We have a handy celebrity for the Leamington exhibition - Pete Waterman. Since he is building a model of Leamington Spa station and a local lad to boot, he always brings some stuff down to the Saturday of the show and happily sits and chats to people. He enjoys himself and hopefully gets a little more information to help the model along and we get a name to act as a draw for the show.
As it happens, last Saturday was his 64th birthday so we thought it would be a good idea to get a cake. It's a nice thank you for coming to the show and doing a radio interview for us.
Now I might be reasonably good at making things but I'm out of practise with cake - baking it anyway, eating it is fine - so it looked like something horribly generic would be required. Then I remembered getting a cake printed for a promotion I ran years ago at work. A quick web search for "photo cake" revealed that Asda could do the honours.
All I needed was a picture. Now Chris Nevard took some photos at Mr W's railway a few months ago and a quick e-mail found me a with a choice of pictures. I liked the blue "King" a lot. It's a pretty colour and will probably anoy the GWR enthusiasts. Best of all, when I saw it in real life and queried the colour, it seemed to be a particular favourite of the birthday boy.
At the store I had to poke my head into the bakery section, not over a counter or anything handy, and ask. The lady behind was ever so helpful and showed me the two sizes and prices. I plumped for the bigger one, handed over a 6 X 4 printed photo, then a couple of minutes later changed my mind and ordered both sizes on the basis you can never have too much cake.
As it turned out, this was a good move. The photo I had added "Happy Birthday Pete" to didn't fit the big cake format properly so we used it only on the small cake and the word-free version on the larger one. Total cost for the two cakes was just over £23. The technique is simple, they print the photo on a sheet of icing and stick it to the cake in a pre-cut rectangular hole.
At the show the results went down well when presented at 3pm. This was by far the tastiest GWR loco I've ever eaten, what with being made of sponge and jam. We had plenty for the the hungry hoards behind the stand and it lasted well enough that it wasn't stale on Sunday, or at least the bit I had wasn't. Yum.