It was a busy weekend for Le Cordon Bleu London as we participated in The Cake & Bake Show, at the ExCeL London, for the first time ever. The event, which is Britain’s biggest annual baking show, ran from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th October and saw lots of different stands selling everything from cupcakes, fudge and pastries to baking equipment, aprons and spiralizers!
On our masterclass stand, visitors were invited to experience a taster of life at Le Cordon Bleu London with a free half-hour session, run by Master Pâtissier Graeme Bartholomew, who teaches our pastry courses. The masterclasses alternated between making a rose out of marzipan and doing brush embroidery on a decorative cookie.
Top tips from the classes included, not making the central marzipan rose bud too tight, and not putting too much water on your brush for the brushed embroidery. The masterclasses proved to be very popular as every session was full and always amassed great crowds of spectators. We also ran a competition for a chance to win a space on one of our short courses which received over seven-hundred entries!
Many of the winners from, the Great British Bake Off series, featured in the premium ‘Baking Classroom’ at the show, including Nadiya Hussain, Jo Wheatley and Le Cordon Bleu London Alumnus John Whaite. There was also a demonstration from Master Baker Dominique Moudart on how to make his Brioche Feuilletée recipe. This complex masterpiece was broken down in to easier-to-manage sections for the lucky audience, in order for the delicious recipe to be easily recreated at home.
In the ‘Decorating Classroom,’ at the opposite end of the event, the stage was graced with the likes of Juliet Sear, Danielle Gotheridge and our very own Head Pâtisserie Chef Julie Walsh, who demonstrated professional chocolate tempering for an audience of cake decorating enthusiasts. Chef Julie explained to the audience the benefits of tempering chocolate, such as its easy removal from molds and its improved shelf-life, and she also highlighted the easiest ways for it to be done at home.
The audience was very impressed with Chef Julie’s final masterpiece from the demonstration which showed lots of different chocolate tempering techniques including chocolate truffles made from molded tempered chocolate, piping, hand-cut designs, and embossed tempered chocolate wraps.
The Cake & Bake Show’s guests were also given the opportunity to ask Chef Julie and Chef Matthew Hodgett, any pâtisserie related questions that they had in the ‘Slice of Advice’ section of the show. For example one of the participants was having a problem with making meringues, as they always lacked volume and ended up a bit runny. Chef Julie’s top tip was to put the sugar into the meringue mixture later, as adding sugar too early can deflate the egg whites and decrease the volume of the final product.
Overall the Cake & Bake Show was a big success for Le Cordon Bleu London as we were able to demonstrate our high standard of teaching and expertise to a new audience, through a combination of masterclasses and demonstrations. Hopefully we have inspired more people to explore a world of culinary adventure and we readily look forward to doing the same at the BBC Good Food Show next month.