Coming back to real life after India was a huge uncomfortable bump. I was feeling rather blue, real life is just pants. I was still day dreaming about flexing my yoga skills under blue skys with the parrots flying overhead. So I was very glad to have my chocolate day course booked in for the week after my return with the fabulous Mark Tilling, twice crowned UK’s best chocolatier at Squires Kitchen near Guildford. This was the second part of my prize after winning Tate and Lyles Baking Dreams competition back in November (I haven’t stopped entering competitions since, you’ve got to be in it to win it).
I constantly look for inspiration for cakes, whether for flavours, colours or decoration. This week I visited Cake International, hoping to soak up some new cakey ideas. But I couldn’t be more wrong. It was all about sugar craft. And I really dislike sugar craft. By this I mean rolled icing, flowers made from sugar paste, highly intricate traditional wedding and celebration type cakes. Not my style at all. I prefer to lash on the butter cream, throw on some flowers, chuck some chocolate buttons on. I think it just looks so much more tasty, fun and appetizing when it isn’t so precise. Like you just want to grab a fork and dig right in. I just don’t feel that when I look at a slab of rolled icing. There is a time and a place for more serious sugar crafted cakes, I know the majority choose them for their celebration cake and I totally admire the artistry that goes into it but I just really don’t like it (Dare I say it, I find it a bit tacky..). So after having a giggle at some truly awful cakes I got a bit carried away buying cut price cake accessories. Nothing got me more excited this week than finding pure Maple Syrup flavoring extract! Can you imagine a maple cream cheese frosting?! OMW. And just when I thought my day couldn’t get any better I found hot cross bun flavored icing sugar! It was like eating paradise. Will go delightfully on top of a carrot cake (Yes, I am a cake geek. No shame.). So I left the show with some ideas of how not to do cakes and my wallet was a hell of a lot lighter.