Day Out | Visiting the Cake & Bake Show at the ExCel London

I have been looking forward to going to The Cake & Bake Show for ages, pretty much most of this year. When it came to getting tickets I had my fingers crossed that Money Saving Expert would be giving some away for free, which of course they were, however I missed the moment that they went on sale and by the time I got there all the weekend tickets had already gone! Luckily I was able to score two tickets to the opening day on a Friday and I convinced Harry to take a long birthday weekend (it was his birthday the Monday after) so that we could go! It didn't take us too long to get there as we decided to drive and park onsite, even though the parking cost is £15.00, as it meant that we didn't need to faff about with different trains. 

Literature themed cakes at the cake and bake show

Once we were inside we found that it wasn't very crowded at all, although it was still quite early, so we were able to have a good look around the market stalls and decide what we wanted to see throughout the day. We bought a guide and a map for £5.00 that also came with some baking samples to try and coupons but if I'm being honest you could easily get around without these. The show had a couple of classrooms that were sectioned off close to the walls, a main stage, a Great British Bake Off themed stage, a section full of food stalls with pretty pink canopies (my favourite), a huge number market stalls and some demonstrations too. It sounds like a bit of a maze, which at times it could be, but it was mostly easy to get to where we wanted to be. 

One of the best bits was seeing all the amazing cakes that had been entered by both amateurs and professionals into this years competition based on the theme of children's books.  They were all so detailed you wouldn't believe that they can be eaten! Of course our favourites were the Harry Potter and Disney themed ones but the Hogwarts castle cake with the book that had the first pages of The Philosopher's Stone iced onto it was definitely, 100%, the best. Harry attempted to film as we looked around the display table but it was very crowded around these cakes so we only have a little bit of footage to show you!

Snacks at the cake and bake show.

After walking around all the stalls and eyeing up all the things we, oh ok, I wanted to buy it was time for a break. There were so many different tasty treats to choose from but being surrounded by cake made us crave something a bit more savoury so we opted for these gourmet sausage rolls from Pig In The Middle. Mine was a tikka spiced sausage with mango chutney and it was absolutely delicious while Harry's was either Sweet Chilli or BBQ, I can't remember! They were really good and really filling too. We stopped to eat while watching Rosemary Shrager on the main stage before having another look around the stalls. This time I had to buy a piping bag set that I had seen being demonstrated because it made piping look so easy and it came with the large star-shaped nozzle that I  have wanted for ages! I find it really difficult to ice cakes, and to know which nozzle does what, so being able to have a go myself was really great. I also loved the look of some vintage style pretty aprons but I resisted buying one and will be making some hints before Christmas! You really could find anything and everything to do with baking at one of the stalls, from ingredients to decorations to bakeware and accessories.

Frances Quinn at the cake and bake show.

By this point we were ready for something sweet so I picked up a 'Brownie Bomb' (which is a ball of brownie, with a salted caramel or peanut butter centre, covered in milk chocolate) and Harry chose a 'Corker' (a cookie stuffed with a brownie!) from The Brownie Bar which to my dismay is based all the way up in Newcastle! We decided to sit on the benches in front of the Great British Bake Off Stage as I wanted to get a good spot to watch former winner Frances Quinn and, as it was getting towards the end of the day, we were a bit tired too. Frances was great fun to watch. She demonstrated how to make her 'toast' and 'sandwich' cakes made from a classic sponge and topped with her version of cheesy beans (which was really nuts in caramel sauce and marzipan). We learnt more about her too such as how her design background has influenced how she creates her bakes and we got to take a peek inside the sketchbook she used while she was taking part in GBBO too (spoiler alert: it's amazing!). 

Me standing in front of the Great British Bake Off Live sign

I was very tempted to buy Frances's book, Quintessential Baking, as she was doing a book-signing after her slot on the Bake Off stage however it was a little out of my price range as Amazon has meant that I never pay the RRP on anything these days! Harry was very impressed by her too, although a bit disappointed not to see his favourite, Richard Burr, who was on the stage the next day. Frances's style of baking is right up Harry's street as, well, he likes to show off! Overall it was such a fun day and surprising laid back too. There was a nice atmosphere and all the celebrities seemed very relaxed to be chatting away to people. I'd definitely like to go back next year and hopefully improve my baking skills in the meantime too!



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