The weekend before last, Bess, Jenny and I trekked from our three separate corners of the country to Birmingham for Cake International.
After getting up at silly-o-clock and getting the train to Birmingham, I met Bess at New Street, where we jumped straight on a train to Birmingham International to meet Jenny, who hadn't realised that her train stopped at International before it got to New Street until I told her that morning. I was just glad I'm not the only one who does things like that...
Now I don't know about you, but when something has the word "cake" in its title, I sort of expect there to be a lot of cake. And don't get me wrong- there was. Just not enough (read: any) of the free sample variety for my liking.
We started by going for a good peruse around the competition cakes, which were exquisitely decorated (for the most part. There were definitely a couple in the cupcake class that we all agreed we could have done). However, we pretty quickly realised that the perfectly spherical cakes possibly weren't cakes, and when we saw cake dummies on sale, our suspicions were confirmed- an awful lot of the "cakes" were actually polystyrene.
In fairness, as Bess pointed out, cake goes off reasonably quickly, and it's quite clear that some of these cakes would have taken months to decorate, so I can totally understand why people would use a cake dummy. But even still- on principle, my favourites were the classes where everything had to be edible.
|Yes, my picture is slightly wonky, but that cake did actually slant...!|
To be honest though, despite my love of all things baking, I was mostly just excited to meet the two lovely girls I spent the day with. Having nattered to both of them for ages on Twitter, blogs, and emails, it was so good to meet them both in person. I can confirm that Jenny is just as sweet in real life as she seems on her blog (and knows an awful lot about photography, which is why her pictures are about 10000x better than mine) and Bess is just so brilliant I had to see her again this weekend (more on that to come). I just cannot wait until I get to see them both again, because quite frankly, they are both new favourite people.
Would I recommend Cake International? I'm not certain. The stalls were slightly much of a muchness (lots of places to buy gel colouring, cake pans, and so on), but then some of the things they sold were pretty impressive- particularly the range of sprinkles and the cutters which made fondant icing look like lace. I just wish there were more places to actually buy cake- I mean, free samples would have been awesome, but even buying some would have been good. But hey, maybe I was just looking in the wrong places.
That said, it was a really good day, and I definitely picked up some great cake decoration ideas- I'm definitely going to try the mini-marshmallow cascade in the first picture!