At the Cake and Bake show 2014, ft. Rachel Khoo!

I do my best to stay up to date with any foodie event happening in London. I hate myself when I don’t, because I tend to find out about great events the day after they finish (reason why I didn’t experience Meatopia this year… I WILL go next year!); but I also hate myself when I do, because I feel overwhelmed with everything going on, at times when I’m not in the city, at prices I can’t afford. But I do my best. And last week-end, I dragged Julien to the Cake and Bake show 2014 which was hosted at Earl’s court.

I was pretty excited from what I had seen in the videos and the website, and was expecting to see some seriously amazing stuff! But the best part, was that I was going to meet RACHEL KHOO!!!!! :D

If you don’t know who she is, she is a beautiful part European, part Asian young chef who wrote the cutest books, “The Little Paris Kitchen” and “The Little French Kitchen” in which she teaches some staples of French cuisine, sometimes with her modern twist. Make sure to watch some of her videos where she shows how to cook Beef Bourgignon in her tiny little chambre de bonne (studio) in Montmarte. She’s one of my role models so obviously JB and I brought her two books for her to sign!

This year, the show was sponsored by Nielsen Massey, my favourite brand for Vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste.

But I am getting ahead of myself! Let’s first talk about the exhibition. My impressions… Some great great stuff! There were a lot of professional supply stalls so it was interesting to learn about good quality baking ingredients or equipment.
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I entered so many prize draws with the hope to win a Stand Mixer, you wouldn’t believe!

I stopped by the Crumbs & Doilies stall to say hello to some familiar faces and have a nice look at the most beautiful looking cupcakes of the entire exhibition (and I don’t say that because I worked there, I genuinely think they make the most professional cupcakes, maybe even better than Georgetown Cupcakes!).
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You can order their amazing and delicious work on their website, or have the chance to stumble upon their eye candy stall in Covent Garden on Thursday and at the Duke of York Square market on Saturday ;) They make the BEST chocolate cupcake you will ever eat… (have the one with salted caramel frosting. You’re welcome).

First time I got to see the Meringue Girls work! And that was one of the prettiest work I saw of the entire show. Very very cute, and nothing to do with dry dusty meringue that stains your mouth for the rest of the day. Crunchy on the outside, soft and sticky and gooey in the middle. Top notch! and super original! Their stall really stood out from all the cupcake and brownies stands.
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In terms of the cake that were exhibited, we saw a lot of beautiful looking work, sugar paste wise. Especially with Halloween around the corner, princess cake and croque en bouche went through a scary make over.
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However… I am not a fan of eating sugar paste (aka fondant). I like working with it, and am always amazed by what you can do with it (it’s some serious craft and requires a lot of skill) but I prefer to look at it and keep it away from my mouth… Especially when i dries out. No thanks.
Which leads me to my next point… I was not always impressed by the cake stalls. I thought the bake and frosting of the cakes were sometimes terribly unattractive and didn’t have the professional standards you would expect walking in the exhibition. I also believe the choice of venue wasn’t great. It’s quite dark in there (even Rachel pointed it out); a place like Olympia with its light would have been a more flattering venue…

Nevertheless, I really enjoyed eating every sample available. There weren’t just cakes! Jams, chutneys, roasts, cheese, salami, sausage, pies and the list is long.
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I love samples, they’re so great. Free food! I have never bought a single pretzel in Westfield and yet must have eaten a total amount of 5 just by getting one (or two… or three) sample every time I go! And that’s how JB and I discovered the most delicious beef pie we have EVER eaten: New Zealand Gourmet Pie Company. Forget Pie Minister, or your butcher’s pie, or your grandmother’s family recipe, and find a way to get their steak and ale pie. You will thank me!

Some of my favourites from the show:
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After two hours of wandering around and trying food, we headed to the book signing area. We spotted Edd Kimber who was still signing his books, “The boy who bakes” and “Pâtisserie made simple”.

I was literally the first in line for the next guest… Rachel! She arrived and oh lord she was so beautiful, and smiling and, argh! My heart was racing and I just wanted to happy dance. I think it was the first time I was seeing one of my role models in person. Imagine my excitement!

Obviously, I didn’t get to have a long conversation with her about the tricks to master puff pastry but she was really sweet for the minute I had with her. And I couldn’t not get a photo with her. (don’t you think we could be sisters?)

And I couldn’t let JB not get a photo with her either!
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We stopped at the Brownie Bar before leaving, where Julien got the last Peanut Butter and Nutella Blondie way too rich for him. As for myself, I went for the dark chocolate and raspberry brownie. Must have been the richest and most indulgent thing I have ever put in my mouth. I was wrestling with chocolate towards the end, and food defeated me. Something that rarely happens. I couldn’t finish it. They’re really worth trying (sooooo fudgy) so make sure you have someone to share a brownie with ;)
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Overall, I’m happy I went since I got to see Rachel Khoo in person, and got to see some really great work but I doubt I will be going back next year… I was a bit disappointed by the quality of the exhibition which I think can be improved. But it may just be me being difficult. :P

Happy baking! xx