A Red Letter Days Experience with Cake Boy Eric Lanlard

Imagine being offered the opportunity to learn cake decorating skills from a celebrity Master Patissier, or enjoy a spectacular afternoon tea with gilded treats and real Champagne. Sounds like the stuff dreams are made of doesn't it especially if you are a foodie like me?

Last week these dreams came true for me as I got to spend time with Eric Lanlard, the A-list Master Patissier (he's made cakes for Madonna, the Beckhams, Elizabeth Hurley and the Queen Mother to name-drop a few) at his cake boutique "Cake Boy" in London.

Cake Boy London

As well as creating spectacular cakes for celebrities, Frenchman Eric has worked with the Roux brothers, appeared in numerous TV shows and written many books designed to inspire bakers and chefs at home.

He can now add "Training mediocre patissier/slightly star struck blogger Madmumof7" to his list of credits as he patiently and skillfully showed me and other bloggers how to make spectacular cake toppers from petal icing decorated with edible paint and glitter. Oh yes. Glitter. Lots of it. Be still my beating glittery heart!

edible glitter for cupcake toppers

how to make cupcake toppers

It's all credit to Eric that despite being frankly cack-handed, impatient and artistically challenged, (me that is, not him) I was still delighted with my efforts, aided and abetted by the application of LOTS of glitter which I feel makes everything look fabulous and had the benefit of covering my less than dainty painting.

Other more talented bloggers produced some amazing toppers under Eric's charming tutelage using flexible molds. There were rainbow unicorns, minutely detailed handbags and stilettos and cute cupcakes and teddy bears. For those going for more drama there was even a skull and crossbones topper to make and frilly knickers and bras to create stunning toppers.

Next came learning to pipe frosting onto a selection of scrummy cupcakes. Red Velvet, lemon, chocolate and vanilla ....which one would I allocate as mine? And in fact would any of the cakes make it home or would my willpower and willingness to share fade away during my train journey home?

Eric showed us three different ways to pipe (check out my short YouTube video below) and with just a few expert tips on how to fill and hold the piping bag, a lifetime of struggling with this part of cake decorating vanished.

I was delighted with my results which although didn't match Eric's were certainly an improvement on my previous efforts.

frosted cupcakes with petal icing toppers

The hours allocated for the experience flew by and I suddenly realised I was hungry.

Luckily I and the rest of the tribe of glittered and sticky bloggers were being treated to a luxury French afternoon tea. Scones and egg mayonnaise sarnies cut into triangles? Hffff- not from this patissier to the stars.

As staff laid out the feast we were all wowed by the presentation  of dainty sweet treats complemented by more substantial but still beautiful savoury delights.

Inevitably the cameras and smartphones came out - I've not met a blogger yet that doesn't photograph food from every angle before eating it.

Finally everyone had taken enough pictures and it was time to eat.

afternoon tea at Cake Boy London with Eric Lanlard

There were chicken Caesar ciabattina, pesto and tomato focaccia with smoked salmon, mini croissants with Parma ham and mozzarella, mini berry waffles with burned white chocolate ganache, a gluten and dairy free orange and lavender friand and a lemon and passion fruit tart with a gold-leaf-topped blackberry.

Afternoon Tea at Eric Lanlards Cake Boy London #RLDTasters

My faves were a wild berry "Magnum" (shaped like the ice-cream treat but made from coloured white chocolate stuffed with fruit of the forest mousse) and a deconstructed dark chocolate cannelloni "Tarte Tatin", topped with a gilded mini apple which was a real show stopper on the table and in the mouth.

Fan of macaroons? Eric's Cake Boy experts created a mouthwatering selection for our French Afternoon Tea including lime and yuzu, poppy and chocolate with raspberry, liquorice and vanilla and, my favourite, white chocolate and lemon.

Macaroons Red Letter Days experience #RLDTasters

Now often I quote that the thing I love about blogging most, apart from the sheer joy of writing, is the  chance to enjoy "money can't buy" experiences.

I'm delighted to reveal that my celebrity-style cupcake decorating workshop and luxury French Afternoon Tea extravaganza are both money CAN buy experiences thanks to the imagination of the lovely folks at Red Letter Days.

You must have heard of Red Letter Days - the gift people offering experiences as varied as your imagination and beyond ideal for the special people in your life, especially if you have no idea what to buy them!

I cannot imagine anyone not loving either the cake decorating workshop or the Champagne Afternoon Tea but on the off chance you don't want to/can't travel to London or you fancy something different, check out the Red Letter Days website where you will find a huge range of experiences and gift ideas ranging from big cat photography or white water rafting to hotel escapes, pampering and spa experiences, vineyard visits *pauses to take breath* horse-racing, supercar driving, hot air ballooning and theatre tickets.

There are gift ideas for adults and children and a good range of prices with lots of options around £20 rising up to over £1000 for a spectacular ultimate island hideaway break for 2, or the opportunity to stay and play like a star at Chewton Glen with recording studio time included.

After browsing the website what would I choose? Well I love the look of the Mother's Day lunch for two on the beautiful Belmond British Pullman or any of the other luxury train experiences (with a glass of Champagne of course). I wouldn't say no to the lunch cruise in Paris and I've always wanted to stay/eat at Raymond Blanc's Le Manor aux Quat'Saisons so that would be amazing too.

My older daughter would love the Harry Potter walking tour in London while my younger daughter would adore the owl encounter. I'd love to treat my older sons to a Tiger Moth or vintage bi-plane flight while I know my mum would really enjoy the Sunday lunch jazz cruise.

Back to Eric "Cake Boy" Lanlard. The finale to my day was the chance to get his latest book, aptly named "Afternoon Tea" signed by the man himself along with a photograph with the star.

Eric Lanlard with madmumof7 and his latest book, Afternoon Tea

You'll be impressed to hear that all of my cakes made it home in the box not in my stomach and I don't think I'll ever decorate my cakes with glace icing and sprinkles again.

Disclaimer: Many thanks to Red Letter Days who invited me to experience the cake decorating workshop and Champagne Afternoon Tea with Eric Lanlard free for the purposes of this honest review.