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Mr Baker’s Blog on Tour: Day Five

Today it was the turn of my gorgeous friend and local Boltonian star, Kay Gajra of Kaykes to have me shadowing her (or basically following her around like a bad smell) as she delivered an incredible showpiece cake to the Bolton Food & Drink Festival, to celebrate James Martin’s tenth year of supporting the event.

Before we get into the events of the day, can we all just take a minute to appreciate the sheer amount of work that Kay has put into this cake?!

She explained that she wanted to make the cake as personal as possible, so lots of research was required to ensure that all those special details were spot on:

“When James first saw it, he was clearly a bit taken aback – possibly even a little overwhelmed and choked up – calling his mum and his sous chef to come and check it out!”

“He was even telling all the press about it during his interviews, saying I was ‘on another level’. I’m absolutely over the moon that he liked it – it clearly really meant something to him to have something that wasn’t just the norm.”

Kay had sent me a lil’ preview of the cake over the weekend and I have been in total awe ever since. However, the pictures couldn’t even begin to compare to seeing it in the flesh. It really was incredible! As Kay’s cakes always are!

Obviously, I had to stick around to catch one of James’ demonstrations too, during which he whipped up a Tomahawk Steak, with a lobster mac ‘n cheese, some delicious looking eggy mozzarella parcels, with a flavoursome tomato sauce and a Funnel Cake cake with a blueberry and gin compote.

And while he cooked, guests were treated to a slice of fresh strawberry cake – the recipe that James prepared during his first ever Bolton Food & Drink Festival demo, ten long years ago!

The other big event today, as far as us caking types were concerned, was the Official Bolton Food & Drink Festival Cake Competition. 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 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.

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.

The standard of the entries was really high and the judges certainly had their work cut out.

Despite some disagreements within the judging panel – nothing better than some lively debate – they ultimately chose these incredible entries as their winners.

Under 16 Winner – Emily Newcombe, Adult Hobby Winner – Becky Wareing and Adult Professional Winner – Lisa Elliott.

Special congratulations must go to Becky Wareing for also scooping the Best in Show prize!

Once the competition was over and our winners had been crowned, it was unfortunately time for me to say goodbye to Bolton, as I headed off on the next stage of my road trip adventures. With all the riotous fun of the last few days, you could be forgiven for forgetting that the main reason for my tour is to collect some of the amazing contributions to my secret collaboration project.

With that in mind, the next stop on my journey was to Beverley, in East Yorkshire to visit Julie Rogerson of Julie’s Cake in a Box. Julie has created some incredible pieces for our project and I can’t wait for you to see them next month! Thank you for having me Julie and thank you for all your hard work – I love them!

Then it was back to one of my favourite places in Cakedom, Zoe’s Fancy Cakes in Leeds!

Home of Zoe Hopkinson and partner Richard, Zoe’s beautiful store is where I took park in my wonderful class with Carla Puig earlier this year and it was wonderful to be back again. Zoe was just finishing off the tail end of her fabulous Horse Model Making Class (literally, they were on the tails) when I arrived and I have to say a massive well done to all of the course participants – all of the models looked amazing!

Then we were off out to dinner, where I allowed Zoe to take my Nando’s virginity. Did you know, they have FOUR different types of veggie burger?! I actually really enjoyed my meal, so thanks for the recommendation, Zoe – and the fabulous company of course!

Tomorrow is an incredibly busy day, as I’ll be scooting back to Manchester to judge a Charity Bake Off and THEN I’m heading up to Glasgow!

If you want to find out why, be sure to hit the subscribe button to the right (or at the bottom of the page if on mobile) and don’t forget to hit confirm in the email I send you.

See you then!

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