Sunday, 6 May 2012

The Great Brixton Bake Off

So the task finally arrived and I was the project manager. I was scared and excited for my first market; aware that a lot of the stalls would be professionals I was a bit concerned that no-one would buy any of my cakes and I would be left with hundreds of cakes and a big belly! Although preparations had been going on for quite some time (getting insurance and hygeine certificates and sourcing bags, stamps, ingedients etc.) with our freezer dead the actual baking was all to be done the day before the bake off.

Knowing that I had a big task ahead of me (and that our landlord was due to make an inspection) my day off began early with a good breakfast and cleaning the flat (people who saw the state of it later that night/the next morning might say this was pointless but I wanted to start on a clean slate. And there was the Landord!). All in all I would say that I a) underestimated how long everything would take; b) was way too relaxed about it all at the start of the day; c) need more than one of each size cake tin.

By the time by sister arrived to help at about 8 o'clock it was clear that I wasn't going to get much sleep. Having eaten a lot of cake mix but no meal since breakfast (and the kitchen obviously being out of bounds for anything other than cake baking!) we ordered a takeaway and Kate set to work on stamping my bags and making cake stands.

In the end I got no sleep and my sister woke up at 7am to find me still in the kitchen, bleary eyed and covered in icing sugar! All hands were on deck to set up the stall and I was quite pleased with it in the end. It certainly wasn't as jam packed with cake as some stalls but I felt it had plenty of personal touches :)

Despite the rain (which was relentless) Brixton out did itself with it's impressive turn out and I enjoyed my first venture into market trading! But about the cakes.........

After the bacon cake being such a hit last week, I decided to release it to the public! I won't write much as I've already blogged about this but I did use more bacon this time and it only improved this indulgent cake! Almost everyone passing my stall did a double take and were reluctant at first but once I'd put out some samples I won most people over (apart from some unsuspecting vegetarians eager for free cake!)

Next up, my bestseller: Rum and ginger beer cupcakes. These were ginger beer cupcakes (crucially made with ginger beer aswell as ground ginger) topped with a rum and lime frosting and decorated with a slice of lime. I had made the frosting before but this development was inspired by one of my favourite drinks and proved very popular! I want to experiment more with boozy cupcakes as I think they are good for celebrations and always go down well :)

I had planned to adapt my mum's carrot cake recipe into cupcakes and top with cream cheese icing and a walnut. I am probably biased but I think my mum's carrot cake is the best ever (and I have tasted many!) - the secret is that it has banana in it which makes a very moist cake. You usually can't taste the banana but I think the bananas I used were a bit too big and the taste was quite distinctive so these became carrot and banana cupcakes but I still managed to sell out!

Lastly I made bigger versions of the filled shortbread I have made several times. These are made by cutting two circles of shortbread dough, putting chocolate/a dollop of chocolate ganache/jam/caramel (this time I went with milk chooclate, white chocolate and raspberry jam) on one circle then placing the other on top and moulding so that the edges are sealed. These were tasty and one woman bought nearly all my raspberry ones but I think I prefer making the little dainty ones.

Unfortunately in the manic early morning rush, I forgot my camera so I don't have as many picture as I would like - especially of the cakes. By the time I started packing up at about 4pm my feet were killing me and I realised that I hadn't sat down for 17 hours! Despite the comatose state I was in by the end, it was a great experience and I'm hoping to do another market soon - there are definitely a few things I would do differently:
1. Sleep!
2. Take my camera
3. I would really like to have plastic pods or boxes for my cupcakes but this is an added expense.....
4. Meet more of the other stallholders - for some reason I was quite nervous of leaving my stall!
5. Have some savoury options on offer for those without a sweet tooth

The day also had a competition element and the judging panel, which included Levi Roots, the mayor of Lambeth and Victor Scalzo of Patisserie Valerie visited each stall and tasted their offerings. Unfortunately Levi doesn't eat bacon but he tucked into my rum and ginger beer cupcakes and overall they seemed to enjoy my unusual flavours! I want to say a huge well done to all the winners:

Overall winner: Anna Smith Bakes
Cakes: Mahalias Kitchen
Cupcakes: The Carob Pod
Biscuits and Bites: Lillyput
Fruit Pies: Anna Smith Bakes
Bread: Pistachio Rose

A round up of the market can be found here: and GreenBeanLondon's film of the event features my horrendous voice (it really is horrednous, I maintain that is not my voice and I put on a posh voice when I'm nervous. If it makes you want to punch me, I feel the same but please look past that!)

No comments:

Post a Comment