I’ve been to the London Cake & Bake Show a couple of times now, and while I enjoyed the show, the Earl’s Court venue isn’t my favourite.
The show happens twice a year, with the second event held at Manchester Central, and I’d heard that the bright and airy former railway station made a great venue. So when Neff Appliances offered to pay for my train ticket if I could come to their Bake it Yourself event, I jumped at the chance. Even if it did mean a 5am start!
I arrived at the venue at 10am, just in time for the event. Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite was leading the proceedings, demonstrating Neff’s “Slide & Hide” ovens.
Now I’m not much of a baker, but I do like my gadgets, and these ovens are really quite cool. When opened, the oven door slides fully inside the oven, but the clever part is that the oven somehow manages to maintain the temperature it has been set at, even when fully opened. I’m not entirely sure how this works – we were told it was something to do with airflow, but I’m pretty sure it was magic.
Suffice to say I want one.
After being forced to eat cupcakes and drink tea (it’s a hard life), it was time to take a look around the show. Lucky for me, it didn’t open to the public until 11am, so I had some time to go around and take some photos before the crowds came in.
The theme for this year’s show was “Welcome To The Jungle” and there were plenty of jungle themed cakes on display.
I’m not hugely in to sugarcraft myself (I like cake I can eat rather than just look at!), but there’s no denying that some of the creations were spectacular. There were gorillas, lions, monkeys, snakes, and even dragons lovingly crafted from sugar.
As the crowds came in, I went in search of chocolate. Although not strictly a chocolate show, I wasn’t disappointed. Paul A Young, The Chocolatier and Fiona Sciolti were all there, along with several other chocolate sellers that were new to me.
My most intriguing find was probably Sugar 245′s artisan marhsmallows – specifically a little creation made with squid ink and Dandelion Chocolate. Needless to say I bought some, although I’ve not actually tried it yet. Expect a review soon!
I was pleasantly surprised to see a lot more savoury baked goods on display than I remember from the London show too. There was plenty of bread, a liberal sprinkling of pies and a generous helping of sausage rolls and bacon baps to be tried. It could be my imagination, but there seemed to be more of an emphasis on baking and a little less on the sugar craft and decorating, which for me makes it a much better experience.
Finally, a word about the venue. Manchester Central is a joy compared to Earl’s Court. Its massively high ceiling, natural daylight and rectangular layout make for a great experience. It’s not the biggest venue in the world, but The Cake & Bake Show filled the space perfectly. I will be back!