The Great Pembroke Bake-Off
Throughout Michaelmas term, graduate students have been participating in a most exciting event: the Great Pembroke Bake-Off! Every Sunday afternoon, the Graduate Parlour fills up with students eager to compete, to observe and of course to taste the various cakes on offer. Our Bake-Off correspondent, Tam Blaxter (2013), reports on the competition so far.
For a second year, the Graduate Parlour has been running ‘The Great Pembroke Bake Off’, a baking competition among the GP members. At four pm each Sunday, two bakers arrive with their entries and other grads come to eat cake, drink tea, chat and vote for a winner!
For this first round the contestants were allowed to make anything they wanted and so far we’ve had a tempting array of different bakes including biscuits (such as Haydn’s biscotti), cakes, pies and puddings. Some contestants have brought recipes from their home countries, such as Kenni’s Danish lagkage and Léonie’s apple pie. Others have invented entirely new things, such as Tom’s ‘Tommy Cooper’ cake — inspired by the famous comedian’s reputation of pouring whisky on his cornflakes for breakfast, this was a set dessert containing cornflakes, whisky and custard!
The year’s competition got off to a slightly odd start, as in the first two weeks the contestants drew, with just as many votes for each cake—a circumstance that hadn’t occurred once in the previous year’s Bake Off! In keeping with the not-especially-competitive spirit of the event, it was agreed that those competitors should team up to enter the second round together. Since then things have run more smoothly, with seven more clear winners declared who will come back to compete again. After a break for Christmas, there are three more weeks of the first round to come on the last three Sundays in January. If you’re around college, do drop in to try some cake and socialise — everyone is welcome! The second round, which will start in February, will have a slightly different format to the first, featuring a different themed challenge each week.
Just as last year, the competition has been a great success not only by providing delicious desserts to cheer everyone up on dreary Sunday afternoons, but by bringing out a crowd to socialise around tea and cake every week. In the studious atmosphere of Cambridge it’s great to have a reminder to stop working and relax for a little while, a function which the Bake Off performs perfectly.