Earls Court Cake and Bake Show: ‘Baking is a sensual thing’ claims GBBO winner John Whaite


Thousands attended the show this weekend.


By Jack Crone

Professionals, amateurs and star struck fans flocked in their thousands this weekend to visit London’s annual baking haven.

The Earls Court Cake and Bake show, now in its in second year, is a place of wholehearted indulgence where baking buffs can take pride in their hobby.

Indeed, if baking had a Disneyland this would surely be it, with its maze of stalls, kitchens and audacious exhibits offering everything from lessons in crystallising flowers to Betty Crocker recipe walk-throughs.

Since Britain’s latest love affair began, business has been good. Six years ago, Karen Baratram, 28, started RonLikesCakes, a company offering baked goods specifically for vegans.

“As a vegan I couldn’t find cakes in the supermarket that I wanted to eat. Everything on offer was horrible so I decided to start this company,” she said.

Like many others, Karen has certainly enjoyed Britain’s baking revival. Arguably, the Great British Bake Off (GBBO), the hit show featuring the formidable Mary Berry, has had much to do with it. The weekend’s festivities certainly suggested so with the show’s past winners taking pride of place amongst the nation’s finest patissiers. Amongst them, was 2012 winner John Whaite.

Whaite, 24, now studying at the prestigious Cordon Bleu cooking school in between book releases, is a force to be reckoned with. Attaining a first in a law degree whilst winning GBBO seems no easy feat but Whaite believes the two complimented each other. His passion for baking has certainly not lost its intensity either.

“Baking is a very sensual thing because you use your hands and get in there,” he said.

“When you decorate a cake you put your emotions into it – more so than in normal cooking“.

Whaite has 29 recipes to write before the release of book two in March.

“I eat and eat and eat. I love to and to be a professional baker it’s a must. Food is there to nourish you so you might as well enjoy it,” he said.

A sentiment shared, no doubt, amongst a horde of excited supporters who crammed in to watch Whaite battle against fellow former GBBO participant Cathryn Dresser at Sainsburys’ exclusive Competition Theatre.

As people around the room focused intently on the stage it was clear they were there to be taught as much as entertained. Michelle Clubb, of Essex, believes it’s often hard to get recipes right at home.

“It becomes so disjointed. It’s great coming here and watching the demonstrations to see how it’s actually done.”

Amongst the notable professionals on show were esteemed chocolatier Paul Young, Saturday morning chef Simon Rimmer and French patisserie expert Eric Landlard. With tickets for the weekend selling out, it seems that the country’s current craze has no plans of going stale just yet.

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