February 2012: AGM and the Great Sweethearts Bake Off

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Is there any better way to spend Valentine’s Day than by eating a lot of cake with some lovely people, and then judging them for their skills?

As our February meeting fell on the night when a lot of strange people want to spend time with their loved ones, we were unsure what sort of crowd we would attract.

We needn’t have worried, however – our fabulous bakers and eager tasters turned out in sufficient numbers to ensure a lively evening and a great competition.

The night began with our AGM, which is a vital part of our role as a WI. It was nothing too onerous, however: a bit of an update on our finances, a look back on our first year-and-a-bit together, and a talk about where our annual membership money goes from Carol Ambler, one of the wonderful federation advisers who helped us to get started in those early days.

We were then introduced to the committee members (most people probably had no idea who they were because they spend every meeting running around like lunatics!) and a vote was taken on who our president should be for the coming year. The lovely Bex Brown was re-elected by a landslide, which we were thrilled about – she has been the heart and soul of the group since it began and works incredibly hard to make it all run smoothly. Of course, she has the backing of a great committee to help her out!

After the business of the night was complete, we moved on to the bake-off. The instructions had been simple: bake something and bring it with you. The result was an incredible array of sweet things, from biscuits to brownies, and lemon drizzle to loaf cakes, to suit all tastes.

With so many entries, we decided to split the competition in two: large cakes (ie one big cake which required slicing) and small cakes/biscuits. Everyone was encouraged to try as many different samples as possible and then to vote for their favourite in each category.

Incredibly, almost every entry got at least one vote, showing that a good cake really is a matter of taste. All of the entries showed a lot of skill and time had gone into the competition – you would expect no less from the WI! However, there could only be one winner – or, in this case, four winners and a best in show.

We chose a runner up and a winner in each category. The overall winner, with the most votes out of both categories, was Debs Wynn. She had baked an incredible raspberry cheesecake with brownie base, using the very clever tactic of including a range of delicious cakey elements to try to please as many people as possible. Each category winner was given a first place rosette, while Debs got a special Best in Show rosette.

It was a very successful first AGM and bake-off, as well as a brilliant way to spend Valentine’s Day. Roll on next year!

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