Estimation Nation Baking Challenge

Ian Cumming gives advice to a woman and man baking scones.

As I’ve mentioned a few times in the past, I do enjoy a good blog-related challenge and this one was terrific fun. Smart Energy GB, the voice of the smart meter rollout, invited several bloggers to take part in a baking challenge with a difference. It was very much in keeping with the campaign’s adverts, which show how ridiculous it is to estimate when there’s a perfectly good way of measuring available. So, you’ve guessed it, we had to estimate how much of each ingredient to use as well as oven temperatures and cooking times!

I’m not a good cook even with full instructions and scales, so this was going to be interesting – particularly as the challenge was being presided over by Ian Cumming, a finalist on a certain baking show that has taken the nation by storm! Upon arrival, we were introduced to Ian as well as to each other. It was great to meet so many new people and talk about all things blogging and baking.

A man and woman making cake mix.

Soon, though, it was on to the serious business of baking. We headed up to the kitchens where Ian revealed our first challenge, chocolate and raspberry cupcakes. We were then divided into pairs; Ami from My Mummy Spam was the unfortunate one who ended up with me. I was pleased as we’d been having a good laugh beforehand and also because Ami knew how to separate an egg – I told you I’m useless in the kitchen!

The other twist to this recipe was that we had to use oil instead of butter. This threw both of us, but we got on with it and were quietly confident that we’d done well – particularly as we were one of the first pairs to be cooling our cakes ready for the icing. They didn’t taste bad, but the consistency wasn’t quite there. For the record, it turns out we used way too little oil!

A woman and man with a plate of scones.

After a coffee break and demonstration of the difference that smart meters will make to every home in Britain by 2020, it was time for our second challenge. Cheese scones. Ami confessed that she’d never even eaten a scone and the last one I had made was in home economics 25 years ago when, in all likelihood, my teacher probably did most of the work. We were in trouble!

Despite the odds against us, we were really rather pleased with our scones. Until we tasted them. We may as well have just eaten the flour straight from the bag. They were truly dreadful! Oh well, it was fun and proved the point of the campaign’s key message, so we didn’t mind.

Ian Cumming presents a woman and man with prizes in envelopes.

Soon afterwards, prizes were given out for the winners and losers of each challenge. And I’m strangely proud to reveal that our scones were so bad that we came bottom of the class. Our prizes were vouchers for some much-needed cooking lessons!

Having a smart meter already – does that make me top of the class in another category? – I’ve seen first-hand how they can save money and also focus your thinking on how much you’re using and this event tied in nicely. An end to estimated bills and definitely an end to me guessing how much flour to use!

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