Today, I went down to London for the first day of the Cake & Bake Show. Filling the main hall at the Earls Court exhibition centre, this was the biggest food show I've been to. And, since it's devoted entirely to baking, I was prepared for it to also be far and away the sweetest. (Thankfully there were a few savoury stalls, too, because after a couple of hours of sugary samples I was desperate for a break.)
In general, I try to adopt a strategy of seeing everything before buying anything - but even with smaller shows I often struggle to find my way back to the things I wanted to get. So although it seems like a good idea, this doesn't always work out for me in practice, and my guard slipped a couple of times as we wandered the aisles. (It's definitely a good strategy, though, if you're organised enough. A couple of times we came across very similar products from two or more different stalls, sometimes at a rather different price.)
There was a good mixture of stands featuring everything from pre-made baked goods to kitchen equipment, unusual ingredients, and decorating supplies. Brands ranged from behemoths like Lakeland and Sainsburys, down to tiny artisan bakers, and even Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital who were promoting their Bake It Better fundraising campaign.
I came away with a huge bag laden with samples and purchases - Bonne Maman jam, Snowdonia cheese, Higgidy pies, assorted sprinkles and extracts, and quite a stack of recipe cards. I bought three chocolate transfer sheets, a kind of product I only learnt about very recently and am really excited to try. I also brought home a couple of brownies and cupcakes to share with Andy this evening; he wouldn't want to spend all day at a baking exhibition, but he certainly doesn't object to sharing my discoveries!
All in all, it was a great show, and the only reason I didn't buy more was because I already own pretty much all the bakeware and sugarcrafting kit you could hope to sell to me. You can find more information on this and forthcoming Cake & Bake Shows on their website.
My press pass!
Most of the "Wedding Cakes of the Future" exhibits looked a little bit like wedding cakes of the present, but this toppled design was quite striking.
You can never have too many sprinkles, right? These weren't the big jars.
The rainbow of edible glitter was quite tempting.
I was pleased to spot the Clandestine Cake Club stand, since I've been to the Gloucester club a couple of times. Unfortunately it was a bit too crowded to get a decent photo of the display, but that just goes to show how popular the club is these days!
Tilting cakes seem to be all the rage - I loved these purple flowers.
More yummy cupcakes - sadly it wasn't possible to sample them all!