I'm actually quite competitive when it comes to baking. Who knew.
With Lisa Lyons
I know Lisa from my old agency days. I always got excited when I was allocated a project with her as she was so thorough and competent and we could reduce ourselves to a mess of giggles in 2 seconds flat. Luckily, she is also the kind of person who thinks it's important to measure Battenberg slices with a ruler.
Being a big fan of competitive TV cooking shows (Australian Masterchef is my favourite if you're asking) I've always wondered how I'd hold up under pressure in a kitchen environment.
The idea behind the Big London Bake is essentially a lay person's chance to try their hand at what it would be like to be on a popular baking show which shall remain nameless due to non-affiliation. Each bench of 2 people is given a recipe card and access to the same base ingredients measured out. The rest is down to them. We were making a Battenberg inspired cake and encouraged to flavour all the elements. After staring at the line of Mason jars filled with goodies for what felt like forever we opted for a chocolate sponge, a cherry sponge, cherries to make a jam, white chocolate buttercream with a marzipan outer.
Eleanor, our Head Baker, was around to answer questions, throwing in tips from time to time but ultimately apart from that it was down to us. We had 90 minutes to make two sponges, mix flavoured buttercream, roll out marzipan, make jam, assemble and decorate. Luckily, from the outset Lisa and I were like a well oiled (and sticky) machine so we managed to get everything done in time.
We were pretty thrilled with the outcome. Really soft delicious sponge, gooey jam and no soggy bottoms.
When it came to judging you could feel the tension in the room. Lisa and I really wanted to win. As she tasted ours we held our breath collectively and she seemed to like it. She deliberated for a few minutes after tasting the cakes and we came ..... drumroll ..... second!
This was absolutely brilliant fun, I learnt some things and went home with a cake. Not bad for a Friday night.
Book tickets here.
LISA & EMMA'S 12 TIPS FOR BATTENBURG SUCCESS:
1. Have someone prepare all your ingredients for you first
2. Let the shaky one do the whisking
3. Always match your hair to your cake in case any goes in
4. Ditto with brown hair
5. Don't get distracted Instagramming your jam
6. Do whatever it takes
7. Be a nerd
8. Eat as much of your marzipan as you can whilst still covering the Battenberg
9. Let the non-shaky one do the assembly
10. Be prepared to get sticky
11. Get your game face ready for judging
12. Winners (and runners up) don't wash up