The Great British Bakeoff frenzy pretty much passed me by. I just can’t deal with TV that needs to be watched live at the same time every week for fear of being spoiled for the next episode but on paper it’s the perfect show for me. I have THE biggest sweet tooth but I’m not the best cook – I’m generally OK at following recipe instructions but I’m a bit slap dash at it and you have to be a bit more precise when it comes to baking.
I’m definitely a bit more Nailed It than GBBO that’s for sure (Speaking of which – have you SEEN the Nailed it/Queer Eye crossover episode?? It’s literally two of my favourite shows at the moment combined!) so I was both excited and nervous when I stepped into the tent of The Big London Bake out back of The Castle pub in Tooting. Being fans of the show themselves they’ve set up a replica of the famous baking tent so that people can have their
own GBBO show stopping moments.
Every month sees a different baking theme and we were to be baking French Fruit Tart which was a slight disappointment for me who was hoping for something a bit more chocolate-y. There were a few of us from the Love Popups London community and I teamed up with the lovely Haydy who I hadn’t seen in an absolute AGE! After donning aprons and raising an eyebrow at the rather overwhelming set of instructions laid out in front of us the clocks were set and it was time to bake. You have 80 minutes to complete your bake which for us consisted of one large tart as well as a small mini version which the staff will judge at the end to see who will be crowned The Big London Bake winner for the evening. Everything is already measured and set out waiting for you so it seems simple enough with the only decisions you need to make on flavouring and decoration – we went for a vanilla pastry with chocolate custard. But it’s definitely not plain sailing, there is a LOT to get through in the time allocated.
I set to work on the pastry – getting thoroughly over excited about the mixer – while Haydy took point on the custard. The instructions were very comprehensive, no “make a custard” as one of the steps in a technical challenge but instead a step by step guide. That said some of the instructions were just incorrect and we obviously didn’t know this until we were rather abruptly told that we were doing it wrong. I found the staff to be rather abrupt with us instead of the friendly, jovial nature I would have expected, after all we were all meant to be there to have a
bit of fun!
But there was no time to wallow over mistakes made as we hit the half way mark and started to worry there might not be quite enough time to create the masterpiece we needed to win the competition. Kneeling in front of a fan to cool down out pastry case, struggling to dissolve the world’s biggest strawberry into our compote and making the difficult decision on how we would decorate our tart at the end. It was probably just as stressful as being on the show except without cameras on you all the time. Luckily the staff were flitting between all of the stations
cleaning up after us as we went so we could actually have plenty of space to work.
All too soon our time was up and we could breathe a sigh of relief as we transported out tart over for judging. Sadly we didn’t win but we had a lot of fun so really, who’s the real winner?
Tickets cost £40 per person and you need to buy a minimum of two so grab a group of friends and get baking!