|Anna adds another GBBO star
to her photo collection!
chocolate and cherry cake
April’s meeting was the first time since we moved to Electric Works that the Helter Skelter sat unused and forlorn. After all, who needs slides when you have over 20 different cakes?!
Pina Colada Sandwich Cake
Pear and Walnut
Orange and Lemon
Pineapple, Lime and Chilli
Cherry and Almond
Pear and Nutmeg
Salted Caramel, Apple and Pecan
Rhubarb and Ginger
Pear and Chocolate
Apple and Cinnamon
Pear and Pistachio
Rose and Raspberry mini loaves
Lime and Passionfruit Drizzle
Raspberry and Chocolate
Fig, Pecan and Maple Syrup
Vanilla and Strawberry Rainbow Battenburg
Hazelnut and Praline
Clementine and Almond
Cherry and Chocolate Brownie Cake
|Louise Worn’s amazing
rice flour rainbow Battenburg
Drool, cakey goodness… Sorry, back to business! Committee member Grace had done a wonderful job of organising the 23 entries into their relevant categories and walking round the corner to be faced with the display was quite frankly like walking into utopia – SHWI has some very talented members. The table was laden with beautifully presented cakes of all flavours and types (more of which to follow). Danny was to judge them based on three criteria – appearance, texture and taste. With my mind already boggled by the amazing array of baked delights, I decided to channel my inner April O’Neil (the journalist from the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, non-80s kids) and make notes about all the cakes on display so I could remember them all and note some of Danny’s comments. I wish I had the time, space and superlatives to describe in detail every cake, but actually I think I’ll let the accompanying photos do the talking. Danny’s first job was to judge on appearance so that Grace could slice up the cakes for the taste and texture judging (and also to feed the hungry hordes come break time). I can exclusively reveal (get me!) that she gave a special mention in terms of appearance to Sam Cleasby’s Pear and Walnut upside down cake – she loved the rustic presentation and thought the glazed pear decoration was a fantastic touch.
Danny’s next job was to judge taste and texture. She approached this with slight trepidation as 23 slices of cake is a lot in anyone’s book. However, it says something for the quality of entries that she told us she enjoyed every single bite! She was bowled over by the brilliant concepts and beautiful presentation, but as the cliché goes, the proof of the pudding (or cake) is in the eating. She thought the Clementine and Almond cake was beautifully citrusy, the Cherry and Almond had very clean and distinct flavours and she loved the gorgeous home-made marmalade on the Orange and Lemon Cake, these are just a few of the many, many positive comments she made.
|SHWI members enjoying cake!|
The next part of the meeting was Danny’s talk and what a captivating talk it was! It was her first time speaking to a WI group and she had planned her speech around the assumption we’d want to know about her Bake Off experience and baking in general – she certainly knew her audience! Firstly she explained how entering the competition had been, in her words, ‘a bet that got out of hand’! She had first developed an interest in cooking at school thanks to her inspirational Home Economics teacher (and of course Delia) and also due to the fact that she wanted to be able to eat things she liked and nobody else in her family was particularly interested in cooking. She has always cooked and baked, especially at Christmas, and was renowned for her skills amongst her family, although she stressed it was not something she did avidly. Danny is not much of a TV watcher herself but her sister is a cookery show fan but not much of a cook herself (something I can definitely relate to). She and her husband encouraged Danny to enter GBBO because they felt it was the most suitable show for her, as she is a vegetarian and shows like Masterchef generally involve a lot of meat and fish cookery.
Upon submitting the LONG application form, Danny was selected to progress to the next stage of a lengthy application process. She had many phone interviews, spot tests on baking, screen tests, techinical challenges and more! Danny says she felt confident about these tests and attributes this to her job as an Intensive Care Consultant, where her medical training conditioned to jump professional hurdles and look for the next. Perhaps it was this attitude (as well as her amazing food!) that got her into the final 12.
Danny then let us into a few secrets behind the filming of the series which we couldn’t possibly tell!
|Danny and SHWI|
After her amazing talk, Danny proved again what an all-round inspirational lady she is by promoting a charity close to her heart, the Sheffield Hospitals Charity’s new initiative, Charity Chef. This encourages charity supporters to host a dinner party and ask their guests to make a donation to the Charity in return for their food. For more information on how you can get involved with Charity Chef go here.
1st Blanche Spataro’s Cherry and Almond cake
2nd Sam Cleasby’s Pear and Walnut cake
3rd Jen Marsden’s Pina Colada cake
1st Caryl Carson’s Carrot Cake
2nd Samantha Duffy’s Chocolate and Raspberry Cake
3rd Amy Grange’s Hazelnut and Praline Cake
Well done ladies! Although all entrants should be very proud as it was a VERY tough decision! The prize winners were presented with rosettes to mark their accomplishments. A fitting end to a fabulous night! And, of course, the icing on the cake (boom boom) for me was adding a picture with Danny to my burgeoning collection of GBBO contestant photos!
Finally – SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT! If this blog post has whet your appetite, why not come to the next SHWI Dining Club event on Friday 24 May at the Showroom cinema?!
Photos by Laura Bainbridge