On 2nd – 4th October 2015 the Cake and Bake Show came to London. After having a successful 2014 show at Earls Court the show moved to London Excel in the wake of Earls Court being shut down for redevelopment.
Unlike last year (and I don’t know if the change of venue partly contributed) the event didn’t sell out so I got a ticket for Saturday and I went along to have a look and see what was on offer, hoping that it would be much less crowded than last year!
Once in the venue I saw that show guides were not free which was disappointing. Although boards with timetables were pinned up around the venue, these were few and far between and it was simply easier to buy one for quick reference. For £5 you got a show guide along with a bag filled with some random goodies to make it a bit more worthy of the money.
I didn’t get to see every live cook on the stage but I did have an extensive look around the exhibitors so here’s a few of my highlights and thoughts:
What flavour ice cream?
I did several walks round the show and I kept seeing one particular ice cream stall. Now, I really wasn’t at the show to eat ice cream but one of the flavours had me intrigued since I first saw it – carrot cake flavour. After being at the show for four hours I finally bought some. And it was probably one of the best decisions of the day. It was amazing. Actually amazing. I wondered how it had been made as there didn’t seem to be any cake in the mixture. It seemed like there was bits of carrot and date though along with the classic frosting flavour. This ice cream was magic and I’ll be keeping my eye out for it elsewhere. My biggest regret (and most spectacular blogging fail) was that I forgot to get the name of the stall / company that sold it.
Anyone that knows me knows that I’m a Biscoff fan, ever since the days when it was called Speculoos and I had it spread on a hot crêpe in Paris I have been in love with the stuff. Now known as Lotus Biscoff this spread is available to purchase in current supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s and will cost you roughly £2.25 a jar and you can choose between smooth and crunchy spreads. Buy it! It will be one of the best things you will ever taste. But I (kind of) digress… Anyway, while at the show I saw it from the distance. A small stall was calling to me and it was a Biscoff stall. Here staff were handing out free samples of Lotus biscuits and small pots of smooth spread. Suffice to say I walked past that stall a lot and filled my bag with free samples, because, why the hell not?! I can’t wait to bake some more Lotus cupcakes.
As well as the free samples Lotus also have different merchandise on display. This (strangely) wasn’t available to buy but one of the girls saw me pick up the new Lotus Biscoff baking book and said that it was coming out soon. So I had a quick peruse and took a few photos. It seems like this book is not the same as the one you can already buy but as I don’t have either I might get the original edition to be getting on with. The Lotus angels also told me that mini Lotus biscuit (perfect for adorning cupcakes) will be hitting the shops soon. You can find some tasty Biscoff recipes here.
The garlic plate!
Although this really doesn’t have much to do with baking and cakes what with garlic being savoury, I first saw this plate last year when I was short on cash at Foodies Festival in Oxford. This year I was prepared with my money – a plate will cost you £10, but the seller wasn’t there. I was so disappointed so I gave up on buying one (I like to buy plates in person to avoid chips, cracks and not altogether great paint jobs). That is, until I got to the Cake and Bake Show! Strangely the show had a vendor selling plates so I snapped one up so I didn’t miss out again. The plate is actually multi-purpose as you can grate many things on it, including ginger, chocolate and nutmeg etc. These plates are an awesome invention and saves wasting garlic that may otherwise be wasted when it doesn’t press properly through a hand press. If you want to buy one online because you’re not as fussy as me, you can buy through Amazon here.
These were just a few highlights for me. I also saw Eric Lanlard bake on the super stage and had a look around market street. Although I bought a few things, namely a garlic plate and some food, the show seemed to cater to those that liked cake as opposed to those that were hardcore bakers. There were lots of icing rollers, cake toppers and confetti for sale alongside cake cases but most of the show was dedicated to things that could easily be purchased elsewhere or were already made. As someone that likes to bake, it might have been nice to have more producers involved with the show selling things that you can’t grab from your local supermarket. Different flours, or sugars might have been nice. I’ll see how the show grows over time in the new Excel London venue but overall it’s a great show to attend, especially if you haven’t been before.
The Cake and Bake Show runs at various locations throughout the UK so I recommend checking out your local show in either London, Manchester or Edinburgh when it’s in town.