Sunday, 15 July 2012

The first ever 7th Star Baker Basic Baking Workshop

So here's the thing, it's raining like it's monsoon season and I'll be damned if I'm not going to still wear my summer clothes in July and August!  It's not even cold really, a cardy is fine when I leave at 7.00am for work each day, so all I need to make sure is that I have my brolly and my sunglasses with me and I'm good to go!

Since my last post I have presented my very first Basic Baking Workshop with a lovely lady called Caroline.  Now if you were thinking to yourself 'I didn't realise the 7th Star Baker ran workshops' join the club!  This all came about through Caroline's husband Wess.  

Wess used to work at the same place as me and we meet sometimes on the train in the morning.  We happened get talking one day about them moving house and my aspirations of owning a tea room, which led on to the 7th Star Secret Tea Room and he thought that it would be something that his wife Caroline would be interested in, so I gave him my details and said she should drop me a line and I'd put her on  my mailing list. 

There followed a series of email exchanges with Caroline and I about her desire to improve her baking, and around whether I had any baking tips, then lo and behold we made a date and the first ever 7th Star Baker Basic Baking Workshop was arranged!

On the day we made a Victoria sandwich and some chocolate cupcakes, very basic stuff, but a good introduction to baking and great recipes for practising.

Throughout the workshop we talked about how weighing your ingredients is key for perfect results, that knowing your oven is a particular skill that needs to be mastered because they are all different, and that experimenting is the best way to work out your timings and temperatures. 


As it turns out Caroline is quite creative, so decorating the cupcakes was something she really took to and enjoyed a lot.

I'm pleased to say that Harrison, Caroline's cute little boy, loved the chocolate cupcakes so much that he didn't even want to wait until they were decorated before trying one!  I have also since heard from Wess, that his particular favourite was the Victoria sandwich, which he ate almost all to himself.

So there you have it, an account of my first Basic Baking Workshop.  If you think this is something you would like to have a go at, please do drop me a line, or if you want to try out the recipes that Caroline did, here they are courtesy of

Victoria Sponge


175 g unsalted butter
175 g caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
175 g self-raising flour

3 tbsp strawberry jam
500 ml double cream

1. Set the oven to 180C/gas 4. Lightly butter two sandwich tins, each with a diameter of 20cm.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, and then slowly add the beaten egg.

3. Fold in the sifted flour and spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tins.

4. Bake for 20 minutes. Leave to cool and then remove from the tins.

5. Whip the cream until thick and use it to fill the sponge with the jam.

6. Dust liberally with icing sugar to serve.

Chocolate and Vanilla Cupcakes 


For the cupcakes
200 g

200 g

6 tbsp
Cocoa Powder

3 tbsp

150 ml
Sunflower Oil

100 ml
creme fraiche


For the Icing
100 g
Butter softened

200 g

1 tsp

1 tsp

1.      Pre heat oven 170°C, fan oven 150°C, 325°F, Gas Mark 3.

2.      Line two muffin tins with paper cases.

3.      Place the flour, sugar, cocoa and chocolate chips into a large bowl. Add the oil, creme fraiche and eggs. Beat together until smooth and slightly fudgy. 

4.      Fill the cases 3/4 full and bake the cakes for 20 mins until well risen. 

5.      For the butter icing: In the bowl beat the butter with a wooden spoon or an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Gradually mix in the icing sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla extract and sufficient milk to give a fairly firm spreading consistency. Pipe or spoon onto your cupcakes.

Until next time take care and happy baking!

Mandy xx 

1 comment:

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