To celebrate another year of ageing, one of the gifts I received for my birthday was two tickets to the cake and bake show at Earls Court in London. My lovely boyfriend had the pleasure of accompanying me, which he only agreed to because he thought there’d be cake samples.
So we jumped in the car and made the short journey to Earls Court on a lovely, typical English day – rainy and miserable. We parked up 10 minutes from the exhibition centre and trekked over in the pouring rain before making our way into the exhibition centre.
This is the first time I’ve ever been to an exhibition, and I didn’t really know what to expect. Earl’s Court is a huge open space, and there were stalls all over with a few open spaces for demonstrations. As we first entered the hall, we spotted the makers of the ovens from Great British Bake Off (a favourite!), and they were demonstrating how to make a quick and easy pavlova. A good sign of things to come.
Our first decision was which side to tackle first – left or right? We just kind of veered off to the left, which turned out to be the larger side of the exhibition. The first few stalls we came to were bakers selling their cakes, fudges, macaroons and other yummy bakes. I had a bad feeling the whole place was just going to be like one massive bakery, which wasn’t what I had in mind. I was hoping to see different techniques used for baking and decorating, as well as stalls with ‘accessories’ for sale – cake tins, decorating tools, presentation boxes, that kind of thing. As we pushed through the crowds and away from the cake stalls, we came upon some different types of stalls, and as we pushed through the crowds we saw that there was more on offer than just people selling cakes.
Aside from the small cupcakes and other baked goods, some companies had turned up with some big cake creations. Obviously decorated by professionals, these cakes could only be described as pieces of art. There was in fact a cake decorating competition on the other side of the exhibition, with cakes on a Cake Boss kind of level! Other than the epic amount of cakes we saw (cake and bake show…clues in the title right?) there were also small workshops where you could learn cake decorating tips like how to make a lifelike frog or button.
The demonstrations were something different, and they had a range of different things on show throughout the day. While we were there, they had some previous stars of the British favourite Great British Bake Off having a mini bake off, and another chef messing about making some bread. There’s a timetable that ran through the whole day, but we’re not organised enough to get there in time to see anything that really caught our eye.
Of course some goodies found their way home with us! If there’s something my boyfriend and I love it’s baked goods – bread, cakes, pastries, and all the baking bits used. My absolute favourite thing to make is bread, and of course I picked up some flour mixes from the Wright’s Baking stand. I picked up a couple of flavoured bread mixes, a premium white and two sourdough mixes. I think bread mixes are a compromise between having to make it yourself and buying one – they’re like a step up from shop bought without the effort of proper homemade bread.
We also grabbed a few cakes from Crumbs and Doilies – raspberry ripple, lemon meringue, popcorn and blueberry cheesecake. Cupcakes aren’t my favourite, but the variety on offer from these guys was crazy. They also have a mini cupcake selection. They look great, and I’ve just finished off the raspberry ripple cupcake. Loads of people at the stand were raving about the cakes, so they must be popular, but I’m not overly convinced. And my cupcake had a special present of pink plastic in it. My absolute favourite goodie had to be the tomato and herb focaccia we picked up. The smell in the car on the way home was heavenly.
Overall, I really enjoyed the day at the Cake and Bake show. I definitely think I’ll go back next year, and will try to get there earlier in the day as I’ve heard a rumour that there are freebies in the morning!