How to host your very own Great British Bake-Off garden party
Every August, the UK grinds to a halt as the Great British Bake-Off begins and we're treated to a smorgasbord of delicious baked goods each week.
And, as fans of the show will know, the grand final is hosted in the midst of a beautiful outdoor party that millions of people up and down the UK would love to attend. It's a wonderland of balloons, bunting, and Battenburgs, and it's any cake lover's dream day out.
Well, with the new series on the horizon, why not get inspired and host a Bake-Off-style party in your own garden? To help you get started, we've put a few essential tips together below that will take you from getting the invites sent out to setting up your garden (and everything in between), so be sure to read on for more.
Get your guest list and invitations sorted
The first step to hosting your own Bake-Off party is to decide who you'd like to invite and who you think would be interested in entering the competition. Remember that not all your friends and family will be expert bakers, so reassure them that the contest is a bit of fun and that they don't have to produce a professional-looking cake to enter.
Next, you'll need to send out those all-important invites and wait as the RSVPs come rolling in. We have a great range of fancy invitations to choose from as part of our range, so be sure to check those out.
Decide how to host your competition
Though it's not as exciting as choosing decorations or the baking itself, you'll need to decide what format your competition will take.
If you're really going to capture that Bake-Off feeling, you might want your contestants to prepare their goodies on the day in your kitchen. However, this will probably involve more cleaning up afterwards, so you may prefer to get everyone to bring their creations with them on the day.
You will also need to appoint a panel of (impartial) judges to decide on the winner, so be sure to have a word with the people who most remind you of Mary Berry! The Great British Bake-Off's official party pack even includes a certificate you can award to the winner.
Choose a recipe to bake (or come up with your own)
As the party host, you may wish to remain neutral and judge the competition (and sample all those baked goods first), but there's no reason why you can't throw your hat in the ring and whip up your own entry. If you're already a keen baker, chances are you have a good idea of what you would like to make, and you may even have your own secret recipe for success. However, if you're a newbie or are stuck for inspiration, the BBC's Good Food has a set of easy baking recipes you can follow.
Pick out your favourite decorations
Next is the fun part — picking out your favourite decorations to transform your garden into a baking paradise. You'll want to capture that traditional British party look the TV show does so well, so begin with a staple: bunting. Not only does bunting look the part, but it's super-easy to put up and take down as it can be draped over branches or fence posts in your garden.
Set up your tasting area
When the time comes to host your extravaganza, you'll need to set up your garden. One of the most important things to think about is where and how you’re going to display your treats for judging.
You'll need plenty of table space so that everyone can have a good look at the goodies that you and your friends have baked. Try covering your surface in a tablecloth that matches your other decorations for a beautiful, unified theme, and don't forget to set out some cute plates, napkins, and cutlery for that vital tasting session.
On the Bake-Off, they always host their party under the cover of a grand marquee so that not even the weather will affect the judging — it is the 'British' Bake-Off, after all. To capture the look for your own party, consider investing in a gazebo, like these ones from Wyevale Garden Centres, to protect you, your friends, and your cakes from the elements. Not only will they keep you dry on the day, but they're a great investment for hosting future parties in your garden, too.
Follow our five essential tips and you'll be hosting your own British Bake-Off in no time. All that's left to say is good luck and we hope your party is a huge success!