Eye-catching appearance, enticing aroma, and, of course, dopamine-inducing flavours are some of the key attributes when it comes to an incredible cake.

British Baker is on the look out for sweet treats that tick all of these boxes as part of the Britain’s Best Cake competition. Sponsored by Dawn Foods, Kluman & Balter, and Sonneveld, the competition takes place on Monday 29 April at the UK Food & Drink Shows held at the Birmingham NEC.

Here, industry experts will examine and taste every cake entered across six categories to find the winning cakes in each class – Classic Cake, Free-from Cake, Fruit Cake, Individual Cake, Occasion Cake, and Traybake. The champions will then battle it out to be crowned Britain’s Best Cake.

Enter Britain’s Best Cake today

So, what will our illustrious panel of judges (the full line-up of which is due to be revealed next week) be looking for? We caught up with the sponsors to find out what makes an award-winning cake.

“To be exceptional, a cake must deliver on physical appearance, versatility in application, crumb structure, eating quality, flavour and indulgence,” explains Garry Russell, sales director at sweet bakery ingredients supplier Dawn Foods UK and Ireland. However, he is keen to highlight that these attributes will of course vary depending on the type of cake in question.

“For a baker, the key to an exceptional cake, of any kind, is consistency. The cake base should have a symmetrical appearance, good crust colour and no significant breaks in the crust (the exception being a loaf cake where the batter is marked with an oiled scraper before baking),” he adds.

A sliced fruit cake on a white plate

Source: Getty Images / igorr1

Internal structure

All baked goods entered into Britain’s Best Cake will be judged on their external appearance including decoration, internal structure, and bake quality, aroma, and flavour.

When it comes to structure of a classic sponge cake, Peter Egginton, director UK at bakery ingredients supplier Sonneveld, says he wants to see an “even bake, good volume, and for the cake to be bold looking – no shrinkage or creasing on the surface”. The cake must be “robust but soft” and able to be handled and cut.

The latter applies to fruit cakes as well, although here Egginton says the “well soaked fruit must be suspended evenly through the crumb” of the cake, which should be flat-topped and not over baked.

Ratios of fruit to cake are also important, notes Russell at Dawn Foods, who highlights different types of fruit cakes as an example of this. A light fruit cake, he notes, requires 20-25% fruit, a medium fruit cake such as a Dundee cake around 40-50% fruit and heavy fruit cakes such as a wedding cake or Christmas cake should consist of 80% fruit.


“Most importantly on the defining features, is the overall flavour. An exceptional cake will bring together individual flavours that also work well together. Bold flavours paired with unexpected sharp notes, or warming spices alongside creamy mellow tones,” notes Lawrence Watson, managing director of bakery wholesaler Kluman & Balter.

The flavour, mouthfeel, wow-factor and fillings and frostings are the four key points to an exceptional cake, according to Watson, who adds that any fillings or toppings used should complement the cake and not overpower the flavour.

Chocolate cupcakes with glossy looking chocolate ganache on top

Source: Getty Images / Daria Zlodyushkina

The experts agree on this point, believing a balanced distribution of fillings and toppings versus the cake to be key. The ratios will differ depending on the type of cake though. Cupcakes, for example, are likely be around 25% toppings or even more for indulgent offerings while a classic cake (such as Victoria sponge or coffee & walnut) would typically be around 15% topping.

Regardless of the exact ratios, “a truly exceptional cake leaves a lasting impression and a memorable taste experience long after it’s finished,” Watson concludes.

Does your bakery business make a cake which meets these requirements? Want to see if you could wow the expert panel of judges with your creations? Then be sure to enter Britain’s Best Cake via our dedicated website: britainsbestcake.co.uk. The deadline for entries is Monday 18 March 2024.

All cakes entered will be judged live at the Farm Shop & Deli Show on Monday 29 April, with the category champions and overall winners revealed later that day.