The 20s and 30s gathered at the Haffenden home on Saturday 10th of December for a Christmas Bake Off, where the tables were lush with baked goods all vying for the Star Baker crown, and a ‘technical challenge’ had multiple teams in fierce competition for first prize at best gingerbread house!
The young adults of LCPC were once again welcomed by the Haffenden family for a time of fellowship in their beautiful, warm home on a bitterly cold day, and the hospitality of Dick and Rebekah was as wonderful as ever. The afternoon began with warm drinks and games, including a game of Fishbowl (for which a festive hat was used in lieu of a bowl) in which the room was divided into two teams for a charades-esque competition that, after a long battle, ended in a tie, despite several rounds and a host of creative performances.
This was followed by the competition for Star Baker, as those who had brought their own creations laid them out in the Bake Off ‘tent’ (read: the Haffenden dining room) to be judged by special guests Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood (read: LCPC members Jan and Dick)! There were nine entries including everything from cakes and slices to festive biscuits, all homemade by various attendees. Prue and Paul had spent time while the group had been playing games testing every entry and critiquing them, and as the group gathered in the tent they went through each entry, espousing their respective qualities and how they matched up to the judging criteria. After analysing each entry, they named the top three which included Hannah’s ‘Carrot and Ginger Festive Cakes’, Maisie’s ‘Tipsy Christmas Cake’ and Rob’s ‘Betty’s Flakemeal Biscuits’, with the Star Baker crown being awarded finally to Hannah, due to her cakes’ presentation, the uniformity between the six cakes and most of all the flavour (particularly the perfect balances of spices!) This award also came with the prestigious Paul Hollywood Handshake!
After the Star Baker was crowned the group ate a delicious dinner that had been prepared by Rebekah. This was followed by dessert, consisting of the different entries in the Bake Off which were greatly enjoyed by everyone who tried them, particularly after their recommendation from the esteemed Prue and Paul.
This was followed by the Bake Off Technical Challenge! The group was divided into five teams who were given the materials to build and decorate a festive gingerbread house. There was a time limit of half an hour, including five minutes of designated planning time, and then the race was on to construct the most beautiful house, to be judged once again by Prue and Paul as they looked to find the star baking team of the evening. As the teams worked, Prue and Paul walked around inspecting their progress and offering encouragement as the bakers attempted to put their unique visions into action. The proceedings were accompanied by the traditional Great British Bake Off musical soundtrack, which became more and more frantic as time ticked by, until ‘One minute left!’ was called and the dramatic score reflected the chaos of each team putting the finishing touches on their creations before time was up.
Once time had been called each team brought their gingerbread house to the main tent and displayed them on the table. The bakers dispersed while Prue and Paul took time analysing each one (this competition was a purely visual one) until everybody was called back for the awarding of prizes.
Each entry was unique, with different groups opting for different interpretations of ‘festive’, including everything from a depiction of the Nativity scene (not including the baby Jesus), not one but two homages to John Calvin including the aptly named ‘Calvin Cottage’ complete with stained-glass windows as well as the multi-themed house which combined Calvin and the Brazilian flag, a house with a rambling garden, and finally a gingerbread manse, both pre- and post- renovation. After much deliberation, Prue and Paul awarded first place as a tie, to the aforementioned Bethlehem stable and the lavishly-decorated Calvin Cottage.
Each team was then photographed with their creations, celebrating their creativity and teamwork!
After the prize(s) were awarded everybody sat together for a devotional. Dick read a passage from the Gospel of Matthew, ‘The Parable of the Talents’, and gave a short talk, including different ways we as Christians can practically apply its wisdom in our life as a church. The evening was finished off with carol singing and some of the group gathered around the piano and sang Christmas carols before everybody returned home, ready to meet again the next day for the LCPC Guest Christmas Service. All the attendees from 20s and 30s were grateful to Dick and Rebekah for hosting such a marvellous evening filled with Christmas activities, good food and fellowship, finishing off the 20s and 30s program for 2022 and eager to meet again for more teaching and fellowship in 2023. The group was also grateful to Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood for taking time out of their busy schedules to judge both competitions. It was a beautiful evening, and from all the 20s and 30s – Happy Christmas!