Baking Baker Street with Cake Fest Middlesbrough #AD

I absolutely love where I live and I try not to make a secret of it either. Middlesbrough has received so much bad press in the past, but in my opinion, the town is continuously on the up. It's easy to see when you take a quick glance at the retail developments, the booming businesses, all the money that is being invested into making it a better, safer place to live, and the diversity of the people that live here. This summer promises to be a huge celebration of these things with a whole host of events and festivals designed to show off our little town and bring everyone together. However, the one that I'm most excited about is Cake Fest Middlesbrough - a day dedicated to cake and the place I live... how could I not be excited?

This is the first year that Cake Fest has been held in our town and I'm certain it's going to be a huge hit. It has been organised to celebrate the re-opening of the town hall - a building that has undergone £7.7 million worth of renovations - and it will see bakers of all abilities creating local landmarks out of cake. These cakes will then be placed into a huge edible map of Middlesbrough, before the 'Baker's Choice' winners are announced and everyone samples a slice of their favourite! When I first heard about it, I couldn't help but think 'that's right up my street,' so I knew I had to get involved.
Initially, I had swayed towards baking Teesside University for the event. I thought the shape of the Curve building would be amazing in cake form - plus, I'd get to use gold lustre dust or food colouring to create that shiny exterior, but I wanted to push myself a little bit more and do something out of my comfort zone. After much deliberation, I opted to make Baker Street, a portion of Middlesbrough's independent quarter that is full of colourful buildings and graffiti art. People told me that I'd regret choosing to make something so big and difficult, but I'm headstrong and knew that I could make it work! I spent time pondering over my design, flavours and the look I wanted, whilst taking photos and choosing the most interesting buildings to make until I had come up with a solid plan.
Something that is hugely important for Baker Street is Orange Pip Market - an artisan food and drink market that has helped to revive the area of the town, along with the introduction of the independent retailers - so this was something that I knew I wanted to heavily incorporate. Of course, when thinking about flavours, orange was a no brainer, so I've chosen to make two rectangular cakes with four layers of orange madeira in each. That's right... eight layers in total! I'll be honest, I'm still a little bit unsure about what I want to sandwich them together with, but in the practise bake that you can see in the photos, I used chocolate orange buttercream, which worked very nicely! I'm undecided about whether I want to use orange buttercream and jam instead though. I've got a week to think about it, so stay tuned on my Twitter, where I'll be posting updates! As well as incorporating the orange flavour, I also wanted to get the market itself on the cake somehow. I bought a few little railway models to build (which was extremely fiddly and frustrating, may I say) from a local shop, Peter's Spares, and put them together for my practise run. There are a few more models I need to build still, but you can kind of see what I'm going for! I'm also going to be making more flags to hang from the buildings and some bunting to string across over the street.

To get a feel for how big the final cake will be and have a go at getting the look I want, I decided to make half the street as a practise. Originally, I wanted to make the white wall with the Five Orange Pips story, the Slater's Pick micropub, Disgraceland and the Baker Street Furniture Company, but I forgot to buy any lilac or purple icing, so Disgraceland had to be sacrificed for the practise. However, I am really pleased with the way it turned out! It was my first time ever making anything this big, so I was a little apprehensive, but with a bit of help and encouragement, I got it done. My favourite bits are the roof, the bay windows and the brickwork along the back and right side. I won't lie, it was a lot more difficult than I expected. I've never used fondant in such large quantities before and I definitely struggled with it, but it gives me the appearance that I'm after, so sucking it up and dealing with it is my only option.

If you'd like to see a quick little video that my boyfriend put together of the baking process, take a little look here. Make sure you have your sound on!

I'm very much looking forward to Cake Fest Middlesbrough and I can't wait to see what everyone else comes up with. I'm part of a group on Facebook where we all chat about the landmarks we're making, share tips and just have a general chit chat, so there's already a lovely community around this event. It'll be great to meet some of the other bakers in person and have a cuppa with them! If you'd like to come along to the event, it's free to attend and absolutely anyone is able to visit. There's even a free slice of cake in it for you! There are also a handful of unclaimed landmarks if any locals would like to take part (take a look at the list here). This is all just a bit of fun and a way to get the town together, so any level of baker can contribute - I usually only stick to cupcakes and brownies, so this is a real challenge for me - beginners, professionals, hobby bakers, home bakers... anyone can add a cake to the map!


This post was sponsored by Cake Fest Middlesbrough and Crystallised PR. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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