Saturday, 22 September 2012

Cake and Bake show Earls Court

This weekend sees the first Cake and Bake Show at London’s Earls Court.  Mr CC and I went today (on the Saturday).  Mr CC came along, in good spirits, in his three-pronged role of favoured companion, bag carrier and photographer.  Needless to say, all the photos in this post are his...I was too busy cooing at cupcake cases.

I’m not really a demos person – I have no patience in being shown what I already know how to do, and never think you get a good enough view to learn something that is new to you.  However, I must admit I got a little excited to see the tres magnifique Eric Lanlard in person and kept nudging Mr CC squeaking, “take a photo, take a photo” until he obliged.  Mr Lanlard drew quite an audience:

The reason I wanted to visit the show was to see the retailers’ stalls and buy stuff.  I don’t live near any shops where I can buy baking wares so most of my purchases come from the internet; the possibility of being able to touch things and peruse large displays was most alluring.  As you can see, I wasn't the only one who thought so:

I have grouped my purchases into three groups.  Here’s the first comprising of a whisk, some lovely muffin and cupcake cases, biscuit cutters, textured mini rolling pins, cupcake sprinkles and a bottle of red velvet emulsion, which gives the deep red velvet colour from only one spoonful of the emulsion and should – hopefully – eliminate the taste of food colouring from my next red velvet sponge:

My second grouping comprises of the show programme, and silicone and plastic moulds.  The build a house out of chocolate kit looks most interesting and can, of course, be reused.  I particularly fell in love with the afternoon tea mould on the right:

My final purchase was this rather snazzy cupcake carrier.  It holds 24 cupcakes at its largest but the layers separate should you only need to carry 12:

Here are my observations/tips for anyone going tomorrow (and as an aide memoire for myself next year):

1. Aim to get there 11am and spare yourself the grief of queuing for the 10am start.  We got there at 10.20am and it was chaos - the doors had only just opened (why is nothing punctual?) and there was the mother of all queues snaking around the whole of Earls Court.  The security then moved many of us to a holding area in the car park at the rear, although the security at the other end of the queue didn’t know about this and were giving conflicting advice.  After ten minutes of chaos and bad feeling, most people in the holding bay broke free and headed straight to the doors.  Whether this was the fault of Earls Court or the Cake and Bake show I don’t know – but it was ugly.

2. Take your own packed lunch, snacks and beverages.  There were nowhere near enough catering staff on hand.  Mr CC needed a break from my feverish shopping and joined the queue for coffees while I continued around the show.  When I rejoined him ALMOST ONE HOUR LATER he had only just been served.  Two sandwiches, a coffee and a diet pepsi cost nearly £15.  This is a photo of barely a quarter of the queue for refreshments (photo taken at about 11.30am):

3. If you are a lady, drink nothing before the event- dehydrate yourself like a Formula 1 driver preparing for a Grand Prix.  God forbid you need the loo when you are there.  If you think you might need the loo, start queuing a good 10 minutes before the need arises and you should be alright.  Alternatively, pack a false beard in your handbag and walk into the gents where no doubt you will be the only one in there! (I tried to get Mr CC to photograph the queue for the ladies loo but he feared he might be reported to officials for pervy practices and refused)

4. If you have a padded coat or jacket wear it.  It will help protect you against the sharp elbows that most people have no problem in deploying to try and push you out the way should you be standing anywhere near something they wish to look at.

5. Take all the above as advice from someone who is known for being grouchy and don’t let it spoil your enjoyment of what is actually a fab show.  I loved the stalls and the wares available – and I will book to visit again should the show return next year.


Cakeyboi said...

I am so jealous - I was supposed to be going, but with one thing and another couldn't make it! Still I have avoided damage by elbow from the sounds of things!!

Soo said...

Sounds brilliant!!!

Sue said...

Sounds similar to the army of ladies that descend on the NEC @ Birmingham every year for the Christmas craft show in November ... it's the ladies dragging not-so-old-fashioned shopping trollies that I find you have to watch out for!

Susie @ Fold in the Flour said...

Thank you so much for this - I feel like I'm living vicariously through everyone who was able to go and am so envious. Will have to make advance plans for next year's show as it looks fab. It'll give me time to save up then, too. Love your purchases, especially the red velvet emulsion - that has me intrigued as someone who has made red velvet and knows how much food colouring you need to use. :)

Nom! The Indulgent Baking Blog said...

I so wanted to go! Poor Mr CC! I bet he loved it really. Love the tips!


Kim said...

I was there yesterday too, and I agree wholeheartedly with all of your advice - wise words indeed. I also thought they could've spaced the stalls out a bit more - I'm sure I've got bruises! I also got one of those cupcake cases (did you keep getting stopped to ask where it was from - we lost count of how many people asked us about it!)

the caked crusader said...

Hi Kim

Yes - I did. Felt like I should've been on on commission the number of times I directed people to the stall!

Happy baking

thelittleloaf said...

Yikes! I'm gutted I didn't get to go to the show this year, although it does sound like it was a mixed experience. Love the tea-set mould!

LandGirl1980 said...

All of the advice above is most excellent for any hobby based affair at Earls Court. Especially the knitting and sewing one. Bloody sharp elbow! *rubs bruises*

Lucy said...

The show sounds amazing - wish I had gone! It looks like it could be very tempting and dangerous for the bank account!

Jo said...

Great purchases CC! Looking forward to seeing your next red velvet cake.

I'm very jealous of all these cake show posts which have been popping up on blogs. And is it just me, or do you find that if you're somwehere you're not able to go to the toilet you suddenly desperately need as soon as you arrive? Whereas if you don't think about it, you can last at least 4 hours. Weird.

sensibilia said...

That all sounds very exhausting. As usual, I will just enjoy your pictures instead of thinking of actually going!

Maggie said...

I had the the same queuing chaos at the NEC prior to entry last year. Inside I witnessed some people filling suitcases with their purchases!

Birgit's Patisserie said...

I was laughing my socks off reading your recommendation on the toilet issue. How entertaining.
Actually I was there. I am the one with brown hair under the screens watching Eeeric on your photo. Bet you can spot me.
You have done very well with your shopping as I did not bother waiting. Seems like I have always been in third row on every stand.