Last month I attended the very first Cake & Bake Show, held in Earl’s Court Brompton Hall over a September weekend.
Thanks in large part to The Great British Bake Off, there’s a renewed interest in baking throughout the UK, and indeed both Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood were the star names at the show. Alongside them were many other celebrities of the baking world including Tom Herbert, Richard Bertinet, Paul A Young, Peggy Porschen and many GBBO contestants, past and present.
Tickets sold out weeks before the show and the show was expanded too, taking on extra space and putting on extra talks and classes. Visitors browsed and shopped from a large number of stalls selling equipment and (mostly) sweet treats and attended talks, demonstrations and classes.
It wasn’t all plain sailing, however, and I’m sure the feedback already received will be put to good use improving next year’s show.
The vast majority of exhibitors were in the cake decorating and sugar craft category, with very few selling items of interest to those of us who love baking (bread and sweet treats) but aren’t into decorating. And there weren’t as many stalls selling cakes and bread to buy and take home as I had expected.
Crowds were enormous and, at busy times of the day, it was virtually impossible to approach many of the stalls without waiting several minutes to creep gradually closer to each one.
Queues for toilets and on-site refreshments were enormous and slow moving, and I heard that supplies ran out too. These services are both provided by the venue rather than the show organisers, but need to be taken into account when planning for next year.
Classroom events, for which visitors purchased additional tickets, were held in open theatres, and there were discontented rumblings from those who paid money for a bench seat within the roped area, only to realise that other show visitors were able to afford just as good, if not better views, from outside the ropes.
All that said, it was a pleasure to see how strong the interest is in a show on cakes and baking, and I’m hopeful that next year’s event will be bigger and better, with much more attention paid to the baking side of the equation.
Kavey Eats attended the The Cake & Bake Show as a guest of the organisers.