Welcome to Something Sweet 29 – AKA the Mr Baker’s Blog on Tour Special!
If you have been following my adventures over the last week-and-a-half, then you will know that I have been touring the mainland UK (well, except Wales – so really, I have just been touring England and Scotland, but shhh…) and so in honour of that, I thought it would be fun to theme this week’s issue all around my tour adventures (where possible).
So yes, let’s recap the nine days, ten towns/cities, 1420 miles and countless amazingly talented cake artists that made up Mr Baker’s Blog on Tour 2018…
Oh, and do make sure you read on right to the end, to check out my exclusive end-of-tour subscriber giveaway!
What’s new on the blog this week?
Where have you been? As I literally JUST mentioned above, I have been on a tour of the north of England and Scotland over the last ten days, visiting a load of my cakey chums and filling each of my days with lots of cakey fun!
I posted a new blog post EVERY SINGLE DAY, which never happens (and I’m not sure it will happen again to be honest, because #exhausting!), but just in case you have missed any of them, I thought I would give you some highlights of my tour adventures. Apologies if there is any repetition from last week’s issue, but if there is, you can always just skim on through.
Day one saw me head off on the first stage of my journey and check into the hotel that would form my base of operations while I explored Bolton and Manchester. Find my day one blog here.
On day two, I shadowed Extreme Cake Maker, Rosie Cake-Diva as she delivered an incredible showpiece cake to the Bolton Food & Drink Festival, attending the VIP launch event and then helping transfer the cake to its permanent home for the rest of the festival. Read more about my day with Rosie here.
On day three, it was time to explore the delights of the Bolton Food & Drink Festival properly, starting with a fabulous cookery demonstration and brunch with Nadiya Hussain, after which I hung around after for a chat – she’s even lovelier in person and now I want to be her best friend! I also finally got to meet up with the creators of the #GBBOTwitterBakeAlong, the Baking Nanna and Rob Allen, and took in a few of the local chef’s demos – including 2015’s MasterChef champion, Simon Wood and Bake Off 2014’s Luis Troyano. Find day three here.
Day four saw Rosie and I head to the Sunday Club – a night of gourmet burgers, comedy, celebrity chefs and much hilarity. It was fairly NSFW, but you can read more about it here.
Day five was a serious cake-filled affair – Kay Gajra of Kaykes delivered an incredible showpiece cake to the show to celebrate James Martin’s ten years of supporting the festival, which was as insanely good as you would expect from super-talented Kay; I also took in a demonstration from James Martin, during which we were served another very special cake; and today also saw the official Bolton Food & Drink Festival cake competition, which was judged by Kay, ably assisted by a team of experts that included Greenhalgh’s bakery boss David Smart, Aldi Logistics Director Virgil Simpson, Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Linda Thomas and Molly Robbins of Molly’s Creative Cakes.
And then, if all that wasn’t enough, I then headed over to first Beverley and then Leeds to visit Julie Rogerson of Julie’s Cake in a Box and Zoe of Zoe’s Fancy Cakes – where I collected some fabulous additions to my upcoming collaboration and had my first ever Nando’s. Read more about day five here.
On day six, I headed back to Manchester to judge a charity bake off in aid of Centrepoint Manchester, before heading up to Glasgow to meet up with Etty van Urk of Cake Dutchess. Read my day six blog post here.
Day seven saw me meet up with Etty once again to get an exclusive sneak peek of the final mock up of Etty’s new book, before it heads to the printers next week and it looks amazing, by the way! Then it was time to head back below the border to Liverpool. I did debate a quick jaunt over to Wales along the way, just so I could say that I had visited all of the three mainland countries, but instead, I went to my hotel and had a nap – much as I imagine rock stars do when they are on tour… 😉 Read all about day seven.
In the last of my dedicated posts, day eight saw me head to the amazing Renshaw Academy for the first time ever, taking in a fabulous class with the one-and-only Emma Jayne Cake Design while I was there. It was an absolutely brilliant day, so if you haven’t managed to check out my post all about my day at the Academy yet, then you can find it here.
I’m afraid that the last day of my tour didn’t get its own blog post, mainly because it involved A LOT of driving. I started in Liverpool (where my hotel very kindly allowed me to use the fire escape to load up my car with all of the incredible collaboration pieces that I have been collecting on my travels – thank you!), before heading to meet up with Hayley O’Beirnes of Gadget Cakes in Birmingham. After a late lunch with Hayley, I proceeded to get stuck in an awful lot of traffic before eventually getting to Sarah Bray of Daisy Cakes’ house in Wokingham and then it was on to Laura Dodimead of Life in Sugar’s in Farnham, before finally heading home!
I left Liverpool at 11am and I eventually got home at 9.30pm. So yes, a lot of driving and not a lot of exciting content for you to read about I’m afraid. But I hope you have enjoyed the rest of my daily blogs during the tour – let me know which one was your favourite in the comments below.
Have you heard…?
Speaking of Kay Gajra of Kaykes, did you see that this week she was announced as the GSARN artist of the month for August?
I love Kay’s work (and Kay herself) and I am thrilled that she has received this recognition.
She regularly produces cakes of an incredibly high standard and has really nailed her signature style – a Kaykes cake is immediately recognisable.
Cake Show Showcase:
If you haven’t been following the Northern Irish Sugar Expo page over on Facebook, you might have missed out on some of the incredible guest announcements that have been coming out of our HQ over the last few weeks!
Already confirmed to be appearing at the festival are Rosie Cake-Diva, Benny Rivera of City Cakes, New York, Kara Andretta of Kara’s Couture Cakes, Aaron McInnis of Man versus Cake, Michelle Boyd of Good Gracious Cakes and Claire Anderson of Clairella Cakes!
This week, they posted a teaser about yet another incredible guest tutor and it’s a bit of a head scratcher.
The clue is that it’s a cake artist particularly well-known for their selfies…? Hmmm…
Think you might know? Head to the original post and add your selfie!
The hottest ticket in town!
In honour of my amazing day at the Renshaw Academy, this week’s hottest ticket has got to be any of the amazing upcoming classes at my favourite brand’s fabulous teaching space.
In the next few months alone, they will be welcoming Zoe Hopkinson of Zoe’s Fancy Cakes back with her Basic Figure Modelling Class (which I have taken and it’s brilliant – read about it here), Jacqui Kelly’s 3D Unicorn Cake Class, Jacqui Kelly’s Steampunk Chocolate Dragon Class, Molly Robbins’ two-day Baby Orangutan Cake Class, Emma Jayne’s two-day Unicorn Bust Modelling Class (I want to take this one!), Michelle Smith is coming all the way from Australia to teach her Chalkboard Stencil Cake Class and her Vintage Spring Cake Class, Georgie Godbold’s Pumpkin Cake Carving Class, Rhianydd Webb’s Marbling and Sharp Edges Class, Reva Alexander-Hawk’s Floral Buttercream Techniques Class and Emma Jayne’s two-day Puss in ‘Kinky’ Boots Class – and these are ALL before the end of November!
They genuinely have a class for every ability, regardless of where you are in your caking journey!
If you would like to visit Renshaw’s fabulous dedicated teaching space and take one of these classes from the incredible Renshaw Academy tutors, you can visit the Renshaw Academy website to check out the fantastic array of classes currently on offer.
The Collaboration Station
This week, The Cake Collective published their latest collaboration, Gone Too Soon – A Cake Collective Collaboration – a collection to highlight the issue of those suffering with mental health problems often in isolation and to commemorate the memories of some of those who were taken from us too soon as a result.
Created by almost fifty talented artists from all around the globe, the collection is filled with truly touching tributes to many of our brightest stars, whose lights were sadly dimmed too soon.
Assembled by The Cake Collective member, Sharon Siriwardena of Sharon’s Creative Explosion Cakes, the collaboration is truly a triumph, which features so many stunning pieces.
As always, I can only post a mere selection of them here, so be sure to head to the collaborations dedicated Facebook page to check out the rest of the awe-inspiring collection. You can find it here.
Gone Too Soon is a collection that was brought to life by members of The Cake Collective, a Facebook group dedicated to all things collaboration, which welcomes any cake or sugar artist wishing to get involved in collaborations. Skill level doesn’t matter as it’s all about the enjoyment factor.
Meanwhile on Twitter…
As I mentioned last week, the return of The Great British Bake Off also signalled the return of the #GBBOTwitterBakeAlong, hosted by Jackie Heaton and Rob Allen – who I met up with during my road trip.
They are already completely blown away by the sheer numbers of people that are joining in with the fun this year, which is now sponsored by Great British Chefs.
Each week, all of those who wish to join in are encouraged to attempt one of the three challenges from that week’s Bake Off episode, posting their results to Twitter, with the hashtag: #GBBOTwitterBakeAlong.
If you fancy joining in with the #GBBOTwitterBakeAlong, head over to Twitter and make sure you are following Jackie at @thebakingnanna1 and Rob at @Rob_C_Allen and tune in to the hashtag #GBBOTwitterBakeAlong after next week’s episode of The Great British Bake Off.
While you’re there, why not give me a follow too at @MrBakersCakes?! I look forward to seeing your GBBO bakes!
*whispers* I haven’t actually had time to attempt my own bake along challenge yet – fancy starting the new series of Bake Off while I was on tour, eh?! I might have to double up next week…
Cake of the Week!
Again, inspired by my tour, this week’s winner has to be my favourite entry at the Bolton Food & Drink Festival’s official cake competition.
The festival was looking for people with a love of baking who would like to be in with a chance of winning some wonderful prizes, including premium stand mixers, a hamper of goodies from the show’s headline sponsor Aldi and a complete airbrush system from Spectrum Flow.
Whether a budding amateur or an experienced pro, entrants were invited to join in with the festival’s fabulous cake-making competition to design and make a show-stopping cake to represent the traditional festival theme – with a fun edge and a focus on entertainment!
The competition entries were judged by a panel of experts, including Kay Gajra, Greenhalgh’s bakery boss David Smart, Aldi Logistics Director Virgil Simpson, Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Linda Thomas and Molly Robbins of Molly’s Creative Cakes and, luckily they agreed with my choice, crowning Becky Wareing the overall winner.
I loved her take on the theme and was particularly impressed that she was one of the hobby entries – rather than one of the professionals.
Congratulations on your win Becky and on being this week’s well-deserved Cake of the Week!
As you may have seen, Kay and Becky’s fabulous cakes weren’t the only showstoppers to grace the Bolton Food & Drink Festival with their presence.
Star of Extreme Cake Makers and my dear friend, Rose Dummer AKA Rosie Cake-Diva created this incredible showpiece cake and delivered it to the VIP launch event to celebrate the £6million refurbishment currently taking place at the Bolton Museum, which contains an incredible collection of around 12,000 objects from over 65 sites in Egypt.
Rose’s huge mummy and sarcophagus cake was then transferred to the Market Place Shopping Centre, where it was displayed throughout the festival alongside the Market Place’s Egyptian Adventure experience, before being donated to Urban Outreach – a charity that supports the most disadvantaged, vulnerable and complex adults and young people in Bolton.
It was an incredible sight to behold and I know that visitors to the festival were completely shocked to discover that the display was entirely edible.
Rose’s cake will be appearing on the new series of Extreme Cake Makers, which returns to our screens today! Catch up with all your favourite Extreme Cakers at 6pm this evening on Channel 4.
Oh and in case you’re wondering, my knee is gradually getting better – although a day on my feet on Thursday, followed by a whole day of driving on Friday didn’t help!
Thank you so much to everybody who was a part of making this tour such a wonderful experience – Rose and Jamie Dummer, the Bolton Food & Drink Festival team at Bolton Council, Michael Caines, Nadiya Hussain, Luis Troyano, Simon Wood, the Baking Nanna, Rob Allen, Andrew Nutter, Mike Harrison, Steve Royle, Kay Gajra, James Martin, Julie Rogerson, Zoe Hopkinson, Richard Eccles, the staff of QA Manchester, Etty van Urk, Kayleigh McDonough and the rest of the team at Renshaw and Renshaw Academy, Emma Jayne Morris, Hayley O’Beirnes, Sarah Bray, Laura Dodimead and anyone else I have missed in my sleep-addled state!
It has been an incredible week-and-a-half and I can’t wait to do it all again next year!
I might have to find a sponsor though – or else I’ll be living on Super Noodles for the rest of 2019…
Tour Souvenir Poster giveaway…
Thank you also to all of you that have been following along with my adventures. In celebration of a successful tour, I do have a little souvenir to give away to one lucky subscriber!
At each stop along the way of my tour, I have had the wonderful individuals that I have met up with sign a couple of Mr Baker’s Blog on Tour posters – one for me, of course and one of them could be yours!
The posters feature signatures from Etty van Urk of the Cake Dutchess; Kay Gajra of Kaykes; Zoe Hopkinson of Zoe’s Fancy Cakes; Luis Troyano of The Great British Bake Off 2014; Julie Rogerson of Julie’s Cake in a Box; James Martin (yes, THE James Martin!); Rose Dummer AKA Rosie Cake Diva, of Extreme Cake Makers fame; Double Michelin-starred chef, Michael Caines; Creators of the #GBBOTwitterBakeAlong, The Baking Nanna and Rob Allen; Extreme Cake Maker, Molly Robbins; Emma Jayne of Emma Jayne Cake Design; Hayley O’Beirnes of Gadget Cakes; Nadiya Hussain of The Great British Bake Off 2015; and of course… me!
To get your hands on one, you just need to ensure you are subscribed to Mr Baker’s Blog via the box on the right (or at the bottom of the page if on mobile)* and comment ‘Done!’ on this week’s post over on my Facebook page, which you can find here.
And don’t forget to share the post with any of your friends that you think would love to add some of these rather fabulous autographs to their collection too!
The competition closes at midnight on Friday 7th September and I’ll announce the winner in next week’s issue of Something Sweet.
*You will also need to hit confirm in the email that I send you.
Don’t forget to get in touch this week to tell me all about what your corner of the cake world is talking about; to share which tools or products you are loving this week; to tell me about any exciting events or classes you have coming up; to share any recipes or tutorials you have discovered this week and are dying to try; and about anything else that has grabbed your attention on Planet Cake.
And of course, don’t forget to nominate your suggestions for the Cake of the Week. Maybe it’s one you have seen or perhaps it’s one of your own!
You can submit your contributions by messaging my Facebook page, by posting in the dedicated Mr Baker’s Blog from Mr Baker’s Cakes Facebook group or by emailing me directly.
I look forward to hearing from you!