It’s a reflection of just how powerful the buzzy baking trend is that for the first time this year Taste of Abu Dhabi is devoting a whole tent to it. A series of masterclasses are on deck featuring Abu Dhabibased bakers as well as international pastry experts including Omar Orfali, who as part of the Orfali Brothers promotes the craft of Aleppian sweets.
At last check there were already 30 people registered for the first-ever Big Baking Tent Bake Off, Saturday from 6.45pm to 7.30pm, sponsored by the International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) in Dubai. Contestants are to bring a cake they created at home for judging, with a chance to win baking courses from ICCA worth Dh25,000.
The panel of judges includes Lanlard and ICCA chef Maia Tsakanov, who warn contestants in advance to make sure their cakes are not harmed during transportation to Yas Island.
Tsakanov plans to come armed with questions that will reveal whether the contestant actually made the cake. If she finds out they haven’t, they’ll be disqualified.
As for guidelines, “it’s up to them and their imagination and their creativity,” she says. “It has to be colourful, because the requirement was to make a cake following the Carnival theme.”
Lanlard dubbed his Baking Masterclass sessions a “bake-a-long”, as 24 participants follow his lead. He expects “interesting” results.
“I’ll be walking around and trying to guide them,” he says. “You know someone is going to burn their cookie and some are not going to be cooked…”