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.


Baking Mad, Silver Spoon and Lianne’s Jam

Product review.

I often use Silver Spoon products. And when Baking Mad were offering to send out some new Silver Spoon baking products to try, I thought, yes, I’ll give them a go.  Days passed and during my hectic Radio Leeds Week, in which I’d been ordering Onion sets and packets of seeds for the allotment. I completely forgot about the Silver Spoon Samples, which must have arrived on the same day as my Onion sets and at the same time the Radio Leeds crew were here doing a live broadcast.  The boxes were quickly despatched, unopened to the green house, until over a week later, I decided to plant the Onion sets in the allotment this weekend. To my surprise and shock I discovered not only a box of  Radar Onion Sets but a box of baking treats to sample from Baking Mad. I quickly dispatched an email apologising for my error at not receiving them, but if you read my post about the hectic week I’d had I’m sure they and you will understand my error.

Fearing the worst for the chocolate treats, the good news is, they were not damaged by the greenhouse heat at all. So today, I made a Victoria Sponge filled with Lavender Jam and Lilac Cream Cheese Frosting, slightly flavoured with the Lavender Jam given to me by Lianne ‘Everything goes with toast‘ at a Clandestine Cake Club event in Cleckheaton.

Lianne’s Jam is nice and sweet, but I like sweet things. With a very nice, but not too heavy flavour of Lavender. I’ve had other Lavender jams before and it really tastes like bath salts and I’ve never touched it since, but Lianne’s jam has restored my faith in eating Lavender again. I bought some of her Rose Jam at  Cornucopia Leeds this weekend and I’ll use that to fill a cake, possibly at my next Afternoon Tea party. Unless I have it on toast for breakfast before then.

Back to my baking. For the cake sponge I used one of the Silver Spoon Vanilla Paste sachets. There were 3 sachets in a box, each sachet contains the equivalent of one Vanilla Pod. I Like Vanilla Paste, it adds flavour without adding too much liquid to the cake batter.

I loved the Giant Snowies that I decorated the Fairy cakes and Cake with. But I was a little disappointed with the colour of the Lilac Colour Creator. It seemed to have a muddy appearance when I kept adding more and more drops to my cream cheese frosting. About 2 teaspoons in total to my 14 oz of cream cheese frosting. On the plus side it was more concentrated than some mainstream liquid colours that you can buy elsewhere, where you need to add what seems like the whole bottle to get any colour at all, but by then the cake batter is far too thin and unbakable. I’ll try the colour again, perhaps I still needed to use more drops, but I’m very cautious about using colouring and it does say on the bottle  ‘Use no more that 1tsp per 250g of icing.

To off set the muddy cream cheese frosting colour, I added the Giant Snowies, they brought some colour back into my cakes

I have still to use the Easy Melt Chocolate, White Chocolate Numbers and Letters (I’ve bought the larger Silver Spoon Chocolate decorations before and love them for decorating cakes) and the Orange Flavour Buttons, which as I write, I’m nibbling on a few to see if they have an Orange Flavour and they do. Must save some for cake baking later.

So all in all, some nice products, yes they were free, but I’m a fan of silver Spoon and happy to try their stuff any day. I’m always buying it.

I often get requests from other companies to test baking samples and products and I often turn them down, especially if I wouldn’t use them anyway. Such as giant sparklers on top of cakes. I don’t know what you think about such products but they are not for my cakes.

Baking Mad