Sunday, June 10, 2012

London Family Trip: Part 2 - Cupcake Master-class with Eric Lanlard

Cupcake Anyone?
The weekend with my family in London, had so many wonderful points. The visit to Leavesden Studios was amazing and the time spent with my family but something that stood out for me in particular was the amazing cupcake master-class I attended in Cake Boy Cookery School. In February of this year I was unwell and stuck at home when I got into watching old episodes of Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard. I googled him and discovered the cookery school, then I booked myself onto the only course he was running during the family visit. I went with no expectations and what I experienced was worth reporting.

The cupcake master-class is a two hour class. It focuses on cupcake d├ęcor and presentation. The class is taught by Eric Lanlard himself and starts with a talk on cupcake history. In my traditional way I managed to turn up 20 minutes late and missed the first section. I walked into this industrial estate and practically ran into the Cake Boy shop. I was flustered, out of breath and any chance of making a good first impression on the master patissier had left my head. The store is absolutely beautiful. On the way in the door I was struck immediately by the beautiful, beautiful pastries and cakes. There was a couple drinking coffee at a table near the door that held a tiered cake stand covered in the most exquisite little cakes and macarons. If you can imagine, I did one of those cartoon double takes with a jaw-drop and nearly ran straight into a wall!

The class itself was really enjoyable. Eric Lanlard teaches everything himself and I was very impressed with how approachable and involved he was. He was walking around helping people, giving pointers and answering questions. He even asked me where I was from and told me about a trip he took to Ireland previously. The class seems to be designed to be accessible to all levels of baking expertise and I would be very interested in attending another of his classes to see if other classes are more complicated. I imagine they range in difficulty. This class was low on the difficulty level, but informative and enjoyable to everyone, experienced baker or not, I would say. We all decorated 12 cupcakes complete with adorable little toppers that he showed us how to make and then there was the champagne lunch and, oh my goodness, that was the cherry on top of the whole afternoon.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would recommend it to anyone. I rang my boyfriend afterwards in a state of total ecstatic hyperness or maybe it was drunk on champagne/high on sugar-ness but I was happy as hell, so if that's not a recommendation then I don't know what is. If I had one criticism I would say that the box they give you to bring home the cupcakes needs to be more sturdy cos mine kept collapsing and all my cupcakes got messed up =(

Therefore we must flash forward to yesterday. During the week decidedlydelicious and I met up to do a macaron baking session, with the intention of posting our experience/discoveries on our blogs. This was such a fun afternoon and I really enjoyed baking with someone as talented and intelligent as her. Unfortunately my ADD and hr natural hyper-ness resulted in us getting distracted by videos online and we burnt our macarons. We will be having a macaron baking 2.0 with less burning soon but as a result of this I was left with a bowl full of delicious blueberry buttercream. Now we are at Saturday and my bf was having the guys over for a poker night. Seemed like the perfect opportunity for some poker-themed cupcakes and excuse to try out my new skills. Et Voila...

Vanilla, Apple and Blue-berry Cupcakes that boys can enjoy

 Since the idea was to make cupcakes like those from cake boy I decided to use Monsieur Lanlard's cupcake recipe that you can find here and the blue-berry butter-cream which was based on his butter-cream recipe but we messed around with it by using frozen blue-berries and glucose powder to create a kind of blue-berry glucose which we added to sugar syrup, whisked into 7 egg yolks before adding 500g butter. The frozen blue-berries give a beautiful natural purple to the icing and there are little flecks of darker purple which add texture and depth. 

To make these cupcakes my own I decided to give them an apple glaze, both to keep the cupcake moist and to add an extra flavour. I made this glaze simply by chopping 2 apples very finely, sprinkling stevia onto the chopped apples and microwaving for 2 sets of 2 minutes on high, stirring between sets.I injected a small amount of this apple sauce into the top of the cupcakes and then glazed the exposed surface before piping the frosting.

As you can see the texture is soft and moist and the apple glaze definitely added in terms of moistness and flavour combination. The bf was amazed when I showed him these little treats and they suited his poker night perfectly but would be just as good with any kind of topper you choose. Just take your sugar paste and go crazy =)

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