Saturday in Manchester turned out to be a lovely sunny day, and I spent it exploring the Cake and Bake Show at Manchester Central. It was a very busy event full of excited local baking enthusiasts, which made it quite hard to navigate around, but now I’m definitely buzzing with ideas and a desire to get baking!
From exquisite examples of sugarcraft to homely-looking baked goods, for me this show was all about inspiration. I loved the themed dessert tables by the entrance – notably a quirky carnival with tin can cupcakes and coconut shy cake pops, a lavish vintage rose and gold display on a bed of book pages and antique mirrors, and the “Spring has Sprung” English garden display, which more than anything else I just wanted to devour.
The show was filled stalls and things to inspire and to buy, from equipment and ingredients to actual baked goods themselves, and it was great to see and have access to such a great array and variety of exhibitors.
There were also big demonstration stages and schedule of presentations throughout the weekend (sadly missed out on the Silver Fox Paul Hollywood who was there on the Friday), plus showcase displays – the dessert tables mentioned earlier; the gingerbread village; and the cake catwalk.
I made a stop off to see Trex who’d been kind enough to provide me with a ticket to the event. I knew very little about the product before this week, but the credentials were good – established in the 1930s it has no hydrogenated fats, e-numbers, colours or preservatives and is lower in saturated fat than butter. I believe it’s often used for buttercream as its white colour makes it very suitable. What would initially put me off trying it in my baking would be the need to adjust recipe butter quantities by 20%, which seems a bit risky with a new recipe. However I picked up a couple of their recipe cards and there are several more on their website to try. I reckon I’d start there (possibly the fruit crumble!) and see whether I’m happy with the taste. If so I’d go ahead and try adapting some of my other recipes.
One comment from the event would be that more of the ingredients and produce companies could benefit from providing taster samples. A few were doing this as we passed, and for me it’s a much surer way of encouraging people to want to buy/try something. Not just because it’s fun to get a sample (tee hee) but if you’re considering baking with a new product you really need to know how the final product is going to taste!
So I’ve come away with a pile of freebie recipe cards and a whole bunch of baking ideas in general -definitely a worthwhile event for any baking enthusiast.