A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be a judge at The Great Didsbury Bake Off, a position for which I felt I had been in training my entire life. In practice, it was everything I've ever dreamed of - a sea of cake requiring my immediate consideration. A sea of almost fifty cakes, in fact, which left me washed up, adrift on the shores of gluttony, and swearing that I would never eat cake ever, ever again.
Well, all that's out the window now, for it's almost time for the return of the splendid Cake & Bake Show. This year's show looks to be even better than last year's, running at Manchester Central from 4th-6th April and offering the following:
- Celebrities at the show include Rosemary Shrager, GBBO winner John Whaite, Simon Rimmer, Eric Lanlard, Britain's Best Bakery's Mich Turner & Peter Sidwell as well as this year's Great British Bake Off winner Frances Quinn along with other familiar faces from the show: Kimberley Wilson, Glenn Cosby and Christine Wallace.
- A 'Welcome to the Jungle' cake installation, the largest cake installation the UK has ever seen - a walk in jungle created by CakeBomb. Everything will be edible, from the leaves and the grass to over 1700 handcrafted flowers and animals including a life-size baby elephant. It has taken a team of 20 over 6000 hours to create ahead of the show - which of course leaves me thinking that I will go blundering clumsily in with a million shopping bags full of cake purchases and knock the lot flat in seconds. You can see a sneaky preview here alongside some fine acting skills from John Whaite.
- A Nielsen-Massey Cupcakes and Cocktails Bar with cupcakes made by Cake Boy (aka Eric Lanlard, aka hot Frenchman) and cocktails created by VANILLA.
- Experiential stands from companies such as Billington's as well as live cake decorating.
- Hands on free modelling sessions with Renshaw - I need this class, as I have some Renshaws icing in my pantry (not a euphemism) and have not the slightest idea what to do with it.
- Hundreds of stands offering the latest sugarcraft and baking equipment as well as delicious cakes, breads and pies - my advice is to go to Bradley's Bakery for one of their mighty pies early doors, as they sold out early last year and I had to have a little cry behind some macarons.
Tickets are a very reasonable £14.50 - see The Cake & Bake website for more details. And if you want a flavour of what the show is all about, here's an, ahem, most informative blog post all about last year's show. See you there - I'll be the one in the roomy cake-eating pants...