Until this weekend, I'd never entered a baking competition before. I've been baking and sharing my cakes with friends, family and co-workers for a couple of years, but complete strangers judging my cakes was totally new territory - I had no idea how good or average they tasted to someone that didn't 'have' to like it.
Well, it certainly surprised me to discover that I was the best out of EVERYONE at the Faringdon Charity Bake Off 2014!
It feels very odd to be writing about something that isn't a cake, even though it was an event all about baking... and it's very strange to be posting pictures of myself rather than my creations. My winning creation is this by the way:
I'll be posting all about my CAKEOPOLY cakes soon, but it was SO nice seeing peoples' reactions to my quirky cakey invention! The cupcakes category in the Bake Off was by far the most popular, with the most entries on the table - it's a good thing I arrived early to set up as I had to squeeze onto the table as it was. The last thing I wanted to do was squish someone's lovely cupcakes by accident - I wanted to win on merit, not cheating!
My other entry was for a decorated novelty cake, called the Show Stopper for the purposes of the Bake Off. I went for the iconic Swindon landmark, the Magic Roundabout, as I've had the idea in my head for a while and just needed a good excuse to turn it into a yummy cake!
It was a difficult decision to make as I could have literally done any cake, and I wanted to do something that other bakers were unlikely to do. I was going to do my giant burger cake but decided against it as there are a fair few other cake makers with their own versions of that - lucky I didn't in the end as my main competitor and runner up in the cupcakes category were miniature burger cakes with shortbread chips (fries if you're not british). They were proving very popular, and I was a bit worried for a while that I'd be beaten (even though I knew I can do the little burger cakes pretty well too!).
To my dismay, the Show Stopper cakes were not cut and tasted before judging, so it was purely appearance based. I feel very strongly that cakes should TASTE as good as they look, and while I put my all into making the design as amazing as possible, I'll never compromise on taste. So I could have prettied up my magic roundabout cake to make it more impressive, and I'm a teensy bit annoyed that I put a fair bit of effort into making it a tasty cake. But I'm not going to dwell on it, as my winning cupcakes were tasted and tested and assured me that my cakes DO taste pretty good. And I got to meet the LOVELY Christine Wallace from the last series of The Great British Bake Off!
Not only did Little Miss Cake Maker win the best cupcakes, I won the best of all the winning category entries - and I'm still in a state of disbelief about it all!