A few weeks ago I was invited by ao.com and Neff to spend a day at the Cake & Bake Show in Manchester and being a lover all all things cake and a huge fan of The Great British Bake Off, I jumped at the chance.
I’d say if you’re a fan of The Great British Bake Off (I’m going to to call it GBBO from now on, it takes too long to type!) then you’d love the Cake & Bake Show. This year there was a whole stage devoted to the show with many of the past contestents there demonstrating some of their bakes from the series. On my day (the Saturday – it runs for 4 days with different people each day), there was Luis Troyano, Sandy Docherty, Mat Riley and Tamal Ray.
Not only were the GBBO contestants demonstrating their skills, but I also spotted a few of them milling around and stopping for photo ops on more than one occasion.
As well as the GBBO stage there was also the Super Theatre stage where a host of celebrity chefs gave cooking demonstrations. My absolute highlight from this was watching Lisa Faulkner making a festive arctic roll. I’d watched her in Masterchef a few years back but I’d not caught any of her cooking programmes since. She was so lovely and friendly and her approach to cooking is so similar to mine – good tasting home cooked food, maybe it needs a bit of skill but nothing too fancy, I’m now completely converted into a fan.
I loved her demonstration so much I hopped straight over to the book signing session to snap up a copy of her book Tea and Cake and I even managed to get a cheeky picture taken with her too. A little word of warning, if you’re going to one of these shows in future, the bookstore was a touch on the pricey side compared to Amazon. If there’s a book you’re hoping to get signed then take it with you, you can always leave it in the cloakroom until the right time if you don’t want to lug it around.
Me and Lisa Faulkner, along with Luis Troyano and Eric Lanlard at their book signings
As well as the GBBO Stage and the Super Stage there was also a Baking and Decorating Classroom. Sadly I hadn’t realised that you need to book onto that in advance of the show so I wasn’t able to go along to any. I would have loved to have watched the Cake Decorating Skills session and the Piping Masterclass. That said, with the other two stages running almost non-stop all day I had more than enough to fill my day. Adding another stage into the mix would have become logistically tricky.
As I’ve said the highlight of the show for me was definitely the stages with the cooking demonstrations. However, another huge part of the show was all the stalls, very reminiscent of that trade show episode they have each year on The Apprentice.
To be completely honest I was a touch disappointed with the stalls, I had expected to be torn in every direction desperately trying not to buy 100s of fancy tins and cutters, but there weren’t all that many fancy tins and cutters to resist. Don’t get me wrong, there was plenty to look at, it just wasn’t the range of stalls I’d expected. There was lots of stands selling coffee and cakes (excellent 🙂 ), pretty kitchenware and kitchen gadgetry.
It was also extremely busy (I mean, I could barely move busy) so it wasn’t always easy to get close to the popular stalls to see what they had to offer. It did quieten down later in the day but there was demonstrations on the stages I didn’t want to miss in the afternoon so I couldn’t browse then.
A taste of the stalls
In a sign of my kitchen geekery, the stall I was most excited about was the Bake-O-Glide stand. I already own quite a few Bake-O-Glide sheets in various sizes (if you’re unfamiliar they’re essentially a non-stick reusable sheet – see I said I was a geek!) and wasted no time in buying a few more, as well as a fondant rolling sheet which I’ve already tested out and loved.
I was also excited to see bottles of Amarula (like Baileys but a bit fruitier) and snapped up a bottle.
As expected at this sort of show there were also a few really convincing demonstrations, I did impulse buy this little grater plate (great for peeling and grating garlic, I’ve not got the knack of zesting on it yet), and I so nearly bought a fancy blender.
There was also a cake decorating competition with some amazing skills on show. My favourite was this frozen cake…
All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable day, if you’re not a fan of GBBO/celebrity chefs then it may not be for you, but I am so I loved it!
Have you been to a Cake & Bake show before? What did you think?
Thanks to ao.com and Neff for giving me the tickets for the event x