Cakes are everywhere! Every time I turn on the TV, every time I open a magazine, when I'm with friends and family everyone is eating and making delicious cakes! Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few years, you've probably noticed it.
Working in the industry, it's great to see so many people embracing the ever growing popularity of cake making. I come from a background of bakers and was inspired by my family to make food of the highest quality, which is how I became a pâtissier and chocolatier.
Testament to the popularity of the cake industry is new awards programme, The Cake Awards, which will find and celebrate the very best British cakes. Research carried out by the event organisers shows that many people are making cakes more frequently, with 50% saying that they bake weekly, and almost a quarter finding the time to bake several times a week.
The results also show that Mary Berry is the person most people in the UK would like to bake with getting half of all votes, with Paul Hollywood coming in second - not a great shock considering the phenomenal success of The Great British Bake Off. It's also interesting to see people are getting inspiration from lots of different places, with most respondents saying friends and family are their biggest influence, followed by TV programmes and then books and magazines. Many of us use baking cakes to relieve stress and help relaxation - it probably also helps relaxation eating a few of them!
There was a sense that baking brings family together, with many people saying their top baking companion would be a family member, like their Mum or Sister and many also stating that the reason for them baking on a regular basis is because their children enjoy it. I really think baking can be something you can enjoy as a family and I have memories of cooking with my Grandparents that I will treasure forever. It's a great way for children to learn, and spend time with their family and it's relatively inexpensive.
The Cake Awards also interviewed a panel of industry experts about what they thought 2013 would bring to the world of cakes... and it certainly looks like we're going to continue riding the baking wave, with some exciting treats in store. Amongst the suggestions were doughnuts in more diverse flavours than ever before - David Hamilton, Innovation Director at Kerry Foods hinted that we may see the creation of square doughnuts. Traditional and retro looking treats will also be tickling our taste buds and the experts also expect to see more unusual flavours emerging - more vegetables like beetroot, carrots and parsnips in cakes. Other suggestions for more unusual flavours include marshmallows, Tonka Beans, candied bacon, Wasabi and Hibiscus. Mini cakes will stay in vogue - making cakes an affordable treat.
The Cake Awards will see the very best British cakes revealed, with cakes being expertly judged by a panel of industry figures. I'm pleased to be on the judging panel this year - we'll be looking for everything from the finest tea room slice and grandest hotel fancies to the myriad varieties on the shelves of supermarkets, bakery shops and retail food chains across the country. We're hoping to see some of the traditional cakes coming through, but also some of the new flavours too.
Winners will be announced at an afternoon tea and award ceremony on the 19 June at the Park Lane Hotel in Mayfair, London. To enter The Cake Awards or for more information visit - www.thecakeawards.com
My book, Pâtisserie at Home, is out on the 11 April, visit www.willtorrent.com for more information.