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    Friday, 30 October 2015


    One thing I've learnt from my time in the kitchen is that I'm no baker. Baking requires precision. Baking is an art. Have you seen the Bake Off? One mistake and you've got a soggy bottom. Those people need to be acc-u-rate.

    Me? Not so much. I'm all about the sprinkle of this, sprinkle a little of that, cooking vibe so when Debenhams invited me to a baking class organised with Kenwood so i could brush up on my skills, it took me all of about 30 seconds to accept.

    On arrival I was presented with a glass of prosecco, a gorgeous antipasti spread and an Ashley Thomas apron (so far, so good) before we escorted through to where the magic happens...   
    Roasted vegetable and bread platter
    Andrew and Aika, our tutors for the evening, talked us through our plan of attack and we got down to making cupcakes and cookies for the first half of our session using the Kenwood K-mixers.
    Cooking studio
    girl baking a cake
    fresh fruitsCupcakes and cookies are definitely within my skill set and using the Kenwood mixer made things a hell of a lot easier. It's a lot heavier than I was expecting but the speed settings mean that you can whizz up things like cake batter or meringue without ending up with a dead arm!

    Next up with was even more fun stuff. Chocolate tempering and honeycomb. I've been to a chocolate workshop before which involved some basic tips on chocolate but it was great to get some more detailed experience into what it entails.
    Ingredients for baking a cake
    bowls with chocolateTempering chocolate basically is what makes it all nice and glossy and shiny. It stops you ending up with that horrible white sheen you sometimes see - plus it also helps give you that satisfying snap when you break into it.

    It's all about raising and lowering the temperature to rearrange the sugar structure - all very scientific - but also very fun - just try not to eat all the chocolates during the process.
    chocolates on plate
    girl baking cake
    melting chocolate onto a plate
    putting melted chocolate into moulds
    Once the chocolate was all melted, tempered and set into moulds, we got into decorating and making honeycomb.
    melted chocolate being put on tray
    tray of melted chocolate
    I've always been fascinated by honeycomb. It sort of grows in the pan when you add the bi-carb but it's incredibly easy to make. 

    Simply boil 100g sugar with 8 tablespoons of golden sugar - DO NO TOUCH IT - it's so tempting to stir things when you've got them over but you need to leave it well alone to make sure it works. Once it's started to colour, remove from the heat - add 3 teaspoons of Bi-carb stir and watch it grow! Then it's ready to go onto a baking tray to cool. 
    Cookery class
    Cookery class
    Next it was on to the Great British Bake Off style decorating challenge. I admit my competitive streak may have kicked in and I may have gone a bit Monica Gallagher. But it was all in the name of light-hearted fun right?

    We got to work making butter icing with our Kenwood mixers and were given an array of toppings so we could get creative decorating our cupcakes and a cake to be judged by our lovely judges.
    cake icing being made
    icing being made for a cake
    Sadly my two-tone icing didn't do quite enough to impress the judges but there were some stunning looking cakes on display....selection of iced cupcakes
    Cookery class
    Cupcakes at a Cookery class
    We were each given a cake box to fill with our cookies, cakes and honeycomb along with our own Kenwood hand blender and Ashley Thomas apron to take home which was a lovely surprise! cupcake topped with berries
    Big thank you to the Debenhams PR team, Andrew, Aika, Kenwood and the lovely Ashley Thomas for the masterclass. It was a brilliant  experience and I've learnt lots of tips - make you sure you take a look at the ranges on the Debenhams site for bake-ware inspiration!

    * I was a guest of Debenhams. Photos either my own or by Leah Whitty

    If you liked this post, you may also enjoy: Sunday Cupcakes or Eton Mess Tartlets 

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