The words Eric Lanlard and Cake Boy alone are music to my ears but when coupled with an invite from Currys PC world to see the man himself run a Baking Masterclass, I broke out into a run.
Arriving at Eric’s glamorous cafe and studio in Battersea, a glass of fizz is handed over, we tuck into some croissants and nibbles and get chatting to fellow baking enthusiasts and bloggers. Admittedly my baking enthusiasm comes more in the form of eating baked goods rather than contributing in any way to making them, but that’s ok right?!
Cake Boy is half comfy lounge where you can sit and munch on sweet treats and half the most glam kitchen I have ever seen, a lust-worthy shiny pink Kitchen Aid standing proudly on shiny worktops and wall to wall ovens. I know I’m getting old when the objects of my affection change from impractical shoes to kitchens and kitchen appliances. Actually who am I kidding, I still heart shoes.
First order of business is to learn how to make a Red Velvet cheesecake. I’ve never understood Red Velvet, I don’t understand how dyeing a cake red can suddenly make it so loved and I learn that actually it is a light chocolate cake which turns a pale red thanks to the chemical reaction of its ingredients! Eric originally published a Red Velvet cake recipe without the food colouring element but had so many complaints that it wasn’t the bright red seen in the shops, he was forced to include a touch of colouring! Remember guys, use bake stable pastes or colourings otherwise you’re still not going to get the colour you want.
Moment of truth time, this was STUPENDOUS! I don’t particularly like Red Velvet cake or cheesecake in fact but this, I could eat by the truck load. Wouldn’t even need cutlery actually, could quite happily paw at it like some kind of Planet of the Apes extra.
Next up, Eric shows us how to make a West Indies chocolate tart, inspired by his travels to Grenada. I’m heading there next year so I’m hoping similar inspiration strikes me! Sadly we didn’t get to try this and that was probably a wise decision because by this stage, hyped up by sweet treats, Eric’s charm and bubbly, the saucy Eric related tweets are flying thick and strong! I’m looking at you here Runawaykiwi and Fiona!
And so it’s our turn! We have to make up our own cream cheese icing with the help of our trusty Kitchen Aids and ice our very own mini red velvet cake and accessorise with some red lips. My talents are not up there with Mr Lanlard’s and the end result is wonky… at best. Still, it tastes pretty amazing!
We leave with some treats, a copy of Eric’s book ‘Totally Chocolate’ and a KitchenAid Hand mixer and I just have to give them an outing at home. I’m originally tempted by the winter warming ‘Pumpkin & Pecan chocolate cake’ but that needs resting for 24 hours after and let’s be honest folks, that just ain’t gonna happen. So I opt for cookies, not something I’ve made before, but Eric’s recipe sounds like it could be something that even this baking newbie could manage.
I admit, I don’t follow the recipe to the letter. Instead of Muscovado sugar, I use rich brown sugar and instead of Golden sugar, I use Demerara sugar. I have no idea what the differences are but to avoid having half of the Tesco sugar aisle in my house, I went with what I had. My previous hand held mixer came with one speed setting only so it’s pretty exciting to see my Kitchen Aid comes with it’s own bag of attachments and 9 speed settings – waaaahey, it’s a cookie dough party over here guys!
I’ve also used hazelnuts instead of macadamias, my local supermarket not running to anything quite as fancy as Macadamia nuts. But it’s all mixed up, dolloped onto a baking tray and ready to bake!
The end result is utterly fantastic if I dare say so myself. Perhaps a little soft when first out of the oven but when cooled they toughen up a bit and all day long the husband and I have found ourselves pinching bits of cookie off to snack on around the house.
So there you have it, baking newbie turned somewhat competent.
Disclosure – I was a guest of Currys PC World who invited me to hang out, learn some tricks of the trade and left with a copy of Eric’s ‘Totally Chocolate’ book and a pretty awesome 9-speed Kitchen Aid Hand Mixer. All baking attempts, and opinions as always are my own. To read more about the fun we had, check out Curry’s Tech Talk blog post here!