10 top tips for Cake Fest 2017

Top tips Cake Fest Edinburgh, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Published 26 April 2017. We asked Simon Preston; who is responsible for delivering Cake Fest at this year's SO Festival, for his 10 top tips on how to deliver a successful cake. The aim is simple, we'll create a 100 square metre fully-edible map of East Lindsey.

Simon is an Edinburgh-based food innovator and consultant with a UK-wide reputation for creating and delivering extraordinary food projects. He works in the fields of festivals & events, food writing, talks & broadcasting and restaurants & food retail consultancy.

After the stunning success of Cake Fest Edinburgh in 2015, Stirling became the venue for Cake Fest Scotland in 2016 as part of the Festival of Architecture. On July 2nd 2017 Cake Fest arrives in Skegness as part of SO Festival 2017. But first...

1. Choose your landmark place or building carefully because most of all, you need to ENJOY recreating your selection in cake. Maybe it's a place that you have a very personal connection with, simply somewhere you've fallen in love with, or perhaps you just think there's lots of scope to have fun with the design, adding your own elements of creativity and humour. Whatever the reason for your choice, your passion will drive you forward.

2. Bigger isn't always better, so take some time to decide how big your cake sculpture will be. You'll want to keep the cost down, so perhaps you just want to focus on one section of your chosen building, or to play around with the scale to concentrate on the details you like most. Remember this doesn't have to be about creating a perfect architectural model, artistic license applies!

3. Be practical - you'll need to transport your creation to Skegness for the big day - so make sure you can get your cake (and board!) out of the kitchen, through the front door and into the boot, or even onto the train!

4. It all starts with the board - too flimsy and it'll bend when you pick it up, causing your lovely creation to crack and crumble. Too heavy and you'll struggle to manoeuvre it to the Cake Fest event.

5. Join the Cake Fest private Facebook Group for bakers - it's so much more fun when you can share your trials and triumphs, and see everyone else doing the same. There's always someone who can help you out when you get stuck and it makes the experience more fun.

6. Sponge, madeira or fruit? Everyone appreciates a nice piece of fruit cake, so it'll be popular... but also heavy and expensive, so factor that in. Fruit cake keeps well but sponge will need to be made and frozen, to avoid having to do everything last minute. Make sure you've plenty of room in the freezer and make a little more cake than you think you'll need. Madeira is a third option, it's a little bit trickier but it keeps longer than sponge and is firmer so good for sculpting. Oh, and the crowds always appreciate something gluten free and something chocolate - your choice!

7. Keep your costs down and make the centre of your cake hollow. Build it around a cardboard box covered in foil and cling film, or some other suitable filler. It'll make your cake lighter too and don't worry, there will be plenty to share on the day.

8. Your cake will have to undergo a fair bit of jostling on its journey from your kitchen table to the giant edible cake map, so use plenty of dowels and kebab skewers to help keep it up.

9. Bring a cake box! There's always more than enough cake for sharing so be sure to take some home with you - you and your family deserve it.

10. Plan your time, practice and do as much as possible in advance, you'll be amazed at how time flies as the deadline draws near, and we don't want you having to stay up all night. Don't panic, don't fret and don't ever worry about what people will think. Cake Fest bakers are simply a breed apart, awesome people who don't need an excuse to do something a little crazy. Believe in yourself and be proud of yourself, you are your own worst critic.

Don't panic! We're not looking for perfectly scaled masterpieces, everyone is welcome to take part regardless of ability and we'll advise you throughout the challenge. We are looking for adventurous spirits, up-for-it attitudes and a passion for local landmarks and landscape but we're sure you've probably got that in abundance.

DO you want to get involved? Your first step is to pick a landmark to bake from list, click http://www.sofestival.org/cakefest.

If there's a building or place you love that isn't on our list, feel free to make a suggestion and we'll consider it. Taking part is rewarding, fun and free. One more thing, in case you were wondering - yes, when the map has been completed and suitably admired by the crowds, we'll eat the lot.

To get involved, contact Head Baker Simon at simon@cakefest.org.uk

Image © Cake Fest Edinburgh, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh