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From the blog

The Great PECT Bake Off


Nine weeks, 30 bakes, one winner and a lot of competitiveness. The Great PECT Bake Off has seen staff from Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT), PECT Consultancy Ltd, and Sustrans competing against each other to be crowned champion baker.

I was in the third round of heats, and our challenge was sugar-free cake and, like all the rounds, we had to follow the PECT ethos and be as sustainable as possible – so it was free-range eggs, organic carrots, and wildflower honey all the way.

I was competing against Office Manager Selina and the unknown quantity of new guy Stuart, our Commercial Manager. There was a lot of banter back and forth during the week leading up to our bake, trying to psych each other out without giving away the details of what we were doing. We brought the cakes in on Monday morning and had a sneak peek of each others before everyone else came in.

I got a bit worried at this point, because although I had made a three-layered carrot cake it was very plainly decorated with just some regular icing on the top. Selina had decorated hers with dozens of fresh blueberries and Stuart had gone all out and iced the PECT logo onto the top of his cake! I was going to have to hope mine was the best tasting (and possibly win people over with the fact I had made three times as much cake as everyone else).

Judging rolled around at lunch time and we finally got to try our bakes; personally I preferred my own, but I am fairly biased and it was hard to tell whose the judges preferred. We left the room whilst the judges voted and were called back in to the news that I had won!

Fantastic news, but this meant I was into the final, which meant more baking and much tougher competition. I was going to be up against the seven other round winners and we were going to be making showstoppers. As the weeks progressed and I found out who was going to be in the final I got a bit worried about my chances, but I stayed quietly confident that my baking abilities could lead me to victory.

With less than a week to go we found out the brief: traditional cakes. A wide brief which allowed a lot of interpretation from the bakers, and meant we had chocolate cakes, vanilla sponges, lemon drizzle, red velvet cake, a lemon and raspberry cake and my own five-tiered green velvet Ombre cake.

My cake was shaped like a house and came complete with green coconut grass, a pond, shortbread animals and a gingerbread fence. It had taken two days, a lot of flour, eggs (free-range of course), butter and sugar (Fairtrade naturally) to make and there were a few mishaps along the way, with a whole cake having to be binned because I forgot the raising agent, a first attempt at a fence which could only be described as a blob, and an unsuccessful attempt to decorate with food colouring rather than writing icing.

The standard was very high and seeing and tasting the other cakes I knew it was going to be close – and it was. When the final results of the secret ballot came in I had come second, losing out by just one vote to April’s very tasty lemon and raspberry cake. It was very disappointing (especially knowing how close it was), but a very fun experience and I would do it all again. Now I just need to work out how to top my efforts from this year…

This blog was written by Andrew Ellis, PECT's Fundraising Officer.