We hosted the final of The Cambridge Bake Off at “The Big Weekend” on Parkers Piece and WHAT a day for it… It was so hot, the food marquee that we had taken over for this event was like a sauna before we had even started!
I genuinely felt sorry for the 3 finalists, as the heat hit you as soon as you walked into this large tent and some of the bakers had prepared chocolate elements to their concoctions… I would have been a gibbering wreck had I been piecing together a cake at this live final!
The fact that they all looked so cool and calm throughout such a pressured environment just had me in awe of them all, just impressive.
So the rules were to create a summer celebration cake… However they wanted to present it was entirely up to them – and boy did did we get three very different cakes for this!
Alice Ryan from the Cambridge Evening News joined us to help judge, but to also interview each finalist as they pieced together their works of art, asking them to tell the fast-growing crowd what they were putting together. They also talked through their previous cakes from the first 3 rounds, including the Chocolate Cake round and even the Victoria Sponge Round, not forgetting the semi-finals with some INSPIRING creations brought to the table.
They had baked the main elements at home, as there was no means to bake (thankfully for them!) in the marquee. They had then been given just over and hour to out together their celebration cake, all of which had a wow factor to rival all other wow factor cakes!
Sarah had put together a colourful two layer cake, with a very groovy/psychedelic marbled vanilla sponge and different coloured chocolate piped stars all over. It was then finished with chocolate dipped strawberries, handmade chocolate butterflies and finished off with fresh fruit and sugared rose petals (picked from her own garden), it was stunning and fit for a civilised garden party.
Rachel had drawn out an actual plan of her cake, having decided not to practice it beforehand, she had said to me that she didn’t quite know how it was going to turn out. She went for a salted caramel sponge with salted caramel buttercream and even a separate sauce within its three tiers. She then got extremely creative and produced a seaside inspired “rock pool” cake fit for a wedding or birthday celebration. Each decoration was handmade, with chocolate shells, jellyfish and even liquorice seaweed, it was a work of art!
Fiona surprised us all, as up to this point she had a very obvious look to her cakes and we were starting to get to know her style (and we loved it). She threw a topsy turvy three layered cake with a sophisticated wedding or christening feel to proceedings. It was simple to look at, but elegant, with intricate sugar crafted flowers and even butterflies on wire surrounding the cake. She went for three different flavours, with the bottom tier offering us strawberry & champagne, the middle tier offering Lemon & Limoncello and the top layer giving us White Chocolate & Passionfruit. Each layer was tastier than the next and it was a winner for us in the end.
It was SUCH a close call, the cakes all being delicious and just jaw-dropping to look at, we decided that overall Fiona had been the most consistently inspiring baker and she was a worthy winner of the final for all of her cakes, not just this final creation.
The new Mayor of Cambridge gave out the prizes to each of the finalists, including a KMix for the main prize for the lovely Fiona, of which we know will get a lot of use out of it (With thanks to John Lewis for donating this fantastic prize!)
As one of the runners up prizes, I have offered a baking lesson and cannot wait to work with the lovely lady over the coming months and catch up about this amazing competition, a real first for Cambridge.
We all left happy, I went straight to the pub for a refreshing pit stop and I cannot wait to discuss next years Bake Off, with exciting plans already afoot!
Make sure you sign up to the Facebook page to keep in touch with updates on this competition.
And for anybody inspired by this version of the Bake Off, why not book a baking lesson or afternoon tea etiquette workshop with Miss Sue Flay?!
Soggy Bottoms be gone…
For my full photo album from the Cambridge Bake Off Final, you can click here.
Miss Sue Flay