A couple of weeks ago I was kindly invited along by the Debenhams and Kenwood to #BakeWithDebs. They’d chosen the great venue of the Jenius Social in North London for a group of us to be talked through a few basic decoration techniques which I’d not gotten around to try myself yet. Hey, decorating just isn’t my thing. No matter how much I love baking, I’m just not great at decorating and by the time I get to it I’m ready to be done and start scoffing down some cake. This means that I’ve still not gotten around to tempering chocolate and my piping skills need some serious work. Alas, piping wasn’t on the agenda this evening, but chocolate tempering, then what to do with the tempered chocolate, along with honeycomb were both on the cards for the evening.
We were greeted with some food platters including a wonderful homemade pesto which chef; Andrew had made earlier. The teaching kitchen runs a number of classes and he is in charge of all of them (with a couple of assistants, tonight’s being: Aika). I won’t lie. I kind of turned up a little drunk to this after an afternoon in the pub with a client and when I was handed some Prossecco I knew it’d be downhill from there. Drunk decorating y’all. Everyone got their own apron, designed by Ashley Thomas Design, but being the only fella there (as I’m getting pretty used to being at these things) I had my own from a different range that was slightly less… floral? I’ve nothing against stuff like that, but when I’m in a room surrounded by people I don’t know I don’t feel as comfortable, so thanks to the Debenhams team for being so accommodating.
The kitchens were freshly kitted out with Kenwood products for the evenings as we made a batch of cookies, ready for us all to take away at the end we got to try out their handmixers. We made white chocolate & raspberry and oat cookies. We were talked through tempering, which I’ll go into more detail about when I actually use it for a post (I’m gonna try my hand and it for something soon), and similarly with the honeycomb. The key with tempering is of course the temperature, but this is even effected by temperature and humidity of the room, and with such a large group of us it had to be adapted slightly to do a more basic method than he would sometimes show.
We all had to decorate a cupcake or two with a giant batch of buttercream we made up. Being more than a little boozy by this point, I went for the “chuck everything on and do a swirl” method. Alas (and rather unsurprisingly), this technique didn’t get me the gold but it was fun evening nonetheless and I learnt a couple of skills I’ve been meaning to for a while now, as well as getting to hang out with Charlie (at last) and Claire (always a pleasure!) so it was win win.
What are your decorating tips?