Let them eat cake. Repeatedly.

THE GREAT BRUMMIE CAKE OFF

Cake. Is there anything it can't do? Well, yes, it turns out there are a few things - trigonometry, handstands, nuclear fission -  but most things it is capable of, and making humans grin is at the top of that list. Here we take a look at six Brum-based cake bakers who are behind the broadest of those smiles. Happy Friday.
BAKE
The IT industry’s loss is Birmingham’s gain as owner, Steve Taylor, left the 9 to 5 life in 2012 to set up Bake. His most popular creations are sparkly chocolate salted caramel cupcakes and his pre-order only, red velvet leviathan of a layer cake (£36.50, serves 20). Hell, he even does a cupcake with a donut topping. Catch him at Moseley Farmer’s Market, tomorrow (October 25).  
CAKE DOCTOR
To be honest, we're doubting James Fedden's medical credentials, but his baking acumen is bang on. Cake Doctor's vegan offerings are superb (to the point where non-vegans are snaffling them all) while his whoopie pies and brownies are top sellers. You can catch him at the Birmingham Beer Festival, next week, assuming his van / stall, a wallowing 1979 Ford Transit ambulance, gets him there. 
LIL'S PARLOUR
Not just one of our favourite bakers but BrewDog Birmingham's number one cake scientist. The Scottish craft ale crew regularly task owner, Lucy Scott, with coming up with cakes infused with their beers to sell in the bar, but it's her medieval recipe carrot cake (pictured), with saffron, nutmeg and cardamom that you really need to try. Track her down at Bearwood's first food festival, tomorrow (October 25)
FALLEN ANGEL BAKERY
Harborne’s answer to New England-chic, think the Hamptons crossed with the blues and hues of the south Devonshire coast, with a smattering of decadence. Try the chocolate and caramel peanut cupcakes or, though not officially on the menu, we hear the fruit buttermilk loaf is the new definition of comfort food and the banana bread could make a grown man weep. Website
CUPKAKERY
Specialising in bold and innovatory flavour combinations, with darn right celestial results, Cupkakery's creations include Guinness and chocolate-dipped pretzel, Blackberry mojito and their by-now-famous Mayan chocolate cupcake with cinnamon, cayenne and candied chilli, topped with a cinnamon tortilla chip (pictured). They were national cupcake championship finalists, for the second year running, thanks to it.  
CONJURER'S KITCHEN
A change of pace with this one - Conjurer's Kitchen specialise in darkly wicked cakey creations like this ode to gruesome TV series Hannibal. Other nightmarish yet ingenious work from former sculptor turned edible artist, Annabel de Vetten, includes this harrowing butchered and cooked swan (you've been warned). Insanely talented, her website is worth a visit - unless you plan on sleeping ever again.

YOUNG JEDIS

 
Worcestershire artist, Craig Davison, who kick-started his art career as a cartoonist on kids classics The Wombles, Huxley Pig and Bangers and Mash, will unveil his new collection at Castle Fine Art, this weekend. In A Backyard Far Far Away is a lovely series of oils, pencil sketches and prints that nod to playground re-enactments of the Star Wars trilogy. Davison will be at the gallery on Sunday (October 26), 1 to 4pm, along with the 99th Garrison - a costumed tribute to The Empire. More pics here

A BIT OF BARD NEWS

 
Now that's how you pun! Paranoia, jealously, sex and, erm, a pool table, abound as a naughties adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragic colossus Othello marauders onto the stage. Leave your annotated A-Level text at home - brutal, frenetic choreography and a nod rather than a reliance on the traditional are bound to make the Rep’s latest production a compelling one, whether you categorise yourself as a Shakespeare aficionado or not. The show runs November 12 to 15. Tickets from £12.50. Trailer here.

MOVIE OF THE WEEK: FURY


Some war films are explicitly anti-war, some are pro-war, and some are just about presenting the combat in all its, well, fury. This falls into the latter camp, and can immediately hold its head high amongst the classic war films, even if it doesn’t quite reach the upper rank. Brad Pitt continues his post-purple patch in the lead as Wardaddy, a battle-hardened tank commander who must lead his crew and newbie Logan Lerman, a still-green typist, through the brutal closing days of World War 2. Sparing us none of the brutality of armed conflict – nothing is cut away from or sanitised – Fury is an enormous technical achievement, but it also marks a fascinating refinement of our view of the Allied campaign. Just because the war was The Good War, it doesn’t mean we sent angels to fight it, and director David Ayer is unstinting in showing both the cruelty and cost of sending testosterone-driven young men into combat. Not exactly your Friday night comedy, then, but this is hard-edged, tough filmmaking that will linger long in the memory. Trailer
Venue: The High Field, 22 Highfield Road, B15 3DP; highfieldedgbaston.co.uk
Choice: Duck breast (£19.75)  Chooser: Chef

The High Field's menu is basically a masterclass in menu compilation, which is fitting because the food at this new Edgbaston restaurant and gastropub is outstanding. The superfood salad is as good for your tastebuds as it is for your body, but it's the showcase Tidenham farm duck breast and duck cottage pie, baby carrots, port and juniper reduction that had us boring the taxi driver on the journey home with a ludicrously excessive bite-by-bite account. We had no idea duck cottage pie was even a thing, but if you're more of a shepherd's pie fan, they have a lobster version of that, too. The Portuguese wine of the month Tanners Duoro (£21 for the bottle) will lift the duck further still, while a table by the open kitchen, if you can get it, will make this as much a visual spectacle as a taste triumph. 
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"Mini cupcakes? As in the mini version of regular cupcakes? Which is already a mini version of cake? Honestly, where does it end with you people?!?" - Kevin, The Office (US)
Words: Katy Drohan, Andrew Lowry / Images: Flickr Commons Clever Cupcakes
Copyright © 2014 Birmingham Publishing Group Ltd, All rights reserved.


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