Home Bake by Eric Lanlard

Published on Foodepedia on 5th September 2010:

Eric Lanlard’s new book ‘Home Bake’ looks too good. So good in fact, it’s almost obscene.

That’s the conclusion I’ve come to after some two weeks of picking it up, flipping through the pages and mulling over what I thought of it. You see, every time I thought of something to write, I got distracted by the brilliant photography. Photographs of some of the yummiest cakes, tarts and puds I’ve ever seen. Then I would get hungry and go off in search of something to curb my recently acquired insatiable appetite.

And just because it looks fanciful, doesn’t mean that it’s without authority. Master Patissier Eric Lanlard is the owner and cake making extraodinaire of the critically acclaimed Cake Boy in Battersea (www.cake-boy.co.uk). Twice the winner of Continental Patissier at the British Baking awards, Lanlard also has quite the A-list following, counting the likes of Madonna and Liz Hurley amongst his clients.

So just what is so special about this book? Well the book has recipes for everything from the standard sponge cake to meringues, cheese cakes and tarts; but not in the shape and form that you would usually expect to find them. Every recipe has an introduction by Lanlard and there is stunning photography to accompany almost all the recipes; some even have step by step images to complement the detailed instructions.

The apple tart with quince, for example, looks good enough to eat off the page. The lemon meringue cupcakes would be a real treat with a nice pot of tea. Of course then there is the bejewelled tower on the cover, a plain Genoise sponge. And how can I not be impressed with the first book that teaches me how to make marshmallows?

Its audience, as the book’s title suggests, is for the home cook and when you look through the recipes you certainly feel that you have been held by the hand. But it’s also more than that. It’s a collection of recipes that Lanlard likes to use himself at home, something that’s different from the cakes found at his Battersea emporium.

Given the wonderfully clear layout, fresh design and tips here and there, it’s certainly very appealing and an easy read. With this book in hand, home baking is set to become very glamorous indeed. Who said home baking had to be boring anyway?

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Perfume Diaries Afternoon Tea preview

Published on Foodepedia on 27th August 2010:

Eric Lanard decorating cake

“Champagne! Champagne for everyone!” Dahling, that’s how things roll at Harrods.

Well, at least that’s the way things went down when Foodepedia was invited to attend a cake making master-class this week with celebrity Patissier, Eric Lanlard, at Harrod’s Poggenpohl Kitchens. The event was the tasty preview of the Perfume Diaries Afternoon Tea opening at Harrods next week, not that we needed an excuse to indulge of course.

Eric Lanlard showed us how to make Grace and Shot St. Honoré, both part of the Perfume Diaries Afternoon Tea, as well as the chocolate and raspberry cake available from his Battersea emporium, Cake Boy.

Eric Lanard decorating cake

Grace was the orange and lavender almond cake, inspired by the home of perfume, Grasse. It’s so rich and luxurious that you almost have to stop mid-bite to savour the flavours, except then you start to miss the taste in your mouth and would inevitably hurry on to finish the rest.

Shot St. Honoré was an Eton mess with a difference. Layers of meringue, vanilla cream, raspberry and lychee were topped with a rose petal mousse and served with a pipette of lemongrass and coconut. Discovering the different flavours was a journey in itself.

The intense experience of the chocolate and raspberry cake is pretty self-explanatory, even the shiver down your spine as the chocolate ganache melts on your tongue with just the faintest bit of raspberry sours.

They say that around three quarters of what we think we’re tasting actually comes from our sense of smell. If that were indeed the case then this selection of delights would be truly intoxicating.

The Perfume Diaries Afternoon Tea will be open to the public from the 2nd of September until the 2nd of October at the Georgian Restaurant, Harrods. The Perfume Diaries exhibition will be open on the Fourth Floor at Harrods from the 28th of August.

For more information, visit www.harrods.com