Elmbridge Food Festival & my first cake decorating demo!

Wow! My 2nd visit to the annual Elmbridge Food Festival, held at the glorious Painshill Park, Surrey.

This time, however, on top of enjoying the many delights of the Festival, I had two additional thrills:

  • I was able to assist on the Clandestine Cake Club stall
  • I gave a cake demonstration session on the Sunday.

The Clandestine Cake Club stall

Susan, another Cake Club member, had secured the stall and had done an amazing job making the stall enticing, with official Cake Club bunting, leaflets and the two Clandestine Cake Club books.

Many folk were lured over to the stall by the wonderful cakes that Susan had made: a chocolate, Guinness and raspberry cake; fig and rum cake; pistachio and lemon curd cake. Not to mention her infectuously bubbly personality! The lure of cake is potent at any time, but on a beautiful autumnal day, who wouldn’t be tempted over?

As expected there was a lot of interest in the recently published CCC book A Year Of Cake: a book that is a joy to delve into with such inspiration within its pages. For me, even with my first quick browse I clocked several cakes I have to bake and having gone through the book thoroughly they are just the tip of the iceberg!

The Festival

Fascinating and oh-so-watchable demonstrations from local businesses and professionals were in abundance, and I could have spent another day quite happily browsing further around the stalls and sampling the delights on offer.

One of many highlights for me was a terrific demonstration of Mauritian chicken curry after my demobstration from Ragini’s Curry Powder. I cannot wait to make this. And I loved the stall run by Naomi’s Food House: great cakes and treats, with some amazing decorated cakes.

A vibrant buzz throughout, it was truly heart-warming to see so many people enjoying the food and chatting excitedly about the treats that were to be found everywhere you looked……

And oh the intoxicating aromas of food being cooked at many stalls; I was so glad I managed to indulge in more than a spot of tasting!

A huge shout out to the organisers for a terrific and highly successful Festival, and for being on hand with a smile on their face throughout the weekend.

Butterflies in the stomach!

I was very excited to have been given the opportunity to give a cake decorating demonstration; I had said “yes” to this some time ago without any hesitation (I can be quite impulsive!)

Partly because of the challenge of demonstrating to some real foodies,  it was an honour to be one of several hour-long demos given throughout the course of the weekend by some very inspiring food demonstrators.

But as my time for the demonstation approached, I could feel the nerves building! Not that I didn’t know what I was doing, but having seen some of stunning demonstrations beforehand I knew how high the standard was going to be.

My demonstration

In my slot I demonstrated how to decorate a raspberry and dark chocolate cake (the lattice chocolate collar being one of my signature decorative flourishes!) and a mint & dark chocolate ombre cake.

I also demonstrated how to use buttercream and chocolate left-overs (if there ever is such a thing as chocolate left-overs!) to make filled chocolates.

As well as demonstrating these cakes, I miraculously found time to talk about many areas of cake making and decorating:

  • making good gluten-free versions of cakes;
  • using the very best (but not necessarily the most expensive) ingredients;
  • tempering chocolate
  • getting the lightest, mousse-like buttercream
  • how to rescue a split flavoured buttercream;
  • how to get the lightest sponge;
  • using fruit powders;
  • tips for getting ahead

How quickly an hour went: I could have honestly gone on for another hour with no hesitation! But it was great to have several questions asked afterwards.

I am totally thankful for the guys from the Festival who guided me so patiently and warmly through the demonstration workstation beforehand: they put me immediately at my ease and were instrumental in making it a joy for me to deliver. And it genuinely was.

If I get the chance to hold a demonstrate again, I would do it like a shot. And I would urge any foodie to do the same if the opportunity arises.



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