Bake Off: Learn to whip up your own showstopper

Whether you'd like to see Nadiya in action or finesse your chocolate work, it's time to get out of the kitchen

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Has The Great British Bake Off inspired you to get your soggy bottom into shape?

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Whether you’d love to meet a Bake Off winner, fancy yourself as the next Nancy or simply want to surprise your family with a showstopper at Christmas, roll up your sleeves and get stuck into these delectable days out.


Tuck into afternoon tea with Nadiya  

Last year’s winner is a very busy lady. As well as judging Junior Bake Off, she’ll be appearing at events around the country in the next couple of months, including the Liverpool Food and Drink Festival on 17 September; the Cheltenham Literature Festival, where she will host an afternoon tea on 15 October; the Cake and Bake Show (see below); and the Good Food shows in London and Birmingham in November. For the full list, check out Nadiya’s website: nadiyahussain.com

Stock up at the Cake and Bake Show

Where and when? Excel London on 7-9 October, and Event City Manchester on 10-13 November

As well as showcasing the latest ingredients and gadgets, there will be demonstrations from a host of GBBO winners including former champions Nadiya Hussain, Jo Wheatley, John Whaite, Frances Quinn and Nancy Birtwhistle. Advance entry costs from £12.00 per adult in London and £9.50 per adult in Manchester. Find out more: thecakeandbakeshow.co.uk

Hear how Martha got over her soggy bottom

Where and when? Abergavenney on 18 September, Althorp on 24 September, Aldeburgh on 25 September, Henley on 27 September, St Andrews on 7 October and Cheltenham on 14 October

Remember fresh-faced, enviably talented Martha Collison, who cried when Mary criticised her soggy bottom and finished fourth in 2014? Well, Bake Off’s youngest ever contestant is still a teenager but that hasn’t stopped her baking for the Queen’s 90th birthday and publishing a book. She’ll be at book and food festivals across the country in the next month.

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John Whaite with Paul, Mary and fellow 2012 finalists James Morton and Brendan Lynch

Become a showstopper at John Whaite’s Cookery School

Where? Wrightington, Lancashire

The series three winner now has his own cookery school in rural Lancashire. Hands-on courses range from half to three days covering skills such as bread-making, afternoon tea and festive showstoppers. Prices start at £180 for a day including lunch and drinks.

Stay at the 4* Wrightington Country Club and hotel. A special rate applies if you quote ‘John Whaite’s Kitchen’ when booking. Find out more: johnwhaiteskitchen

Challenge Hollywood’s crown after a bread-making course with River Cottage Cookery School

Where and when? Axminster on the Devon/Dorset border, 11 courses per year

During this day of mixing, kneading, baking and eating, River Cottage chefs will inspire you to abandon ready-sliced loaves and discover a world of delicious fresh bread baked at home. Packed with information, demonstrations and practical sessions, you’ll learn the chef’s basic bread recipe and how to adapt it in many different ways, giving you the confidence to become master of your own bakery. You’ll also explore international breads such as focaccia and roti, make wood-fired pizza for lunch and create your own wild yeast starter for fabulous sourdough. In true West Country style, you’ll be transported to and from River Cottage HQ by a tractor and trailer. Prices start at £195.

Alternatively, put on your dancing wellies and join their first family-friendly music festival on 17–18 September. Find out more: rivercottage.net


 You might also like: Ever wondered where the Bake Off tent is pitched?


Brush up on your chocolate work at Rick Stein’s cookery school

Where? Padstow, Cornwall

Not just a spot for mastering fish. Rick Stein’s ‘Friends for dinner’ two-day course offers a range of techniques include baking a soufflé and preparing and cooking meringue. For those with a sweet tooth, watch chocolate expert Stuart Pate talk all things chocolate, where you can enjoy a glass of wine whilst you hear how to create the perfect chocolate creations and watch him create three masterpieces. Or why not give the day-long private cookery course a taste, where the cookery school and executive head chef are yours for a truly bespoke experience you won’t forget. Starting prices are: Friends for dinner, £360; Winter chocolate, £16; Private cookery, £2500 (can bring up to 16 friends). Find out more: rickstein.com

Skip the bake and enjoy the cake at a Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea 

Where? Sanderson, 50 Berners Street, London

Winner of the 2016 Best Themed Afternoon Tea, the Sanderson hotel invites you to tumble down the rabbit hole for the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland and enjoy all the splendour of a Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea. There’ll be no judging or cooking, so you’re free to indulge in red velvet Ladybird Cake, chocolate-coated coffee-flavoured Pocket-Watch Macaroons and sinful scones, all inspired by Lewis Carroll’s classic novel. Discover menus hidden inside vintage books, teapots adorned with kings and queens, sandwich plates decorated with birdcages, carousels and ticking clocks upon which rest savoury, specialty sandwiches. Prices start at £48. Find out more: Sanderson hotel website 

Last but not least: keep it traditional at Bettys

Where? Harrogate, Harlow Carr, York, Stonegate, Ilkley, Northallerton

Founded by a Swiss baker in 1919, the original Bettys café values craft, offering treats made with centuries-old skill – whether that’s baking bread, making chocolate or creating finely detailed celebration cakes. This family-owned business now has six tea rooms in Yorkshire and the Bettys name has become famous the world over. From traditional light sponges to rich continental specialities, Bettys’ cakes will keep on enticing you back. Find out more: 
bettys.co.uk

For more afternoon teas, go to: visitengland.com/things-to-do/afternoon-tead.com

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