There is something about The Great British Bake Off that makes the British public lose its collective minds. For a 2 month period we all gather round to watch a bunch of strangers cheerily bake their hearts out as we get increasingly stressed on their behalf about unrisen cakes and soggy bottoms. It’s one of the two programs I just have to watch as soon as it airs (the other being RuPaul’s Drag Race). It becomes the talk of the country and we’ve all dreamt of being in the tent behind an oven with a magical sliding door and perfect pastel kitchenware as we bake things I can’t even pronounce and await the nation to fall in love with our perfectly quirky personalities. The fact that I can’t bake at all hasn’t hampered my daydreaming. Currently I only bake once a year for Harry’s birthday and the results…well let’s say they are a mixed bag, so my chances of ever making it onto Bake Off are slim to none. However there is now a chance to join in the fun without ever having to audition or cook a single crumb thanks to The Big London Bake. I headed down to try it out in Tooting to have a go at the soft side of competitive baking.
When you walk in it really does feel like you’re on the show, the room is set out just like the real thing. We were set with the task of making a Battenberg cake and being a none-baker I was happy to find that the written instructions were really comprehensive. Everything was weighed out in advance, so you couldn’t go too far wrong.You were given an hour and a half to complete the project with time reminders throughout. You work in pairs which makes it a lot more fun and the staff will give you a hand if you get in trouble or need a tip or two. We made the cake mixture, picked the flavourings (we went for popcorn and cookie dough) and colours (we stuck with the classic red and yellow). We also picked the fruit to make jam which was surprisingly easy (we decided to make one with cherrys) and made buttercream which we flavoured with cinnamon (which if I’m honest was the highlight of our cake!). Then it was all about dying the marzipan (we chose orange which was maybe a little too subtle) and putting it all together for the all-important decorating! We were running short on time by the decoration stage so we kept it simple with a spring theme.Soon it was time for the judging, thankfully there was no Paul Hollywood in sight so the comments from our judge Ellenore were always positive, even if we clearly weren’t winners. Only the first, second and third places are announced so everyone else is fourth, there are no losers here. We were one of the 4th place teams but given the stiff competition I can’t say I’m surprised, we did get commendation on the flavour of our buttercream though so I’ll take that! If I was to do this again I think I’d take some time at the start to come up with an overall plan for flavours and decorations, we took it easy and just picked things as we went along.I really want to go back to do this again with a different cake, it would be a great thing to do with a group of friends or family, maybe a hen do or birthday so you can really get competitive with each other. The Big London Bake is based in Tooting and prices start from £35.00 per person and tickets must be booked in pairs. Tickets are available from Design My Night