It is no secret that baking and I do not have the easiest of relationships. I love it, it just doesn’t love me.
I wish it wasn’t this way. I want nothing more than to be able to whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies at the shortest of notices. I want to be able to invite Martha from across the road over for a cup of tea and a slice of something fruity, and have a heated discussion about the best spring-form baking tins. I want the only sign of my baking to be a couple of floury hand prints on my Cath Kidson pinnie. I want my home to smell of gingerbread.
Yet unfortunately I don’t know a Martha, I’m not really sure what a spring-form baking tin is, I don’t own an apron let alone a Cath Kidson one, and the kitchen always looks like a flour bomb has exploded after every time I even think of opening the oven.
But I refuse to give up. Through shear tenacity I will convince baking that we are meant to be. (I have after all just taken up knitting, with moderate success. It can’t be far behind surely).
Since I was forced to make my flatmate’s birthday cake back in March (read about it, and the infamous lemon loaf, here), I have continued to dabble, although always eering on the side of caution, opting for recipes including the words ‘easy’ or ‘foolproof’ in the blurb. My flatmates now eat a lot of flapjacks.
So when I got an invitation to a baking masterclass courtesy of Eric Lanlard, aka Cake Boy, I swiftly accepted, hopeful that I might learn something that would push me and baking out of our cautious dating phrase and into true love.
The class was held at Cake Boy HQ down in Wandsworth so I obviously got lost on the way there. It was a mash-up of his usual classes, and we were taught how to make two things, before trying our own hand at a bit of icing. There were about a dozen bloggers in attendance, including one of my favourites, Rebecca from The Runaway Kiwi. I’m not sure whether it was Eric’s ridiculously sexy French accent, the free-flowing Champagne, or just the fact that we both have *slightly* dirty minds, but baking has never been so full of innuendo as it was that night. Eric’s rather large stick blender wouldn’t work for Christ’s sake! The hashtag for the evening was #seriousaboutbaking. We definitely weren’t.
First up was a delightfully naughty looking, and tasting, red velvet cheesecake. Combining two of my favourite things, layers of bouncy red velvet cake were sandwiched between a fridge-set cheesecake and then slathered in cream cheese icing. Red velvet is an old American recipe, and while red food colouring is now commonly used it was traditionally a chemical reaction between the white wine vinegar, bi-carb and the cocoa powder that gave it its red hue. Throughout the evening, Eric used his gorgeous KitchenAid. Maybe if I bought one baking might love me a little bit more?
If you fancy giving it a whirl yourself, here is a video I found of Eric making the red velvet cheesecake on Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube.
I spent all of the later part of the demonstration eyeing up the empty mixing bowl by the sink, debating whether I could get away with a quick lick. Obviously this would have been very rude, so I decided against it. *cough*
Shhhhhh! #seriousaboutbaking #lickingthebowl
It was then our turn to do some icing. Eric had made us each a red velvet cupcake, so they were annoyingly perfect. We were then tasked with whisking in the white chocolate and icing the cake. In my hurry to do so, I forgot to put some in the middle #schoolboyerror.
They were delicious, and I *might* have forgotten to mention to my flatmates that I didn’t actually bake the cake…
Eric Lanlard’s Mini Red Velvet Cakes with White Chocolate Frosting
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Butter, for greasing
225g golden caster sugar
275ml vegetable oil
1tbsp red food colouring
1tsp vanilla extract
175g plain flour
15g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp white wine vinegar
icing sugar for dusting
For the frosting
75g white chocolate, roughly chopped
175g unsalted butter, softened
375g icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
Preheat the oven to 180°C / Gas mark 4. Grease 7 x 6cm diameter cooking rings 4cm deep, line with grease-proof paper, and place on a baking sheet lined with grease-proof paper.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together using an electric hand whisk (we got given one of these at the event and they are wonderful!) until pale. On a slow speed, add the oil a little at a time until it has been incorporated. Beat in the buttermilk, food colouring and vanilla. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together, then fold in, followed by the vinegar.
Divide the mixture between the cake rings, filling them three-quarters full. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the rings for 5 minutes, then remove the cakes from the rings to a cooling rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the surface of the water does not touch the bowl. Leave to cool. Beat the butter and half the icing sugar together until smooth, then add the remaining icing sugar a little at a time, beating until the mixture is smooth. Add the milk and cooled chocolate and beat for a further 2 minutes.
To assemble, slice a mini cake horizontally into 3 layers. Thinly spread a layer of frosting on to the base layer, then sandwich the middle layer on top. Spread a little more frosting on the middle layer, then add the top layer. Repeat with 5 of the mini cakes so you have one spare. Spoon the remaining frosting into a piping bag fitted with a plain piping nozzle, then pipe upwards around the edges of the cakes until they are completely covered. Crumble the remaining mini cake and sprinkle the crumbs over the tops of the piped cakes. Serve dusted with icing sugar.
The event was sponsored by Curry’s and you can read their version of events on their blog!
I was invited to this event by Joe Blogs Blogger Network. I had a great time – thank you!