Not unlike a small child seeking your approval and praise after learning a brand new skill for the first time, I'd like to present these Mini Violet Chocolate Pansy Cakes.
To utterly misquote Thomas Edison, these beautifully elegant little chocolate cakes were 15% perspiration and 85% terrific tuition from Penelope, Masterclass Tutor at the Peggy Porschen Academy. I was invited to join one of the new floral classes, 'Purple Pansies' hosted by the Academy in celebration of the Peggy's new book 'Cakes in Bloom'.
The Academy is tucked away on a handsome tree-lined Belgravia street, an area of London that makes you long to be a lady-who-lunches with an oversized designer handbag and miniature pooch. I clearly spent too much time watching the world go by as I enjoyed a welcome coffee at the Peggy Porschen Parlour*, just opposite the Academy. When I wasn't imagining my new parallel universe life, I was unashamedly admiring (greedy eyes wide, tastebuds tingling, mouth watering; the full works) glass cabinets full of delectable cupcakes and shelves stacked high with sweet treats and delightful biscuits.
Once I was surgically removed from the Parlour's display unit, I joined my two lovely fellow classmates as Penelope, ably assisted by Nicola, introduced the day.
Firstly, we made the cake. Penelope promised us this would be the softest, fluffiest chocolate cake we'd ever bake. And boy, was she right; if this cake were a pillow, it would be premium, luxury Canadian Goose feather you only see in high end hotels. Penelope revealed the secrets of the cake: soft, brown sugar to add a deep caramelised flavour and ever so slowly, over several minutes, adding the eggs to the creamed butter and sugar.
A short break to sample a few of the Parlour's cupcakes (yippee!) followed and, after considerable
The process of making the pansies was wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable, if very delicate; from carefully rolling the veins into the petals, to thinning out the edges providing a ruffled, scalloped look to gently adding the iridescent edible dust.
After lunch at a great little neighbourhood cafe recommended by Penelope, we began assembling the mini cakes. Mixing the sweet violet buttercream resulted in the entire Academy smelling not unlike a Parma Violet factory. And the best bit about cutting out the mini chocolate cake was the excess sponge that, of course, for quality assurance we were obliged to tuck into.
Our Perfectly Purple Violet Pansies. This was a very relaxed, informative and brilliantly taught class resulting in delicious and beautifully decorated, charming miniature cakes. And my pansies didn't look any thing like bedraggled, genetically modified weeds!
With thanks to Peggy Porschen, Peggy Porschen Academy and Penelope for a great day. Visit the Peggy Porschen Parlour at:
Peggy Porschen Parlour
116 Ebury Street
* See, in this part of the world, cafés aren't cafés. They are parlours.