An evening with the Big London Bake in Tooting
The Castle in Tooting is one of my workplace ‘locals’, always guaranteed to offer a good drinks selection and very decent food. At a recent special event for the onset of the game season, I was able to try my hand at plucking a partridge in a tent at the end of the pub garden bearing an uncanny likeness to the tent in the Great British Bake-Off.
The tent is in fact owned by The Big London Bake, who run competitive baking events. They asked us to come along and give it a try. I knew that a) I’m no baker, b) Noel Fielding wouldn’t be there to encourage my efforts and c) Paul Hollywood wouldn’t be judging my efforts. It did sound fun though, so I persuaded a work colleague whom I knew to be a good baker, to come and share the fun with me.Buoyed by an excellent G&T from the bar, we entered the tent full of competitive spirit. (No alcohol is allowed in the tent). We washed our hands and donned our aprons. After a brief introduction to the concept, the equipment, and the ingredients, we heard the now familiar catchphrase, “On your marks, get set…..BAKE”. We were both a bit surprised, I think we’d been expecting a bit more of a cooking class element. But we read our very clear instructions and set to. Our task was to create a cake for Halloween, using the basic recipe and anything we liked from the ‘creation corner’.We toyed with the idea of a coffin or a skull cake and finally decided on a spiders web. We customised our cake mix with orange colouring and added the same to the fondant icing. We grated lemon zest into the sponge mix, lemon and elderflower into the buttercream, and a little more elderflower into the raspberry jam we made. Throughout the evening the Big London Bake staff came round to offer advice, encouragement and help. (And to have a bit of fun).Then the countdown began, and we were under pressure to assemble our cake. This is when we found that we didn’t have enough fondant to cover the cake properly, and our attempts to roll it ever thinner, meant it was impossible to get it onto the cake in one piece. In true Bake Off style at the end of the cooking time, we were told to step away from our bakes. Our cakes were then judged for appearance, technical ability and taste, and prizes awarded.Although our effort didn’t win, it was greatly enjoyed by our partners at home. If anything could be improved I think that there could have been a little more time allowed for a social aspect. It would have been nice for the whole group to have a coffee together and perhaps taste each other’s creations at the end of the session. Overall it was a really fun event with lots of giggling, and everyone clearly had a great time.
Tickets are available from Design My Night:
or for more information check the Big London Bake website
The Castle, Tooting
38 Tooting High Street,
London, SW17 0RG