Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Caking it in London

London is one of the great cake capitals, it is home to Wilton - the cake decorating powerhouse and grand daddy of modern cake decorating.  It is also a country obsessed with the elegant afternoon tea (aka high tea).

In the last decade several big names have emerged, such as Eric Lanlard of Cake boy, Peggy Porschen, Mitch Turner and cupcake powerhouses such as Primrose and Hummingbird.  All of them with famous fans, between them, these artists and patissiers bake for the likes of Elton John, Madonna, Liz Hurley, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Pierce Brosnan and the Queen, just to name a few.

So whilst in London, what better to do than to sample some of their delights.

First off the mark - the crazily busy Portobello markets on a cold dreary Saturday morning.  I had no idea there could be so many tourists in one street!!

What is at Portobello you might ask....well the original Hummingbird Bakery of course!

So pretty in pink inside and so many delicious choices.

I was however, on a curiosity mission.  My dear friend Amanda claims that the red velvet cake simply melts in your mouth and raved about it for weeks afterwards.  So, naturally, that is what one has to purchase......

 I loved my cupcake, snug in its little American Chinese takeaway container, along with the environmentally friendly wooden forks.
Verdict?  Yes it was light and fluffy and the cream cheese butter icing was sinful and delicious.  A perfectly fine cupcake, though I prefer the Magnolia Bakery red velvet cupcakes (which I actually consumed in Dubai)

Next destination :  Primrose bakery

We visited the Delectable Jo, who is currently managing the stores during her sabbatical year in London.  We chose the Convent Garden store - as it was close to that evenings entertainment of Legally Blonde - the musical (big cities are great that way!).  Cute as a button and only seating about 12 people, it was not difficult to pack out this place.

A cup of tea, and a carrot cupcake (that you can just make out in the foreground, and we were on our way.

Of course that is not all we had....... the real test, was the Primrose vs Hummingbird challenge.
Verdict:  Carrot cake - Primrose won.  Hummingbird black bottom vs Primrose Cookies & cream - Hummingbird won.  
The Primrose lemon drizzle cake (Jude Law's favourite) is divine, as is the subtle flavours of the earl grey cupcake.  Overall, a lot of fun in a blind tasting and no clear winner.

Next on the list, Cake Boy.

Liz Hurley says that Eric Lanlard makes the world's yummiest cakes, for a someone super slim to say that, well, I wasn't really convinced.  The fabulous Ms G is a huge Eric Lanlard fan, his followers of his show Glamour Pud on Lifestyle food channel will understand why.

I actually had no idea of who he was....no, I do not have pay TV....other than I had a book of his that I found interesting but not exactly life changing.  Finding the studio took us 2 hours as the trains were not running and the buses took forever!

On arrival though, it seemed all worth it when we were greeted with a front counter filled with these beautiful creations.

It was so hard to narrow the selection down!!

Jo had a hard time choosing which of the books to buy.... I of course had to add my two cents...seeing as I already had the other one, it wouldn't be hard to guess which one went home with me that day.

Yay!!  Glamorous afternoon tea!


Our final decision of Raspberry & white chocolate tart, Silky chocolate tart, Citron tart and a slice of cheesecake.  We also ended up taking away a selection of macarons, a raspberry swirl cupcake and a loaf of carrot cake!

The cakes presented on a porcelain tile with chocolate coated popping candy and freeze dried raspberries.  How delightful!  The highlight was definately the raspberry tart that was filled with the most amazing silky white chocolate pastry cream that was like nothing I've eaten before.

It turned out that the 2 hour trip was an aligning of the forces of fate, as within 5 minutes of us arriving, Eric turns up to pick up some papers.  Had we been 15 minutes earlier or later, we would have missed the chance to meet him completely!  Some things are just meant to be. 

So, to the fabulous Ms G....eat your heart out!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A mellow week

It can sometimes be nice to have a little bit of a quiet week.  After all the excitement of our teaching week, it was a real relief to have a bit of a mellow week.  It helps to be able to refuel once in a while.

So, just a short post this week with a couple of cakes I managed to sneak into the long periods planked on the couch, catching up on all my food network challenge shows (American cake artists vying for the most outlandish cake creations!)

Dubious chocolate mess......

Getting closer......do you know what it's going to be?

I apologise for the dreadful photo.....but you get the idea....is it just me, but it looks more like something out of Disney's Cars....than a mini cooper? 

 And of course this little cutie.
A cake for a lovely girl nicknamed Banana.  

 I'm trying to decide if he looks curious, hungry or just confused!

I've been craving a huge slice of white cake filled with vanilla swiss buttercream, fresh raspberries and jam......yet I can't seem to find the motivation to make it!  Perhaps dreaming about it makes it all the more tempting.

Hope you all have a wonderful week ahead and take time to smell the roses too.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Teaching and Learning

The truly wonderful thing about being involved with the teaching process, is that you always learn something new.  Seeing Handi work is such a pleasure, and working with students who are all creative in their own ways is very inspiring.  I am so proud to say that I've been trained by him and now I'm delighted that the Cake Love students have had this opportunity too.

Congratulations are in order this week also, as Handi was awarded Australia's Cake Decorator of the Year at a gala dinner in Brisbane with the National Bakers Association. 

 I'm so proud I could burst!  Here he is with the lovely Kirsten (post from my time at Savour) Tibballs and Mr Zumbo himself. 

This past week, teaching alongside Handi has been exhausting but also very rewarding!! 
Here are our adventures for the week.....

 Starting off with the beautiful cakes from the Beginner 1 class.  Present boxes and big smiles!

Moving onto the gorgeous results of Beginner Flowers workshop.  Just divine!!

The foundations for the massive Designer Double Barrel Cake.

A stunning sugar peony to adorn these masterpieces.

Watching the master at work.....

and of course the simply stunning results!!  Well done team!

Hardly time to take a breath and straight onto the Designer Handbag Workshop

I cant decide which one I love more!!

Last of the week....

The fine art of piping.  Anyone fancy replicating the latest Royal wedding cake??

Many thanks to all our students who shared our enthusiasm and gave Handi such a warm welcome.  We were blown away by all the creativity and talent in such a little room.  It was truly inspirational.  Thanks to Prontos for providing our delicious lunches when we got tired and hungry.  Thanks to all at the Cooking Professor that put up with us filling every corner with all our gear.  Many thanks to Handi for making the long journey over and your commitment to passing on all that you know.  And lastly, thanks to my family and the lovely Glenda, without whom, none of this would have been possible!

For those of you who missed out on this lot of courses, Handi will be back in October and December.  In the meantime, Cake Love Couture will be scheduling the beginner and intermediate classes leading up to Handi's advanced courses in October.  

Watch this space!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

And the winner is.......

After much debate, we have decided on Kerry-anne's lovely entry as the winner of our mother's day cake.

Kerry-anne Andrew said...

I have a beautiful son in Grade One.
In Term 1, they studied Weddings and Fairytales in honour of the then upcoming Royal Wedding.
I had promised the teacher I would make an (amateur) 'wedding cake' for the class to see and the teachers to enjoy at morning tea. Problem is she forgot to tell me when she wanted it and only gave me 1 days notice !! Hence it didn't happen.
Handi's work is amazing and I only wish I could have made it to his classes this week.
I would love to win the cake so its pure artistry could be shown to the children and then shared by the many teachers of this school of 700 kids !!
We put so much trust in the teachers to care for our children, that they sometimes are like a 2nd mother figure.

This cake was made with much love and we hope that it is enjoyed by all the little ones that will get to share it!!

We've been very touched by the wonderful comments we've received and look forward to giving more cakes out in the future! 

Hope you all have a marvelous weekend and a Happy Mothers Day!