Last week I headed to London to an event which had me nervous and excited. It was a baking class, but there was a competitive edge to it. I knew there would be cake involved, and that we would be making them in the shape of houses, but the rest of the details were a little woolly. The sponsor of the event was L & C Mortgages, who feel that getting a mortgage should be a ‘piece of cake.’
I arrived at the prestigious cookery school for sustainable learning off London’s Regent Street with trepidation, but once I went downstairs into the basement kitchen/ classroom and met some familiar faces and saw the layout, I relaxed. There were baking stations with KitchenAid mixers and an open plan kitchen at the far end that was a hive of activity. We had some much needed caffeine and some warm scones straight from the oven that were light and melt in the mouth.
After a quick health and safety brief it was on to the tasks. We were paired up, my partner was the beautiful Jaillan from Savoir There, a travel blogger who was as competitive as me. The challenge – we had approximately 2 hours to make, bake and decorate our cakes in the shape of whatever house we chose. It was different to how I’d imagined, I thought we’d all be copying the same design that we’d have demonstrated to us, so this was a shock. At stake was a prize worth £200 for the winner of the challenge. After much deliberation, we decided to make the house an L shape, and a pathway next to it to show the letters of L & C mortgages. A desperate attempt to curry favour with the judges. My first thought was a lighthouse, but whatever we chose, the time we had to do it in was really hard. I have some rudimentary cake decorating experience, I know how to deal with sugarpaste, but I find it all really frustrating.
The baking part went well, once I got the hang of the mixer, then it was fun choosing materials to decorate with, and plan our construction. It was great having access to lots of colours, equipment and chocolate fingers (1 or 2 didn’t make it onto the cake), and even better not to have to wash up. The team at the cookery school were buzzing round us and helping us out.
Once the cakes were baked and turned out, they went in the blast chiller whilst we continued to work on the decor. I covered the board in green sugarpaste that I coloured and made a wooden roof out of chocolate sugarpaste. Jaillan worked on the pathway. It’s always the same when I have a cake idea – the idea in my head never translates quite how I imagined it in practice – I had in mind a 20’s flat roofed house with windows and a gravel path. We ended up doing a wood roof and a sort of log cabin. To make it work, Jaillan made an excellent chocolate finger fire. My icing went a bit awry as I had to rush it and we hastily added some detail. This is the finished cake. We were last to hand it in!
The other cakes were simply stunning and I knew we had no chance, but I was glad we got something out. You can see from the aerial shot the design we tried to achieve. We relaxed while the judges deliberated. The winners were announced – the pretty pink castle was the worthy winner!
We enjoyed a glass of fizz and chatted amongst ourselves before going our separate ways. The point of the event was to tie in with L & C’s new TV ad, which shows a couple choosing a cake which costs them £700 for 25 years! The idea is that choosing a mortgage shouldn’t be like buying cake, but it can be a piece of cake. L & C offer expert fee free mortgage advice from over 80 lenders and guide you through the application process. I’ve been through four mortgage applications and it’s always such a hassle, it would be nice to have someone to hold my hand through it. If it’s a tiny bit easier than decorating a wobbly cake and making it look like a house someone would actually live in and not worry about the cracks, they’ve won.
Having personally met some of the faces behind the company and some satisfied customers at the event, I feel confident they’d be up there with the top mortgage advisers, and probably a better option than someone who works in an estate agent or some random independent adviser. And if anyone asks me to design and decorate a cake in any form again, I’m doing something simple next time!
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