North End Bakehouse retains Best Vanilla Slice tit...

North End Bakehouse retains Best Vanilla Slice title, makes history

Bendigo was the place to be when the Baking Association of Australia’s Victoria Baking Show took place on February 24.

Winners were announced in a number of categories from best ciabatta loaf to best fruit flan, and best white fancy rolls – which saw rolls elaborately knotted rolls line up against those shaped like horse shoes.

However, the main event each year remains the Australia’s Best Vanilla Slice and Australia’s Best Hot Cross Bun competitions.

A record number of entries from more than 130 bakeries in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales submitted their products, however Matt Aylett from North End Bakehouse not only retained his Best Vanilla Slice title, but also took home the Best Hot Cross Bun title.

The win made Baking Association, as the two top prizes have never previously been awarded to the same entrant.

Matt told Baking Business after the 2023 win he and his team had spent a number of years perfecting the recipe.

“The judges keep telling us that our custard is really, really good! That it has the sort of creaminess that they’re really looking for,” he said.

“But I like to think that it comes down to our pastry, the way we make and bake it to get the really crisp biscuity bite that everyone is after—so you don’t end up with custard all over you when you eat it!

“It just comes down to perfection with cuts. We make sure our cuts are perfectly straight and vertical, and there’s no crumbs left over from them—just putting those little details in, we’re there with our tweezers pulling out any little pastry crumbs that get into the custard before it goes into the competition.”

Matt and the North End Bakehouse team also brough home the Best Hot Cross Bun title in 2021 and 2022. Banana Boogie Bakery snagged the 2023 title.

The full list of winners can be found here.

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