Charming 'After the Wedding' replica of St Mary the Virgin in Westmill wins The Great Church Bake Off

16 Jul 2014

Wendy Leaney baked her local church for The Great Church Bake Off  it was a sponge cake replica of St Mary the Virgin church in Westmill, Hertfordshire. She impressed judges (CCT Chairman) Loyd Grossman, (CCT Trustee) Lady Lucy French and Waitrose pastry consultant Will Torrent with her skilfully sculpted creation made out of homemade lime and elderflower cordial.

The competition took place throughout the month of June in celebration of over 30 themed midsummer tea parties hosted by The Churches Conservation Trusts (CCT) Friends and Volunteers, in our beautiful historic churches. The parties are our biggest annual fundraiser.

Wendy and her husband have been members of the congregation at the beautiful Saxon church for 24 years and it holds a special place in their hearts, having been married there and both of their daughters being christened there. St Mary the Virgin is not a CCT church but in the past year, the church roof has had £171,000 of repairs completed on it, following three years of fundraising.

The judges assessed each cake on its structure, design and overall appearance. CCT Chairman Loyd Grossman said:

‘Wendy’s cake was such a brilliant entry and the attention to detail was remarkable. All of the cakes were great and we were all surprised at the huge variety in cake structures we saw. The stories we received about what these buildings mean to people and communities from around the UK were really special and reminded us just why the CCT’s work in keeping churches open and accessible is so important.’

The runner up was Margita Dubnicka with her impressive replica of a church in Spreyton, Devon. Margita used skills she gained through her childhood in the Czech Republic to form the cake out of traditional gingerbread. The baker was also trained as a sculptor in her youth, which can be seen in her intricately designed and skilfully assembled creation. 

Both Wendy and Margita were delighted with the news and are looking forward to receiving they're much deserved prizes. 

The winner receives a two night break away for two with afternoon tea at the Stonehouse Court, a striking 17th century Manor House hotel set in six acres of stunning grounds overlooking the Stroud Water Canal and rolling hills of the Stroud Valley. They will also recieve two tickets to Cake International, the sugarcraft, cake decorating and baking show at the Birmingham NEC on 7-9 November and the chance to display their cake live at the event.

The runner up will shortly recieve a gigantic bar of the finest Belgian Milk Chocolate weighing 5kg, courtesy of Will Torrent and one of the world’s best chocolate makers Callebaut and also some specially selected chocolate which includes single origin chocolate, caramel flavoured chocolate, chocolate making accessories and more. On top of that the runner up will also get a signed copy of Will Torrent's latest book Patisserie at Home.

Many thanks to all our prize partners for their support - we do hope Wendy and Margita enjoy these wonderful goodies! 

Thank you also to all our wonderful entrants. We had some fantastic cakes come through. See below a selection of the best. 

Margita Dubnicka's entry