House Cup: Knights House Wins House Bake-Off
Thursday 12 May saw representatives from each of Bede’s 10 Houses working in groups and competing with one another in a very special House Bake-Off.
In a belated celebration of the Queen’s 90th Birthday, the House teams were tasked with decorating a sponge cake for Her Majesty in no longer than 30 minutes.
Each team was given a selection of icing, including red, white, blue and butter icing, piping bags, rolling pins and spatulas, and could use additional edible beautifications bought separately to finish their masterworks.
With Deputy Knights Housemaster Mr Mpandawana timing the event, and the students’ endeavours watched over by Bede’s caterers Holroyd Howe, the competition duly began at 1.30 sharp and the Old Dining Room descended into one-part concentration, two-parts bedlam.
The teams from Bede's boys’ boarding houses Camberlot, Stud and Dorms appeared conceptually and almost existentially bewildered by the task at hand and, after lots of giggling and confusion, the representatives from Dorms set about analysing their various ingredients via a series of intensive taste-tests.
On the Stud House table meanwhile, the boys started their cake engineering project without a plan and, after making some early and possibly fatal errors, looked to complete the cake’s decoration as quickly as possible.
Ten minutes later the boys looked up and saw their competition’s efforts and, seemingly in a state of panic, decided that the best way to improve upon their now complete design was to maim their cake, cutting holes in it and filling those holes with sweets.
Back on the Dorms table, with their supplies dwindling and a sugar rush kicking in, the boys set to work and built up a sense of camaraderie with the Camberlot team who, like them, had no clue whatsoever as to how to decorate a cake.
The outcomes for all three boy’s boarding houses were, therefore, unmitigated disasters which, if served to our monarch, would comfortably qualify as acts of treason.
Contrastingly, the Dicker, Dorter, Deis, Crossways, Charleston, Bloomsbury and Knights House teams had all brought their game-faces along to the event and, mercifully, each also seemed to have a plan.
On the Dorter table, the girls had come up with a preliminary design on their laptops and seemed positioned to excel. The challenge, it turned out, was to translate their design into icing, with the materials being far stickier and less easily cut-to-shape than they had expected.
The Crossways girls took an opposite approach, concluding that simple was best; they iced their cake and then set about using spray-icing to colour the entire cake gold, finishing it with pink flowers and silver baubles.
Probably the most supported team in the room was the Deis House group who, at moments during the competition, attracted a critical and passionate crowd. At a certain point, this audience had to be moved on as the boys needed their space to ensure that their design really came together.
Dicker House’s effort proved perhaps a little too simplistic and possibly not edible enough; covered with printed paper and adorned with Ferrero Rocher chocolates still in their wrapping, the team perhaps cut a few too many corners during their rush to finish.
A full hop, skip and jump ahead of the competition, the girls of Charleston and Bloomsbury House and the boys’ of Knights (with an attentive Mr Mpandawana watching over them like a hawk) all worked exceptionally hard in their teams and created stunning designs which would have made Mary Berry proud.
The Bloomsbury team started by rolling out their icing and cutting out hundreds of tiny, delicate, red, white and blue flowers which they then placed onto the cake in a suitably patriotic, Union Jack design, secured in position by butter icing.
The Knights boys similarly zeroed in on a Union Jack design and took a clinical, almost mathematical approach to their process: Bede’s Theatre Production whizz Matthew Jebb, ably assisted by his teammates, less decorated their cake and more built their design using slabs of icing and an array of home-bought accoutrements.
Possibly the most ambitious of all, the girls of Charleston House not only iced and artfully decorated their cake with an icing flower and bunting care of Eastbourne Young Chef of the Year 2015 finalist Zoe Kirk but, in what looked to be a coup de grace move, Lower Sixth artist Alina Wiltshire also made a complete model of Queen Elizabeth II out of icing, replete with crown and handbag, to stand on top of their masterwork.
Once the 30 minute time-limit had elapsed and the competitors had departed for their afternoon Co-Curricular activities, Holroyd Howe's chefs judged the outcomes and determined that Knights House had won with Bloomsbury House in second and Charleston in third.
All in all, this House Bake-Off was a fun, challenging and characterful event enjoyed by all – even if the cakes were almost all rendered wholly inedible by the end of the decorating process.
More intriguingly, with time running out on this year's House Cup competition and only Sports Day and one final set of House Competitions to go, could it be that Knights House has it in the bag?
Stud House in 10th...
Camberlot House in 9th...
Dorms House in 8th...
Dorter House in 7th...
Dicker House in 6th...