Baking Masterclass with Eric Lanlard

Monday 5th March saw me on tv with Eric Lanlard and the Baking Mad program. It was a mini bake off between me and two other bakers Fiona and Luke

Our episode was filmed before Christmas on a very cold wet and at times, a snowy day.  I’d already been for the audition in Leeds and met a few like minded bakers many of whom have also gone on to film an episode of their own. Did they win?  You will have to watch the programs to find out.

I practised my Pistachio and Lime cake several times until I was happy with the recipe.  Finally the day arrived for me to travel down the night before and book myself into a hotel for the night in readiness for a very early start the next day. Wandsworth, where the filming was being done, is not the easiest of places to get to as there are no tube stations nearby and the nearest at my time of filming was in maintenance mode. So a taxi was needed and boy were they expensive.

Each episode has a given theme for us to bake to and ours was Sponge cake.  Mine was Pistachio and Lime Sponge cake with a Citrus cream cheese frosting. Try saying that to the camera each time you are asked ‘ Now Lynn what cake are you making today’

I didn’t sleep at all due to all the excitement, so at the time of filming I was without sleep for 48 hours, I hope it didn’t show too much. Luke and Fiona, the other bakers, were such lovely people and between us we agreed that what ever the out come of our bake off, we’d all had a wonderful time and had enjoyed our time together.

The winner was announced and to my surprise and delight it was me.  I loved the little cakes that Fiona made, she put so much effort into making them look beautiful and even Luke managed to come back from the brink of his disaster of mistaking icing sugar for flour, yes its easily done when in competitive mode. Yet he still managed to make his cake again and complete the task.  After lunch and a little more filming with Luke, Fiona and myself, Eric the film crew and I moved into the cosy clean and tidy atmosphere of the Cake Boy kitchen for my masterclass. It was a revelation to see how adding flavours and thinking about the appearance of cakes is so important in baking. It can make all the difference to wanting another slice. We eat first with our eyes so appearance is the first thing followed by taste. If you can master the art of both of these, you are on your way to some winning baking.

The cake Eric made was a Green Tea with zesty White Chocolate and Raspberries.

I made this adaptation of Eric’s recipe for Christmas

I’ve made and adapted this recipe so many times since the day of filming that it is the staple recipe I turn to for inspiration. I even made it for one of our family Christmas desserts – see pic above. After all Eric signed the recipe ‘ To Lynn. Hope this recipe give you inspirations’ Happy Baking  –  Eric xx.  You can almost hear  Eric’s french accent in the message. Yes there are actually two xx’s  after his signature. There was plenty of stop start filming, but that is part and parcel of the fun of it, for us that is, not perhaps for the people doing all the hard work of filming. Customers were still coming into Cake Boy for their coffee and cake fix, so coffee machines were going and that was the stop time. But Eric was such a professional and so were the crew that we all worked together to make it a fun day for all.

By 5pm we were finished and my lack of sleep began to kick in. But the delight of winning a baking contest and a fun one at that, kept me going.  So with a kiss goodbye from Eric, such a charming man that he is, another taxi was needed and off I headed for Kings Cross and the journey home to Leeds. My baking mad apron and the Signed recipe from Eric are now in pride of place in my kitchen and every time I use the recipe or wear the apron I am transported back to the day I had a masterclass with Eric  Lanlard.

If you missed my episode you can catch up on it on 4oD

Update 16/7/2012  The Secret Tea Room is taking a long break to concentrate on Clandestine Cake Club where a book is due out around Feb 2013. See the contact page if you need to get in touch with me.


Gifts – Cookies and Flavoured Sugars

Receiving a home-made gift, no matter how small, is priceless. Here are a couple of inexpensive gift ideas, using store cupboard ingredients and recycled Jam jars. I’ve put them together for you to give at any time of the year, not just for Christmas.

Cranberry Cookies in a Jar

Ingredients – makes 24 cookies

  • 8 oz (225g) butter softened
  • 4 oz (110g) white caster sugar
  • 10 oz (275g) Plain Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Mixed spice
  • 50g Dried Cranberries
  • 4 or 5  empty jam jars with lids – washed and cleaned


  1. Preheat oven to 170deg fan assisted
  2. Beat butter and sugar together until well combined, light and fluffy
  3. Add the flour, spices and Cranberries.
  4. Mix together to form a dough, good for the arm muscles
  5. Using a measured tablespoon, scoop out the dough mixture and place onto a greased baking sheet. No need to press down. Phew, that’s a relief.
  6. Bake in oven 12 – 15 mins or until cooked.
  7. Leave to cool.
  8. When cool, place cookies in the spotlessly cleaned jam jars
  9. If the cookies are too big, use a scone cutter and cut off the edges.
  10. Give any crumbs to the birds, they’ll love you for it, or save in a separate jar and use for topping cakes or ice cream, the kids will love you for that too.

Orange Sugar


  • 1 Large orange
  • Caster Sugar
  • Clean Jam jar with a lid
  • Ribbon and label (optional)


  1. Zest the Orange using a potato peeler. Making sure you don’t cut into the white pith or cut your hands.
  2. Fill the jam jar with the zest
  3. Fill the jam jar with Caster Sugar
  4. Put the lid on and give it a shake. Careful the lid doesn’t fly off.
  5. If needed, add more sugar
  6. Decorate with a nice label and ribbon.
  7. Option. The same can be done with Lemon Zest.
  8. Leave for about a week to infuse.

Vanilla Sugar


  • 2 x Vanilla Pods
  • Caster sugar
  • Clean Jam jar with a lid
  • Label and Ribbons (optional)


  1. Slice the Vanilla pods in half to expose the Vanilla Seeds
  2. Add all the Vanilla Pods, including the seeds to the clean Jam Jar
  3. Fill with Caster Sugar
  4. Add the lid and tie with ribbon and label.
  5. Leave to infuse for about a week before use.