A Weekend of Baking Brilliantness (Cake and Bake Show 2014)

I’ve got a cake hangover. It’s been a very fun weekend at the Cake and Bake Show in Manchester.

Things started on Friday – Emma (Manchester City Centre CCC Organiser) and I were helping out on the Clandestine Cake Club stand, along with Lynn (CCC Founder) and her daughter Joanne. It’s fair to say Em and I were a little bit excited. We’re talking ‘taking photos of ourselves with excited faces whilst walking to the show’ type excited. We’d had such a fab time last year that we were expecting great things of the show this year, and we weren’t disappointed.

excited face

Excited face!

After making our way to our stand, setting out the cakes that CCC members had baked for the ‘Taste on the Table’ competition and sending a few excited tweets, we had a little wander round the show before the doors opened to the public. We also met up with fellow CCC organiser and Bundt baker extraordinaire Rachel (aka Dollybakes) who was just as excited as me!


Me, Em and Rachel – Organiser girlies.

I was delighted to be asked to judge cakes with Peter Sidwell on Friday, for our Taste on the Table competition. I say asked…Emma couldn’t taste the bacon cake, being a veggie, and Lynn didn’t want to trough through 30 cakes by tasting them all each day, so I was the last resort really!

All the cakes were of very high quality and I honestly liked them all…but the winner (thankfully Peter agreed with me and I didn’t have to argue my case) was a pistachio, lime and basil cake that was beautifully flavoured and well balanced, as well as being unusual.

On Sunday, which we’d named “Sunday is Bundt Day”, our competition prize was kindly donated by NordicWare. Not one to pass up the opportunity of winning a huge pile of goodies, I entered a bundt of my very own. I don’t think I’ve ever been as nervous about baking a cake as I was about this one. I made the Chocolate and Salted Caramel Bundt that I did for cake club a few months ago, but with a few tweaks. I marbled the dark chocolate and caramel sponge, and made the caramel sauce differently, and quite a bit more salty!



Lynn cutting into the competition cakes

I didn’t win, but was very happy to take part in the competition and get some good feedback from Rachel (most importantly) Peter (what does he know?!), my fellow cake clubbers (who tucked in to it at the end of the show), Marcus from NordicWare and my band mates at rehearsal later that evening. A Bundt goes a long way!

There were some absolutely amazing cakes on display. I’m not really one for sugar craft – my cakes are more about taste than decoration, mainly because I’m not great at it! However, I am certainly in awe of those who have the skill. It’s fantastic. The jungle theme threw up some stunningly decorated cakes, including a mahoosive gorilla, a snake, spiders and an elephant that was, quite possibly the size of an actual baby elephant!

As for the stalls…cor. The CCC stand was opposite a company selling very nice brownies and cupcakes.


There were cakes, meringues, marshmallows, sausage rolls and pork pies, breads, wines, pinnies, gifts…so much to see and buy. I think the show organisers struck a really good balance this year. Last year I found it a bit sugarcraft-heavy but this year it seemed much more suited to a wider range of bakers. It was also very, very difficult not to spend every penny in my purse!

The demos and classes were excellent – as well as Peter Sidwell and his co-host Mich Turner, we saw Simon Rimmer, Eric Lanlard and Rosemary Shrager. Great British Bake Off contestants and winners were in abundance. I met Kimberley (very chatty, loves a good wedge of cake and full of knowledge. Meeting her made Em’s day!), chatted to Glenn (very tall and friendly) and said hello to Christine. Saw John Whaite and Cat, but missed Frances!

Great to finally meet Marcus from Nordic Ware, whose tales of celeb bakers and bunts were very entertaining. Not to mention producing the best photo of the show…


Just feel that bundt!

Other show highlights include Salcombe Dairy ice cream – I mentioned their tweet and got a free 3-scoop waffle cone of deliciousness, Neilsenn-Massey cocktails – orange blossom cosmo was amazing and was responsible for my flushed cheeks on Sunday afternoon, Olivia and Sam proving that baking and glamour do indeed go hand in hand, Joe & Seph’s popcorn for flavours that shouldn’t work with popcorn but do and the end of show reductions that have resulted in obscene amounts of pork/pastry products in my fridge.

Thanks to Lynn for coordinating the show and inviting me along to help. Thrilled to be part of it and share the cakey love.