The concept of the Big Birmingham Bake may seem familiar to those who watch a lot of Channel 4, and prior to that a lot of BBC1. Or maybe just a lot of TV. It involves a big tent filled with work stations, each kitted out with an oven, fancy mixers, and a drawer filled with utensils. There are pre-filled bowls, a recipe to follow, and shelves full of flavourings, textures, and toppings. It's... It's...It's The Big Birmingham Bake.
Sure, there are other baking events held in tents that may garner more telly time, but this is the only one you need to know about. Firstly, it's in Digbeth, which is far cooler than anywhere else on the planet. Secondly they have a bar! (A bar!!) Which means you can booze while you bake, which Mary Berry herself would testify, with several decades of experience, is the only way to do it. And you get a teammate to blame your mistakes on help out, although my boyfriend definitely took the bar more seriously than the baking…
Heading down around Christmastime, our signature bake is a chocolate log. The only choice we need to make is the flavour, for which we aim big, plumping for rum, banana, and ginger. How very festive. Detailed instructions are provided and help is on hand throughout the one hour session to provide top tips (who knew that warming up the frosting made it easier to apply?) and to stop the silly errors like mistaking cream cheese for butter, not that we would ever, ahem, do that.
By the time that we come around to decorating the log I'm proud of what we've achieved. Our sponge has no tears or rips, and despite stuff going into bowls in an incorrect order it all seems to have worked. Cakes are laid out and judging takes place, with us scooping a commendable third place behind a ten-year-old and a fourteen-year-old. The winner gets a prize whilst we all get to take our cakes home. It is here that we agree that the flavours weren't quite right. It's okay though; we have skills to perfect. By the time the next challenge rolls around we'll be there, ready to take the crown.
If you're looking for competitive baking with the option of a tipple or two then you should definitely consider getting yourself over to Floodgate Street stat. The Big Birmingham Bake is bringing the heat and then some with a fun and interactive take on the classic cake-making class.