Capability Brown’s Birthday Bake

Bake a cake for Capability Brown's birthday

Bake a cake for Capability Brown's birthday - Credit: Archant

Join the nation in celebrating the birthday of England’s finest landscape architect

No birthday is complete without balloons, presents and most importantly, a birthday cake. In light of this, the Capability Brown Festival is launching Brown’s Birthday Bake - a competition taking place in August which calls upon the nation’s bakers (of any ‘cake-ability’) to create a birthday cake for 18th-century landscape architect Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.

Although Brown was incredibly influential, creating the quintessential English landscape, he was also a man of mystery: we do not know the exact date of his birth, although it is known he was baptised in Kirkharle, Northumberland, on 30 August 1716, so this is when the competition winners will be announced.

Capability Brown is the man behind well-known landscapes such as Blenheim Palace, Chatsworth and Highclere Castle – the fictional home of Downton Abbey. During the 18th century, Brown designed over 250 landscapes across England and Wales, and influenced several more worldwide.

Like a baker, Brown would ensure different elements of a landscape complemented each other and wasn’t afraid to be experimental – he moved an entire village to create the 500 acres of parkland now seen at Milton Abbey, Dorset.

2016 sees the 300th anniversary of Capability Brown’s birth, and in celebration of his life, work and legacy, the nationwide Capability Brown Festival is running throughout this year with a special focus on August, Brown’s birthday month.

Anyone can take part in Brown’s Birthday Bake, but to be in with a chance of winning, bakers need to share images of their cakes on social media, either via Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest using #brownsbirthdaybake, or on Facebook by posting it to their profile page.

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The design of each bake can be novel or serious, either with a focus on Brown himself, or taking inspiration from a local Brown landscape, or indeed highlighting one of his signature design elements, such as a serpentine lake, clump of trees or even a ha-ha.

A small team of judges will review the entries, from which three lucky winners will be selected with the results announced on social media on 30 August 2016. Prizes will be given for the top three cake designs and include a luxurious overnight stay in a Brown landscape; a Champagne hamper together with free entry tickets to one of Brown’s most prestigious sites; and a family pass for any National Trust landscape. The winners will also each receive a copy of garden historian Sarah Rutherford’s beautifully illustrated book Capability Brown and his Landscape Gardens, which provides a unique insight into the great man and his work.

Ceryl Evans, Capability Brown Festival Director said: “The Capability Brown Festival is about engaging people with the life, work and legacy of Capability Brown – whether this be existing fans, or people who have heard his name but are unsure as to why, or what he did.

“We hope that Brown’s Birthday Bake will entice audiences who love baking to find out more about Brown, by perhaps creating a scene from one of his landscapes or even a sponge portrait of Brown himself!”

For more information about the Capability Brown Festival and the competition, visit: www.capabilitybrown.org