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the cake & bake show, manchester – what happened

What a weekend that was! The Cake & Bake Show came to Manchester and I was involved in quite a few different elements ofย  the show (it was jam packed with so many exciting things happening). I think the weekend was on a par with the busiest time I have ever had, but I thoroughly enjoyed it all and am really looking forward to getting involved again next year!

I taught two different subjects across five classes over the weekend; how to carve a 3D parrot and how to paint acrylic-style onto cakes. Here is the grand entrance way to Manchester Central and my little mentions on the classroom signage. Seeing my name printed onto the big posters certainly increased my nervousness at the thought of demonstrating live to a room full of 50 people!

It all started with the 3D parrot cake. My good friend Neil Redfern came along to my first class to takes some photos of me at work. Here is a shot of the parrot cake waiting anxiously backstage before his big debut! I thought he looked angry when I first made him, but here, I definitely think his anger is turning to nerves ๐Ÿ˜‰

Image c/o Neil Redfern Photography

And here I am in the classroom! This class worked so well due to the bright colours and bold shapes, and I absolutely loved teaching it!

Image c/o Neil Redfern Photography

A few sneak peeks about how to carve and cover such an oddly shaped cake! As always, gotta love a fat animal cake ๐Ÿ™‚

Image c/o Neil Redfern Photography

Adding the details…

Image c/o Neil Redfern Photography

This is one of my favourite (read that as least painful to actually look at myself on film) photos of myself, answering questions at the end. I was so happy about how into it all the audience got, and their questions about what I was doing. A great day!

Image c/o Neil Redfern Photography

My classes weren’t the only things going on for me at the show. I also set up a dessert table display piece. I based the design around my White Swan cake from my new 2013 wedding cake collection, with matching ruffled cupcakes, feather and ruffle cake pops, brush embroidery cookies and meringue bites filled with dark chocolate ganache. The whole table had a feminine feel, offset by hints of black, and predominantly round shapes with a few angular pieces of tableware to add a bit of interest.

Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, a key piece of backdrop didn’t arrive in time for this so I set up the table after the show to demonstrate how it should have looked when completed. Dreamy ๐Ÿ™‚

A wedding cake design competition was being run at the show, entitled Cakes on the Catwalk. There was a real catwalk for them and everything, it was a great display and attracted crowds all weekend! For the professional category, the theme was Vintage Couture, where you had to take inspiration from the fashions of yesteryear, describing how your inspiration became a wedding cake reality. I decided to go bold or go home, and was inspired by the amazing hand-painted cover images from the early editions of Vogue magazine. This cover from 1926 really caught my eye, with the flapper dress, bold colours, different textures and flowing fabric. This is my interpretation:

I simplified the flapper dress into long angular ruffles, and incorporated the blue sky into one of the tiers, plus created 3D ruffled silver roses originally featured as part of the fabric of the shawl, which had hand painted gold patterns and a fringed edge. Cue lots of hand painted draped pearls (and a classic knotted string of pearls at the top), plus the model’s chunky jewellery was mirrored in the trim around the base tier. I was pretty pleased with my efforts and felt that I had created a striking and unique design from an unusual inspiration source ๐Ÿ™‚

What I haven’t mentioned is that I nearly broke my back delivering this cake! Due to very tight time constraints, I wasn’t able to set this cake up on site, which would be my normal practise, so I had to transport it stacked, and by the fact that it had to be made from real cake, it weighed a TONNE! I had several emergency pit stops (thanks so much to the ladies who whipped out an emergency chair to rest the cake on before I fell over with it) and apologies to the lady whose space I temporarily hijacked (it was a “This bad boy is landing, whether anyone likes it or not!” kind of situation), but overall, it arrived in one piece and my poor arms recovered after a short rest!

I then spent the morning with the BBC, being filmed for my spot on North West Tonight! I am definitely not a tv presenter or a professional interviewee, but I hopefully managed to give some good sound bites for them to use. You can watch me in the video clip linked at the bottom of this post. I was asked if I would create a cake to mark the occasion and so I created this, my Little Chef cake in The Cake & Bake Show corporate colours. I thought I would make it a little bit fun with some classic wedding cake style drapes and layers of pinched ruffles, all topped off by a little chef guy stirring a big bowl of purple cake mix. I love this photo of the two North West Tonight presenters, Rachael and Roger, with my cake at Media City!

Here are some little close ups of the detail: my happy little chef and the event’s logo:

I was interviewed by the ever-lovely Eno and filmed by Ben, possibly the most patient man on earth with the number of “Oh no, I’ve forgotten what I’m talking about!” or “That was embarrassing, can we start again?” moments that I had!! here is Eno interviewing Simon Rimmer (food hero!) and here are Eno and Ben together. What a great day!

And so finally, here it is, my moment of fame! The story was originally broadcast in a slightly shorter form at lunchtime, on Friday 5th April, but this is the full length version for the evening, featuring my cake (look out for it being devoured!) and an unbelievable reaction from the presenters who were unfortunately out on location that day. I love how the story starts and ends on the same point, makes me chuckle every time! (if you click on the filmstrip image, the video opens up in youtube).

I hope you enjoyed my little Cake & Bake Show story, and if you were there, I had hope you an amazing weekend!

Until next time,

Beth x



02/07/2013 - 4:21 pm

Ilona - Hi Beth, I really really love how you interpreted the vintage cover, it’s really fabulous! So creative ๐Ÿ™‚

18/08/2013 - 1:38 pm

cakesbybeth - Thank you very much! I thought I’d try and do something different with some unusual colours…plus I love metallic flowers ๐Ÿ™‚ xx