Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Cake Crawl 2011

I organised a Cake Crawl across London with 12 other crawlers, some of which bake professionally and others who bake on the side and dream of baking full time!
I work in the city and have in the past few years heavily got into cake decorating, sugar paste modelling and sugar crafts.  From what started as a hobby on the side, I now run my own cake decorating classes twice a month at weekends and just love it!

Through classes I have been on and classes I have run I have met some fabulous people who also love to bake and decorate.  We have formed a cake decorating enterprise club, and a group of us meet on a monthly basis to discuss everything and anything to do with cake!

Last Saturday, we had a lot of fun on a Cake Crawl across London which I organised with 12 fellow crawlers. We visited some of the best cake boutiques across London and had the most inspirational and fun filled visit. We started off at 10am in the morning at Jane Asher’s in South Kensington.  We were warmly welcomed with a platter of cupcakes, one each for every crawler.  Unfortunately Jane was not at her shop to meet us, but her manager for over 20 years David, was there to speak to us about Jane’s shop.
Jane’s shop makes fabulous novelty cakes for all occasions and includes a shop which sells sugarcraft and baking supplies.  There were hundreds of things on sale, and really was a cake decorators DREAM!
David was lovely, and spoke to us about how the cakes were baking downstairs and how they expanded the shop so that they also have room for more supplies and more room downstairs to finish the cakes in the fabulous way that Jane’s cakes are finished.  David also shared with us stories of unusual cakes requests they had been asked for and mentioned how they made a 6ft high cake of the Albert Memorial commissioned by English Heritage for the launch of the appeal to restore the Albert Memorial.

Our group were able to ask lots of questions and David was happy to answer all of them.  We were then given complimentary goody bags with Jane Asher cake mix; edible glitter; a large pot of sprinkles; a cake board; blossom tint and best of all a letter from Jane herself.  After buying some supplies our group moved onto the next stop of the Crawl.  Partridges fine food market on Dukes York Square.  There we visited Peggy’s cupcakes stall and Crumbs and Doilies.  Both stalls had fabulous cupcakes, the assistant at Peggy’s was especially nice and talked about the different flavours that were popular.  We purchased the best selling cake which was banana and caramel- it was light and fluffy and above all very yummy!
Crumbs and Doilies had a lovely stall decorated with miniature cupcakes as well as the fairy cake size all cupcakes were beautifully presented on three tier stands and the miniature ones looked especially cute.
The next stop on the stall was Bea’s of Bloomsbury which was one of my favourite stops along the crawl.  We had the Chef’s lounge reserved for us and were warmly welcomed by Elizabeth and Kirsty who form part of the Bea’s management team.  Our seating area was situated right next to the kitchen were got live action of the baking process which was just great!  This was the only stop on the crawl where we were able to get this insight and it was great to see the baking process as well as be offered complimentary flavours of all the cakes produced by Bea's.
The best cupcake had to be their red velvet cake with cream cheese and mascarpone frosting. The cupcake was so moist, and tasted divine- definitely the best red velvet cake that I have tasted hands down!
Elizabeth and Kirsty from Bea's kept bringing out samples for us to try, some of my favourites were the chocolate and raspberry and vanilla and passion fruit.
We were overwhelmed with cupcakes and desserts and left Bea's of Bloomsbury with full tummies!
Our next stop along the way was Cox and Cookies in Soho, this bakery is a joint venture with Patrick Cox and Eric Lanlard, aka Cake Boy.  The bakery also known as the disco bakery was stunning and beautifully illuminated with neon lighting. The displays in the window were particularly cool and consisted of stacked neon cubes.
A few of us in the group had the fabulous opportunity of filming an episode of Eric Lanlard’s upcoming “Baking Mad” TV show which will be shown on Channel 4 in April later this year.  We were given lovely goody bags from Eric which consisted of an apron and some chocolate.
We had two more stops in Covent Garden where we did a whistle stop tour of Candy Cakes and Lorraine Pascale’s lovely bakery.
The whole day was absolutely fabulous, and it was made extra special by Jane Asher, Eric Lanlard and Bea’s of Bloomsbury.
Looking forward to organising the 2012 Crawl already!