baking as well as a slice or two of cake. The club had a baking competition on over the weekend and above are a couple of the amazing entries!
I ended the day with a demonstration from Eric Lanlard making a Key Lime Pie Cheesecake. His tip for key lime pie in general was that "if it's green - don't eat it!" The 'I made this earlier' cheesecake had a crack down the middle and Eric said that flavour is much more important than taste, because people will remember the taste. If your bake doesn't look that great, he advised to call it rustic!
Eric was very charming and funny, and had the audience laughing along with all his jokes and anecdotes. He talked about baking and cooking on television and how you have to wait until the camera is ready before putting in the next ingredient, otherwise you end up starting all over again. Eric has his own patisserie and cooking school called Cake Boy in Battersea and he said that the first thing he told the architect was that he wanted fabulous toilets with disco music in them. He got the toilets he wanted and he told us that they are a very popular part of the patisserie!
I had a brilliant day at The Cake & Bake Show, it really was so much fun! I left exhausted, full, but very happy. If you are as much of a baking geek as me, or a budding baking geek, you will have a great time browsing the stalls, sampling the goodies on offer, and watching the celebrity demonstrations. The next show is on in London, 3rd - 5th October, and you can buy tickets here.
NB. I had a press pass for the show, but was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.