The French are famed for making fabulous cakes, but Eric Lanlard definitely has the edge over his fellow countrymen when it comes to cooking up a sweet storm in the kitchen. So who better to give you a heads-up on mastering the meticulous art than the man himself…
By Eric Lanlard
Study the recipe and list of ingredients and tools needed in advance, and make sure you have them all to hand.
Clear the diary and send the kids/husband/wife away so you can concentrate and are not disturbed.
Use only the best quality ingredients – the cake must taste as good as it looks!
Clean the decks
Start with a very clean surface. When icing, any dirt will show up on white icing so everything must be spotless.
Utensils at the ready
Layout all your tools and equipment like a surgeon on a small tray next to you.
Stick to the path
Follow the recipe step by step. Do not try and improvise – baking is a science.
Always allow royal icing or painted details to dry thoroughly before adding the finishing touches such as pearl lustre or gold/silver decorating paint.
When doing an elaborate icing design that will take more than a few days to complete, use a fruit cake because a sponge cake will go stale after a day.
Factor in choice
When making a wedding cake or a tiered cake for a special occasion, mix up the tiers to give the guests options. Think about using a combination of chocolate, lemon or even a carrot cake instead of using just fruit cake for every tier – it’s much more interesting that way.
Practice makes perfect
Don’t give up if it doesn’t work out the fist time. Keep trying – practice and experience is the secret to success. Of course it always helps if you are naturally artistic!