I decided that I needed to do it. I have baked since my Mum taught me and I love to do it. So this was to be the year I entered the local show.
I got the booklet and application form and decided which 2 things to make. I could have entered any amount of products but decided to limit myself due to A) inexperience B) time and C) if I don’t get a place in the top 3 then 2 rejections is better than lots of rejections. After all Audrey / Edna / Beryl has probably been winning the ginger cake and lemon curd prize for 37 years and “no one can beat her “.
So, I made the lemon curd two days before to allow it to cool, set and the flavours settle together. The instructions were to NOT put it in a screw top jar so my best small clippy Kilner jar. My husband tasted it and declared it lovely and not too tart and not too mild. Good result. However, as I always leave the grated lemon peel in my curd and bought types don’t I am now fretting that “bits in ” might be my downfall. Oh the stress !
And on to the ginger cake. I lined the tin carefully so there could be no pan-stickage and it would have smooth sides. I watched it carefully and took it out just at the right time. It smelt nice, didn’t sink at all and I left it to cool . The competition rules expressed that it had to be made in a loaf tin, so I used my smaller one. And looking at it cooling I wondered if it was maybe too small ! Within 2 hours I had exchanged it for a slightly larger one (I had made 4 !) but this one had the grooves from the tin liner on it…what to do !
Oh bloomin’ heck ! Bits in my lemon curd…possibly too small ginger cake…how on earth do the contestants on The Great British Bake Off keep their sanity week after week, bake after bake ?
The entry form had to be taken down to the hall during the day and the entries later in the day so off I went, application form and 50p per entry in my lemon and ginger smelling hands!
Then, 7 hours later I had to leave my entries at the hall, labelled and ready to be artistically arranged in their classes by the officious officials. I felt like I had left my children with strangers. I went home.
The following day was the judging (8am…time is everything at these events it seems!), but the hall wasn’t opened to the public again until 1pm, so my morning was spent fretting. Would there be enough entries to even warrant a prize? Would the judges like my offerings? If not why on earth not?!?! What’s wrong with it? Oh the torment.
Anyway, the allotted time came and we arrived, once again at the hall and walked in. First of all we noticed that there were 6 entries in each of the classes I had entered and whoop whoop! My ginger cake won second prize ! Yes yes yes! And while I was marvelling at this shock, my husband dived off to the preserves section and returned to announce “You won the lemon curd!” Seven entries there and I won! The peel made no difference! In fact maybe the peel won it! Who knows! Who actually cares!
I went to the table of officious officials to ask about claiming my prize. I was handed my winnings. £7. £4 for 1st and £3 for 2nd. Never has such a small amount meant so much to me!
So, once our elation had calmed, we wandered around the other exhibits. Some beautiful, some pitiful, some shameful (mis spelt words on embroidery!) but the prize for the “I wish the floor would swallow me up” exhibit must go to the flower arrangement which was the only one in it’s class. . . And it got 3rd place !
And as we went home, feeling proud and enjoying my husband’s congratulations, my mind turned to what was in the cake that won! Did she use black treacle rather than golden syrup? More ginger?
I knew this would happen!