I have no right to be at any kind of baking event – I am a truly terrible baker. So it was with some trepidation that I found myself at Debehams #bakewithdebs event, put on in association with glamorous kitchen brand Kenwood. The event was set at Jenius Social – an awesome events venue in Holloway that run cookery masterclasses, parties and corporate events. After arriving to a splendid and much needed foodie spread (I ran straight from work), having a glass of prosecco pushed into my hand and a gorgeous apron designed by Ashley Thomas tied round my neck (it was so pretty – it had pompoms for god’s sake) I was sold and ready to head into my baking adventure.
We split into groups of three – I was with the fabulous Nina, a healthy food blogger who also works at Debehams and fellow craft blogger Zen who writes and makes at Hapiness Wherever. Our experts for the evening were Andrew and Aika. Andrew was trained by Jamie Oliver and they were absolute pros – amazing and explaining everything and really entertaining. When Andrew ran through our to do list for the night I could not believe just how much we were meant to get done – cookies, honeycomb, tempering chocolate, butter cream, piping, and a cupcake competition – how on earth could we fit this in just a few hours (I’ve seen how stressed Bake Off contenders get making one cake – and they can actually bake).
However Andrew and Aika seemed confident so off we went! We used two beautiful kenwood mixers to make our cookies dough – one handheld and one larger. I love Kenwood. I really do! I actually have a Kenwood blender which I was given as a birthday present years ago (much to the slightly confused bemusement of my Dad). It’s my pride and joy in my kitchen, and although I don’t use it often it helps me feel a little more grown up than when I’m washing up my collection of old, bashed up university pots and pans. The blenders were such a great addition as it meant we quickly had our cookie mix complete (oatmeal in one and white chocolate and raspberries in the other – yum!). We rolled the cookies using clingfilm which we then froze so that when we came to cutting we would have beautifully uniform sized slices.
Next onto tempering chocolate AND my favourite favourite make of the night HONEYCOMB!
Lot’s of watching and waiting as each mix heated up followed by frantic pouring and spreading of the honeycomb before the delicious picking of honeycomb fragments from the spoon. The Kitchen spelt delicious. I had one freak-out moment when I started spreading the honeycomb onto a tray and it looked like it had split – everyone in the room gasped and I FROZE but turns out it was absolutely fine (cue drinking more prosecco to calm baking nerves).
Want to try making your own honeycomb? It was actually quite simple and more a case of holding your nerve and not stirring while the sugar melted. here’s the recipe:
- 100g caster Sugar
- 8tbsp golden sugar
- 3tsp Bicarbonate
- Melt sugar and syrup (Do not stir)
- Allow to boil and colour slightly
- Remove from heat
- Add Bicarbonate
- Stir Immediately
- Pour onto tray lined with parchment
- Allow to cool for 20 minutes
- …. eat it all…. tell no one….
The group tempering chocolate must have been drooling because the dark chocolate smelt just delicious. It’s quite a precise art – tempering – because you have to heat and cool the chocolate to almost exact temperature for it to work. The fun part came after the chocolate had been spread onto trays and we could get stuck in decorating with white chocolate – it was a bit like giving crayons and a big white wall to toddlers… beautiful, hilarious chaos!
We then headed back to our tables to make butter cream (I know I know – the pace was fast!). After mixing up our cream we added colours and flavours – and were told that there would be a cupcake decorating contest to finish the night! Nina and I set about trying to make marbled icing by mixing in pink and then adding lines of blue through the piping bag. It was a dangerous dangerous game to play. We made such a mess. Blue, Blue electric blue on our hands, faces, hair… the lot. I think we were probably the messiest table in the kitchen. But. Somehow, miraculously, it actually worked and our icing looked beautiful (although at this point I became a rubbish blogger and didn’t get any decent pictures of my cupcakes – they weren’t particularly photoworthy and the lovely snaps by Debenhams of all the other beaut makes are much much nicer to gaze at!)
I didn’t win the competition (I didn’t stand a chance – guys let me sew any day rather than ice, it’s SEW much easier) but Zen did! Her cupcake was a theatrical triumph and I thought Nina’s was fantastic too – her marbled lines were so neat.
Finally we packed up our cupcakes, honeycomb, chocolate and cookies into boxes and headed off into the night, high on sugar and buzzing with pride! We each received an AMAZING gift of a Kenwood Hand Blender (I know!!) so i can’t wait to attempt some bakes of my own at home
This little crafter still can’t bake, but she can maybe mix cookie dough, ice a cupcake, and most importantly eat honeycomb like an absolute pro.
Thanks for having me Debenhams!