Feeling inspired by The Great British Bake Off’s cake week? Here’s five ways you can get your cake on after the show.
If last Tuesday’s Great British Bake Off had us reaching for the biscuit tin, this week’s cake-themed episode has taken our love of sponge and icing to the next level.
A staple at birthdays and weddings, cakes are a well-known symbol of celebration – but why should we wait for opportunities that come once a year, or once a lifetime, to indulge in some top-notch stodge?
If you’re feeling inspired by last night’s cakey triumphs to get in the kitchen and create your own showstopper, or perhaps (our preferred option), just indulging in eating some truly delicious desserts, we’ve found five ways you can easily incorporate more cake into your life.
Whether you’re a budding Bake Off contestant eager to strap on a cotton apron, or looking for a fabulous cafe to enjoy slice of mouth-watering madeira, we’ve got ideas for you.
1. Try your hand at making a Le Gâteau Vert
It’s said that Claude Monet’s favourite cake was a Le Gâteau Vert, a soft, pistachio-flavoured Genoise sponge topped with pistachio marzipan and icing made with spinach (hence its green colour).
Despite combining some rather interesting flavour combinations, the dessert was famously loved by the painter and as such, is now prepared with decorations that reflect the theme of some of Monet’s most famous works: flowers and water lilies.
The bakers were tasked with whipping up a Le Gâteau Vert for the technical challenge in week two, and although it didn’t look easy, we think this could be one to try at home now we’ve seen how it’s done.
The Great British Bake Off’s official website shows the recipe used in the tent, but we would encourage all those feeling creative to experiment when it comes to the decorations. Websites like cakecraftworld.co.uk and sugarshack.co.uk have a selection of edible flowers, lace, airbrushing colours and much more to help you create a masterpiece.
2. Visit The Peggy Porschen Parlour in Belgravia
If there was ever a place to treat yourself to a slice of very special cake, it’s got to be Peggy Porschen’s cake parlour. Porschen is what you would call a cake enthusiast; after founding her own company in 2003, the award-winning cake designer and author built a stylish empire around what she loves to do best – bake.
In 2010, Porschen opened her own bakery and cake shop, and it’s now known as one of the most beautiful places to enjoy a cup of something warm and a slice of something delicious in the city. Its dreamy west London location is the perfect setting for this pink-fronted store, which is adorned by flowers and decorations all year round.
But it’s not just the exterior that’s a spectacle for the eyes. Once inside, guests will also be delighted with the impressive choice of pastel-doused, floral themed, incredibly Instagram-worthy cakes on offer. And the best bit? They’re all delicious too.
3. Eat cake on a sightseeing tour of London
There’s something ceremonious about enjoying some really good cake, isn’t there? Maybe it’s the pure deliciousness of it, or perhaps because we’re conditioned to see gobbling gateau as an act of celebration. Whatever it is, to take your cakesperience to the next level, you should make a real day of it. And what goes better together than cake and a sightseeing tour on one of London’s iconic red buses?
B Bakery clearly thought the same thing, which is why they’ve created an afternoon tea experience with a difference - inside a moving vintage Routemaster. Over the course of an hour and a half, you’ll see sights like Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, while nibbling on treats such as passion, mango and coconut tart, vanilla cream pâtissière choux with blackcurrant compotée and a chocolate mini cupcake.
Tickets are £45 per person and departures run daily from 12.30pm to 5pm depending on the pick-up location.
4. Attend a class at Bake with Maria
Maria has been baking since she was a little girl and her passion for creating delicious desserts has only strengthened as she has gotten older. After receiving professional training and achieving a Professional Chef Diploma Level 3 in Patisserie and Confectionery, she decided to run her own school and over the last seven years has taught thousands of students how to master baking.
Although Maria used to teach her classes out of a lab, she now runs them from home in London which creates a more friendly, intimate setting and gives you the opportunity to really feel at home in Maria’s surroundings. There’s a wealth of class options to choose from depending on the kind of experience you’re hoping to get.
Looking for one-on-one training? Not a problem. Maria’s happy to cater to students individually or teach a small group of friends who want to learn together. You can see more about all the class options available, here.
5. Order yourself a bespoke Lilly Vanilli cake
Cult bakery Lilly Vanilli’s social media following is huge for very good reason. Helmed by Lily Jones, a baker and bespoke cake designer in London, her creativity and trend-led vision for her cakes has made her the centre of much attention from an online following, the media and of course, those who visit her shop on Columbia Road.
Although her online selection of cakes is limited, you can request a bespoke one and work with Jones to create your own design or pick from the plethora of inspiration laid out for you, which includes lilac, glitter-covered cherries and golden mermaid-esque shells. It’s like fashion collections for cakes.
Images: Jennifer Pallian / courtesy of venues