Cake Fest is coming to Perth and it’s going to be sweet!
I think it’s fair to say most people love a bit of cake, and now the people of our Small City have the chance to immortalise some of Perth’s most famous landmarks in delicious fashion! Temporarily of course, because then everyone’s invited along to have a taste of some of the city’s most iconic sites.
From Perth Leisure Pool to Scone Palace, Kinnoull Hill to the Hermitage, it’s all going to be put together into one gigantic piece and unveiled at the Cake Fest event on Sunday 19th November, which is part of Perth’s Winter Festival.
And it seems the locals are right up for it! Simon Preston, the head baker for Cake Fest, is in charge of his 11th version of the baking bonanza and having worked on cities such as Edinburgh in the past, he’s been stunned by just how much the people of Perth want to get involved. This has been the fastest up take in any Cake Fest I’ve done to date - Perth and Kinross bakers are certainly up for a food adventure.
“This has been the fastest up take in any Cake Fest I’ve done to date,” he told me, “it’s been incredible. Perth and Kinross bakers are certainly up for a food adventure. We’ve got 38 teams of community bakers already signed up to put spoon to bowl and we’ve got several more just waiting to make up their minds about which landmark to create.”
With some of the magnificent buildings and stunning locations we have in Perthshire, it’s going to take some pretty superb creativity and talent to sculpt something like St. Matthew’s Church out of sponge and icing. With that in mind, Simon recommends people get started soon just in case they have some problems with their chosen piece.
“The most important thing is that those taking part enjoy themselves and have fun – this is not a competition it’s a fantastic communal project. It’s a good idea though to give yourself plenty of time to plan and practice.
“Every cake and building is challenging in its own way but it really depends how bakers decide to tackle it. They can keep it simple or make it as complicated as they like.
“There are quite a few in Perth that could be quite tricky. We’ve got three groups already signed up to make notable bridges and keeping these up are always a challenge! It’s an area ripe with castles and grand buildings which bring certain challenges with lots of windows and fiddly details.
“Plus there are lots of tall landmarks to be included in the map too. The Tower of Kinnoull Hill was one of the earliest cakes to be claimed and I sincerely hope that the baking team responsible won’t regret it!”
It all sounds very tasty and it looks like it’s caught the imagination of the public as they aim to make Perth’s Cake Fest the best yet. And, with the nation’s favourite – the Great British Bake Off – back on tele, it could be the inspiration to create a delicious Perthshire picture.
I fancy myself as a bit of a chef but when it comes to baking, I’m not embarrassed to admit I don’t have a clue. For that reason, we asked our friends at Celebration Station for a helping hand and got their expert Angela to enlighten us with her top tips for anyone looking to tackle tall buildings or recreate a running river.
"There are a few things you can do to create cakes in specific shapes," Angela told us.
"We have polystyrene models which can be used as support to build the cake around and you can buy these online too. Alternatively, you can get cake tins which are in different shapes such as domes or balls and we have these available to hire out. They're often used as one-offs to create specific cakes so people don't always like buying these things as they're rarely used - that's why we offer them out on hire."
And where would should you start? If you're thinking of trying to bake something tall like St. Matthew's Church or something grand like Scone Palace, what's the first thing to do and what kind of cake should you be baking?
"Definitely go for a sponge cake - they're the best for this type of thing. You want something that you can easily carve and cut into different shapes. Something like a Victoria sponge, or a Madeira cake would be what I'd recommend.
"As for where to start, well it really depends on the building. You'd probably start by creating the base - a good, solid base on a cake board for support. For the larger buildings you're better to bake different parts separately before bringing it all together at the end.
"I'd leave the separate parts overnight to allow them to set before sandwiching it all together and covering it with sugar paste. For the really tall structures you might want to purchase a doweling road to stick through the middle of the cake - this will keep it stable and most importantly, keep it up!"
Some of the landmarks have small, intricate details which will need to be featured. Something like the flumes at Perth Leisure Pool, or boats on the River Tay may have to be created so what's the best way to go about that?
"The flumes - that's a tricky one! For smaller details you'd probably be best to use modelling paste - that's what we'd use to add things to the top of a cake that stand out in 3D. So for the boats or for cars, that would definitely be the way to go. We get asked all of the time how we manage to refrain from eating while we're baking!
"Perth Leisure Pool is probably one of the trickier buildings just because of the flumes. You'd probably use the paste but dry it over a tube shape or build it round something non-edible that you can use for support, but it's definitely quite a difficult one!"
Even just writing this article has made me hungry, so imagine what it would be like actually baking! Angela has some advice for anyone who thinks they might be tempted to eat as they bake...
"We get asked all of the time how we manage to refrain from eating while we're baking! As we're around cake and the sweet, sugary smells all day every day, we're not actually that tempted to be honest.
"For those that are partial to having a bite before it's all finished, just make sure you're only baking exactly what you need. That way even if you're tempted, you know that it's a vital piece of the final product and you can't eat it!"
To get all of the information on different products that may come in handy for Cake Fest, visit Angela and her team at Celebration Station. You can contact them on 01738 625886 or visit their website.
Perth City Centre is set to be sizzling with the smells, sights and sounds of talented chefs and award-winning producers in this foodie extravaganza.
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