My plan was originally to post a daily digest from each day of Cake International, but I think, somewhat naively, I didn’t realise just how busy I would be, between entering the competitions, co-hosting an exhibit, capturing content for you guys, meeting up with my oh-so-lovely cake chums, checking in with the many wonderful brands that have supported me in my cakey and charitable endeavours and of course, attending the Cake World’s biggest party, the Cake Masters Magazine Annual Cake Awards! So instead, I thought I would save it all up for one monster post and share the rest of all the Cake International fun right now.
When I left you, I was just heading to bed in the early hours of Saturday morning after a first full day of dragon fun. After a sneaky lie-in, I woke up to some amazing news. My competition piece, which you may recall I had all but given up on this time last week, had won me another silver award! I was utterly gobsmacked and genuinely thrilled that all my last-minute hard work had paid off. I have fallen hopelessly in love with my Paddington bear cake, following our rocky journey together, and I love that he proved so popular with many of the visitors to the show!
Arriving back at the NEC on Saturday, after a brief dragon flyby, it was time to explore the show! The sheer number of incredible displays and collaborations meant that there was so much to see and do!
Thank you to Robby Dee Photography for the special permission to use his image. Robby works tirelessly across the Cake International weekend to capture the full event in all its glory and you can find the rest of his stunning images over at his site: www.robbydeephotography.co.uk
Of course, all of this doesn’t even begin to factor in the many hundreds of beautiful competition cakes on display all weekend!
A big highlight of the Saturday though had to be the grand finale of The Cake Off, hosted by Will Torrent and my darling Rosie Cake Diva.
After the earlier heats at the spring shows, the final, judged by Chef Benny Rivera, Cake International head judge Sally Owens and Dawn Butler, pitted Cake That (Molly Robbins and Phil & Christine of Peboryon) against the Welsh Cakes (Rhianydd Webb, Paul Williams and Cara Maiden). Naturally I had to cheer on my Welsh brother and sisters, but I have to say, both teams managed to create utter masterpieces in only 45 minutes! I was completely thrilled when #teamwales were crowned the victors with this awesome Medusa-themed cake!
It was also on Saturday that I discovered this wee chap had made his Page 3 debut in the Daily Mirror, although, for the record, Paddington is made out of 100% cake – I never work in polystyrene!
Saturday evening saw us all getting our glad rags on to celebrate the brightest and best of the Cake World at the annual Cake Masters Magazine Awards, in their new larger home. Rosie and her team at Cake Masters never fail to lay on a fantastic night and I think this year’s bash might just have been the best yet! It’s always the highlight of my social calendar! Congratulations again to all the finalists and winners!
After a VERY late night at the after party (oops), Sunday was hard work. On The Magical Dragon Machine stand, we were joined by Hendrix from Coffee 4 Craig, the charity we had chosen to support, who cut up the dragon and helped us box it up ready to be distributed to homeless people in and around the Greater Manchester area.
The team from Snow White: the Grimm Obsession also generously donated loads of leftover cake from their live build to the charity (thanks Emma and team) and then Sweet Success followed suit too.
It was truly inspiring to see and a memory I will treasure always.
I also made sure to race around and catch as many people and organisations as I could, before we all had to say goodbye again for another year (sob!). It was so lovely to see everyone, particularly my absolute loves, Hayley and Michael of Fabricake!
And of course, Robin and Brian from Evil Cake Genius who I simply adore (thank you for my presents guys!).
I must also give a huge shout out and thank you to the lovely team at Renshaw Baking and the Renshaw Academy (and Kayleigh in particular) for taking the time to track me down and give me some of their new goodies. I always use Renshaw products as they are so accessible to home bakers like me (they’ve even starting stocking some of them in my local supermarket!) and it means a lot that they have offered me so much support over the last year. I’m looking forward to sharing their newest lines with you in another post coming soon!
Thank you to everyone that contributed to making this weekend such a huge roaring success. It really is an incredible event and if you haven’t visited before, you must in 2018! I’m already hearing next year is set to be the best one yet!
Much cakey love!
PS. This weekend also saw the release of the November issue of Cake Masters Magazine, featuring a very special Christmas tutorial! Winter the Grumpy Pug marks the final chapter in my Grumpy Pug collection and I am delighted to be able to share him with you in my first published tutorial.
Cake Masters Magazine November issue is out now and available to buy in the UK at WHSmith, Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s. For international stockists or to subscribe, visit the Cake Masters website.