What We Learned Today in Exeter

For a change of scenery we are out of the big smoke this weekend and have come all the way to the good ‘ol West Country, the land of pasties, cider and the best accent in all of Britain. We came to visit The BIG Cake Show, which is being held in Exeter at the Westpoint Exhibition Centre, and we’re writing this as we are sitting in the hotel, lapping up all that the South West hospitality has to offer.

We met organiser extraordinaire, Kim Vernon, at a special project recently (that we can reveal here soon, don’t worry) and couldn’t turn down the opportunity for a little weekend away to explore the awe-inspiring three-day event that Kim has put together! We’ve been to similar food events and shows before, and this one in particular can really compete with the best of them.

The Show began on Friday, but we only arrived late that evening. We spent all day today at the show, taking in some great cooking demonstrations, sampling some of the best food from the South West of England and teasing ourselves with loads of beautiful sugar craft materials and bakeware.

The show continues until the end of the day tomorrow, March 30th, get your tickets at the door and find more details are available at The Big Cake Show website. For all the necessary updates throughout the day, you would be insane not to follow us on Twitter: @GastroGays.


Things we learned today:

  • Cream butter and sugar for at least 10 minutes – it can’t be over-creamed at this stage. It’s all about aeration. – Mich Turner
  • It is worth investing in a good quality, sturdy rubber spatula in baking, ideally with a spoon shape and a sharper edge. It is perfect for folding and cutting through mixes. – Mich Turner
  • For the perfect buttercream, leave the butter out overnight to give it the best chance to be soft and supple. – Mich Turner
  • Baking with chocolate, and deciding on the type to use, is all about the end texture. The higher the cacao percentage, the less fat content present. The lower the percent, the more sweet and buttery the chocolate is. Paul A. Young was name checked by Edd Kimber as being a passionate and expert chocolatier.
  • Before baking, get all the ingredients weighed out and left in the kitchen an hour before you begin. This way all them are at a good even temperature. That means butter, eggs, milk, fruit, chocolate etc. – Jo Wheatly.
  • John Whaite said his experience of juggling his studies and Bake Off was very symbiotic (he simultaneously competed in Bake Off while studying for a law degree, and he spectacularly won both). Juggling the two was easier than he thought because one gave a break from the other.
  • Everyone from the Bake Off sang the praises of the show, and said to just apply if you’ve thought about it.
  • Finally, there are amazing West Country producers that are so worthy of you finding out about and trying… so get your asses down to Exeter tomorrow if you can! We can’t recommend the Show enough.

If you’re down tomorrow, say hello to us! We saw Edd, John, Mich and Jo demonstrate today, but Stacie Stewart, Glen Crosby, Kimberley Wilson, Edd Kimber and Paul Hollywood will be on the stage tomorrow.




  1. Elisa Williams
    March 29, 2014 / 8:29 pm

    What about bigging up the young talents of the South West – after all, they’re the next generation of baking stars? Can we see the ‘Stargazy Pie’ cake winning entry from Tiahna Williams too?
    Cheers boys x

  2. Janice Papworth
    March 30, 2014 / 7:40 am

    Great to see your review and glad you loved Devon food and this event. I’m off there shortly and very excited!

  3. April 4, 2014 / 3:27 pm

    Sounds like you had a great time. I have yet to write my post, but hope to do so soon.

  4. May 1, 2014 / 2:42 am

    There was a show in Exeter devoted to cake? WHY WAS I NOT INFORMED?

    • May 1, 2014 / 9:49 am

      We’re sorry ohi39! Thought everyone got the memo 🙁 they only began this year, so next year is sure to be a stomping hit!

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