Monday, 29 March 2010

Cake-tastic

Hello again one and all, I do hope you are all fresh as a daisy after the weekend? I think I mentioned I was looking forward to an exciting day on Saturday, a day I booked before Christmas and so off I set, over to Battersea to the studios of cake decorator to the stars, Peggy Porschen.




Funnily enough, I have passed many times (on the way to my sewing machine shop) the building in which Peggy's studios are situated and to be honest, lamented that yet another gorgeous Victorian school building has been converted into residential/business use. However, when I heard Peggy's studio was there, I was intrigued to have a nosey! It's a big complex and the building below is the one opposite to where Peggy's studio is situated.




And here is where Peggy's wonderful cakes and cookies are created...




It is a lovely bright, white, modern space inside, where Peggy's "Easter Treats Masterclass" shall take place. Peggy's courses are always booked up as soon as they appear on her website so I was so thrilled to get a place, I had been trying for some time.




We are group of 8 which is a good size and allows us all plenty of attention and the ability to see exactly what is going on as Peggy demonstrates. A couple of the ladies had come specially from Switzerland for the course. More excitingly, who did I happen to be sitting next to but Jane Brocket of "The Gentle Art of Domesticity" fame, whose new book on quilts I had only bought the day before. It's a small world!

I loved the floral photos Peggy had stuck up. When I asked her, she said they are for inspiration for making sugarpaste flowers - as well as being very pretty, of course. Peggy was marvellous, very personable and with perfect English (she is German), she was hands on every minute of the course.




Some of Peggy's creations flanked the doors...




This one is actually a fake cake! It was made for display at somebody's wedding and is waiting to be collected. The mind boggles at how many hours that must have taken.




There is a little corner set up with goodies to buy including Peggy's fab books. I am ogling the pink Kitchenaid mixer!





Time to get to work. As you may know if you have been reading my blog before, I have done a couple of one-day cake courses before and I have had to provide all my own equipment and cakes for those. The joy of Saturday's course is that all we needed was an apron and the rest was provided.




We begin by making piping bags from greaseproof paper. As would be the case throughout the day, Peggy made it look so easy and I pretty much felt like a 3 year old on the Krypton Factor trying to get the hang of it! We then mix some icing to the required consistency and have a go at piping. Eeek! This is MUCH harder than it looks!




However, we progress to colouring some icing and pipe outlines on the cookies. We then proceed to "flood" the centres (ie. fill them in) with icing of the same colour in a runnier consistency. The icing is provided for us in squeezy bottles which was a pleasure, mixing the icing to the right consistency is an art in itself. Peggy shares with us the secret to the lovely dotty effect you see on the bunny.




Once the biscuits have dried, Peggy shows us how to ice details on to the cookies. Ha, things just got trickier! She has a fantastically steady hands and her cookies look amazing!




Time to move on from the cookies to make daisy cupcakes. We knead some flower paste and set to cutting out the daisy shapes with a plunger cutter, which not only cuts out the shape but leaves a pattern on the flower petals, too.




We also make the centres and pop the flowers into an artist's palette to allow them to dry (I had a dodgy palette and my flowers were squashed!)




Time now to learn about fondant icing, you know the sort, the lovely, shiny, colourful stuff on Fondant Fancies. Gorgeously spring-coloured fondant icing is warmed up for us to use and Peggy demonstrates the technique of double-dipping the cupcakes.




Errrm, this is not so easy to get the tops all smooth!




All too soon, it is 4 pm and the day comes to a close. What a throroughly enjoyable (rather demanding!) day. Peggy happily signs my book. The cookies you can see in front of Peggy are the ones she iced (so tempting to suggest they are mine!)




Luckily, I am on a direct rail line to Clapham Junction so I am home (in torrential rain) within the hour and find to my delight that Mr HenHouse has been at it in the kitchen, too! This cheese and cider bread is baked by Leakers Bakery in Bridport and is famed - they are always sold out early on Saturday morning. The recipe recently appeared in one of the local freebie magazines we pick up when at the cottage, which Mr HenHouse kept a hold of. Now I have my very own baker!




And what did I bring home?





Daisy dot cupcakes...





Sadly, they moved around in the box on the way home and stuck to each other so they look a little the worse for wear.




The do taste yummy though!

And the cookies...




These were fun to do and the gingerbread ones taste delicious (have yet to taste the vanilla ones).




All in all, it was a wonderful day and if you are interested in this sort of thing, I would definitely recommend a course with Peggy.




(Yes, the Easter decorations are out in force in the HenHouse.)

47 comments:

  1. Looks like you had a wonderful time, and those cupcakes and cookies are making me hungry! How lovely to come home to freshly baked bread too.

    I am putting my Easter decorations up today - any chance we can have a sneaky peek of yours in the Henhouse please, pretty please? You always make everything look so lovely and homely! (Loved your Christmas Decs tour!!)
    x

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a lovely pretty post !
    I love the daisy cakes and the biscuits look too good to eat too
    Looks like you had a great day
    Sue x

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hen is there no end to your talents? Your cakes look fab and the biscuits too.

    What a lovley way to spend a Saturday.

    You have most definately had a very busy week!

    Alison
    x

    ReplyDelete
  4. That looks like it was so much fun! The cookies and cakes are lovely! I've never tired the fondant icing, it looks difficult. Love the flower on the cupcakes. Have a great week! Becca

    ReplyDelete
  5. Looks like you had a great time although very taxing.It looks like it was worth it though.
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh HEN!!!
    I do so want to be you!!!
    If that was me, I would've had icing all over the camera, my face (yum) and in my hair.
    they look brill and the whole day out seems so delightful, springy and bright, even though you say it was raining.
    Gorgeous post. xxx

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow-eee! That looks brilliant. Your creations look fab, and what a lovely surprise to come home to the smell of baking. So glad you had such an enjoyable day! suzie xxx

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oohh another lovely day out Hen! You have been a busy gal lately!
    Your cakes and cookies look gorgeous!How lovely to come home to freshly baked bread too! Such a treat!
    Have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
  9. They all look absolutely lovely. You are so lucky, it must have been a fabulous day.

    ReplyDelete
  10. What a wonderful day, i love your cookies and cakes they look gorgeous xx

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Hen what a great day, the cakes and biscuits look lovely. It was really nice seeing you on Wednesday and thank you for the pressies. It is soooo nice to be home! A customer was telling me about the V&A quilt exhibition and also mentioned another exhibition about Sanderson prints - do you know of it? I have it written down somewhere and it is in London. Kathyx

    ReplyDelete
  12. That looks like an amazing class to take. A bit far for me to drive though but I loved looking at your beautiful pictures. You sure did a great job.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Hen,
    Seems like a fab day! And being honest I don't know if I would have the heart to eat such beauties. :)
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks for sharing this! It looks as though it was a lovely time you had there and your biscuits and cakes look amazing. My hand wouldn't be steady enough to do those fancy patterns, no siree!xx

    ReplyDelete
  15. What a wonderful, wonderful job you did!! Honestly, it looks ike you've been doing it for ages!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Such pretties! I really MUST learn to become a domestic goddess x

    ReplyDelete
  17. What gorgeous cakes and cookies!! Too pretty to eat?....nah, I don't think so...LOL Thanks for "sharing" :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. No wonder those classes are fully booked! Eight seems the perfect number of students to gather together. How much fun to learn lots of professional tricks and how delightful to be able to take some beautiful baked goods home.

    Well done!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi
    The coockies and cakes look lovely. The diasy cutter is a fantastic tool, they look brilliant. Sounds like you had a really lovely day.
    Tracy
    x

    ReplyDelete
  20. Her place is amazing, I DROOLED over every picture ....WOW

    ReplyDelete
  21. oh my word! These look amazing and it is so cool to think you learnt all that and can now do it yourself! What a wicked course! And lucky you meeting Jane as well! xxx

    ReplyDelete
  22. Looks like you had a great time. You made some lovely looking cakes and biscuits. I love those daisy cakes.
    Take care. Hope you are feeling better now,
    Rachael xx

    ReplyDelete
  23. They look absolutely wonderful Helen, well done :) xo

    ReplyDelete
  24. And there's me thinking your surprise was going to be photos of Exeter quilt fair! The cakes and cookies look great Hen..

    ReplyDelete
  25. What a lovely day. So much fun and goodies oh my. Glad you shared with us thanks so much.

    ReplyDelete
  26. What a fantastic course!..and just perfect for you with your artistic talents.Seems a shame to eat those little cakes and biscuits,they are like works of art every one.I did a little bit of cake icing during my cookery course.We had to make those little greaseproof icing bags ourselves and I always managed cut the hole at the top too big so the icing splurged out everywhere!

    Bellaboo :0)

    ReplyDelete
  27. o my goodness, they all look sooo fantastic - what a brilliant day!

    x

    ReplyDelete
  28. All looks lovely, well done !!
    twiggy x

    ReplyDelete
  29. What a fabulous day you had!! I love Peggy Porschen cakes!! She is soooo talented!!
    xxxx

    ReplyDelete
  30. What a great day and your creations are lovely, well done!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Wow! What a fantastic post today!
    I would love to learn to ice like that!
    Your cakes were gorgeous - I don't think I would let anyone near them I would want to preserve them forever.
    I keep buying books about cupcakes because they look so pretty - but I haven't had much success with them yet. I'm going to have another attempt over Easter but I daren't show them on my blog - you have set too high a standard now!!!!
    Love Kathy xxx

    ReplyDelete
  32. Oh no don't eat them they are too gorgeous!!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Thank you sooooo much for sharing with us all your amazing day. I look forward so much to reading your blogs, you lead such an interesting and varied life. You are doing it all perfectly correctly, jam as much in while you can, and enjoy every minute of it!Love from Wendy {:0)xx

    ReplyDelete
  34. Your daisy dot cup cakes are Soooooo pretty, too nice to eat !!
    Thanks for sharing your day ,the photos are great :0)

    ReplyDelete
  35. What a great day you had, and to meet Jane Brockett too. Is there no end to your talents? May I come to ta at you house with all those loely treats?

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thank you Hen.

    I'm on "call" today for work, bit bored of waiting now, so making 4 cushion covers for my sister, while I wait!

    I must say, this cooking class looks lovely, what a fun thing to do!xx

    ReplyDelete
  37. Your biscuits and cakes look absolutely wonderful!But the bread is what I wan to eat :o)
    Sue x

    ReplyDelete
  38. What a lovely experience...Thanks for a lovely post..very inspirational

    ReplyDelete
  39. Oh! to be decorating cakes and biscuits, that's my idea of a tremendously good time! I've met Jane Brocket, she's very nice, and very interesting, isn't she? Very impressed with your offerings, which I'm sure have long since been consumed! Hugo likes to bake too, I'll show him this post, so he can see what your man has been up to. Love Vanessa xxx

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hi Hen

    What a fabulous course, it must have been great fun. It really is an art cake making and decorating.
    I have thought of going on such a course in the past but haven't because I don't actually like icing. I always take it off! So although I love the decorating bit, it would be wasted if I then go on to scraping it all off...
    I have a very sweet tooth but for some reason, icing is too much for me.
    The course does look like fun though...
    Warm wishes
    Isabelle x

    ReplyDelete
  41. What an opportunity - and fantastic results! I have such an unsteady hand, but I recently bought my husband a really good piping kit for icing, so maybe I should have a go with that - at least I couldn't blame my equipment!

    ReplyDelete
  42. They look fab Hen! I take it that we are to see some stunning creations on the tea table at the V&H Fair? ;-)

    Jayne

    ReplyDelete
  43. You obviously have lots of sugar-craft skills Hen. First the lovely cup cakes and now all these Easter goodies! They are absolutely stunning. So pretty and perfectly made. You should be really proud of yourself. I would be! I have dabled modestly in cake decorating (with only moderate results I might add) and know how hard it is. Now you've made these lovely things, you have to keep them from being eaten just so you can look at them; they are so Eastery, Springy and pretty. The daisies, the bunnies, the chicks (I could go on), they all look fabulous!
    Siobhan

    ReplyDelete
  44. I'm so envious of this course! What great fun to learn from one of the masters! I have a couple of Peggy's books.

    Victoria xx

    ReplyDelete
  45. Just found your fab site...lovely pics...remember, "a perfect cupcake is an unhappy cupcake" (thats my excuse anyway!)
    x

    ReplyDelete
  46. The duvet cover and pillow case are absolutely gorgeous - I'm a fan of mixing and matching bedlinen, and these are such good buys!
    x

    ReplyDelete

You are warmly encouraged to leave a comment here. Your comments are emailed directly to me so rest assured I read and treasure every one. Thank you for supporting my blog with your comment. X