The Great Leeds Bake Off!

By Clare Longley - June 09, 2013

On Saturday 8th June I took part in the Great Leeds Bake Off as part of the Leeds Loves Food Festival and to raise funds for Age UK.

As you all know I love any excuse to bake and I love it even more when it is for charity. Last year I abseiled off City Island in Leeds for charity, this year baking a cake was much more up my street and in my comfort zone.

Anyway the competition was divided into three categories; Leeds Loves Food, International and Vintage. I chose to enter Vintage as I do love anything vintage and often feel like I was born in the wrong era. I decided to make an Eton Mess cake because I love Eton Mess and I had never seen it created in a cake before. I had seen it in cupcakes but I wanted to make it on a much bigger scale.

We dropped the cake off at the Arch Cafe in Leeds that afternoon then went for a nose around the Leeds Loves Food Festival. Honestly if you have never been to the Arch Cafe before you really have to visit. It is an absolute hidden gem in the city. Prices are so reasonable, the food is fab, they make cakes from the Clandestine Cake Club Book and all profits go directly to Age UK. If you haven't been yet I am telling you that you are missing out!

So... we were told to be back at Arch Cafe for 3:30pm to look at the cakes and the judging was at 4pm. The judging was done by our very own Lynn Hill of the CCC and Masterchef Vivek Singh Kashiwale from the 1875 Restaurant in Menston.

I could hardly get looking at the cakes as it was so busy but Himself noticed a rosette beside my cake. I couldn't see so I thought it must be a "well done" or something because the winners hadn't been announced yet. Then at 4pm the winners were announced and somehow I won!!! the Vintage Category. Honestly I was so shocked and pleased, I really wasn't expecting it. I'm just a self taught amateur baker, the standard was so high that I did not expect to win at all. The other winners were Leeds Loves Food Category – Beetroot and Chocolate Cake by Alexis Keech and International Category - Swedish Saffron Cake by Bejal Mistry. Everybody's cakes were amazing and I would loved to have tried more of the cakes but I was at the back of the queue so by the time I got to the cake table most cakes had been well devoured. I did try my CCC friend Yin's Ginger and Rhubarb cake (delish!) a yummy chocolate and cherry cake and a wee bit of my own cake (the last slice which I take as a real compliment!).

I received a wonderful goody bag as my prize and the best bit of all was a CCC apron - I have been wanting one for ages!!! Hobbycraft kindly donated some of the prizes and Tate and Lyle donated a fab golden syrup caster sugar - I cannot wait to try that in a recipe!

Anyway enough of my ramblings, here are photos for you to enjoy. I got a bit swept up in the moment and forgot to take many photos but the lovely Claire Rose kindly sent me the photos that she took from the event.

My Eton Mess Cake
Raffle Prizes
Leeds Loves Food Winning Cake – Beetroot and Chocolate Cake by Alexis Keech
My winning cake eee!!!
International Winning Cake – Swedish Saffron Cake by Bejal Mistry
What was left of my cake
Ginger and Rhubarb Cake, yum!
My lovely prize!
Once again a special thank-you to the Arch Cafe, Lynn and Vivek. I had a wonderful day and feel truly honoured that out of 36 cakes entered you felt that mine should be one of the 3 winners. Also special thank-you to HobbyCraft, Tate and Lyle, Greggs and Yorkshire Tea for the wonderful gifts and free tea you provided.




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