December 21 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
A chocolate and cardamom cupcake may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but that did nothing to deter the enthusiasm of one woman who runs a baking competition.
The Iron Cupcake Competition held each month attracts bakers from 10-year-old school girls to retired professional chefs who want to keep on baking.
This week is National Baking Week which encourages everyone to pick up a mix bowl and spoon and have a go creating something sensational in the kitchen.
For Victoria Johnston, 29, who runs the competition held at myplace, Dagnam Park Drive, Harold Hill, cooking is an essential life skill and one which involves a bit of chemistry.
Victoria said: “Baking week is great because anything that promotes a life skill is good. Some people don’t know how to cook unless it’s using a microwave.
“They can’t cook something basic like fairy cakes and many schools don’t teach it anymore.”
This round of the monthly competition was themed around Hallowe’en and included tantalising creations including ghosts and some bat-tastic cakes.
Victoria got the idea for the competition, which has been running for the past two years, after hearing about an American contest where cooks would bake with more unusual creations.
In her version, bakers bring along cakes inspired by that month’s theme and pit their skills against the other bakers
“It’s a great way of experimenting and playing about with flavours,” she said. “It’s a sort of chemistry and is fun and you work it out as you go along.”
Sometimes the inventive creations fail the taste test with one particular shocker being a bloody Mary cake with celery salt and cayenne pepper.
“You know when you’ve made a bad cake,” Victoria said. “It sounded wrong and tasted wrong but she got the apron award for the sheer guts and bravery of making a poisonous cupcake.”
The youngest entrant to the competition was Grace Brennan, 10, who had been trying her skills against the other bakers for 18 months.
The competition on Sunday saw her achieve her highest ever placement taking third prize.
Victoria says she has been cooking since she was a small girl and loved trying out different recipes.
She said: “I’ve cooked for as long as I can remember. I love making a mess in the kitchen and my mum started teaching me bits since I was at primary school.”
The 29-year-old visited one cake competition in the City of London held in an underground pub where guests could sample any of the 30 cupcakes lined up along the bar.
“It was such a nice night out and I’m hoping to get that big,” she added. “We’re gradually growing.”
As for this round of the competition, Victoria entered her cardamom, chocolate and orange favoured cakes shaped like bats.
“I came last sadly,” she said. “It sounded great in theory but it never comes out well when you do it for real.”
This month the Recorder wants to get our readers involved in baking and submit their best recipes for our borough’s best baker competition.
For more information turn to page 6.