Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Mother's Day Decoration Class at Primrose Bakery

It would be completely wrong if I had a baking blog and not tell you about my visit to Primrose Bakery, in Covent Garden. I was lucky enough to go a Mother’s Day themed class to bring home some cupcakes as a gift for mum. (She’s cool about eating cupcakes, just not decorating them)

Primrose Bakery was first founded in 2004 by Martha Swift and Lisa Thomas who started baking from their own kitchen in North London, for children’s parties. They realised that cupcakes were perfect for every occasion and versatile. They soon started to sell their cakes to a local delicatessen and the business grew when they were approached by Selfridges Food Hall.  In 2006, the first bakery in Primrose Hill opened and history was made. Now with 2 shops (with another one on the way!) and 2 cookbooks  and my sources at the Primrose class, tell me that a new book is coming out roughly about October time, which features some of the very trendy cocktail cupcakes (can’t go wrong with a boozy cake.)

Now if I have to be honest, I felt slightly intimidated going into a cupcake class on my own. I was expecting that there would be mother and daughters together and that made me feel a little like the odd one out. However, once I stepped through the threshold that feeling was replaced by one of welcoming. The pastel hues and the smell of freshly baked cupcakes just lift’s the spirit and puts a smile on your face.
Primrose Bakery at Covent Garden 

I was quickly greeted by the lovely Laura, one of the bakers and helpful Becky, one of front of house staff. They asked me my name and gave me a name sticker and I was offered a drink. Diet coke, of course, and once all the class had arrived we were ready to begin.
Laura making vanilla butter cream. Ignore the little kid in the background. 
The start of the class began with Laura showing us how to make a basic vanilla buttercream. Now, I have loads of experience making buttercream, so to me I wanted to get right down to the decorating. But some of the girls I spoke too weren't familiar with making buttercream, so it was something new to them. What was new to me, was the signature Primrose swirl. Laura had demonstrated to the group and she made it look really easy. In practice, it’s very hard. It requires lots of practice and patience. The group I was sitting with all had such a laugh while trying making that swirl.
Laura showing us the Primrose Swirl.
Both Becky and Laura were ready to lend a hand to show us how to do that lovely swirl. There were cupcakes squashed in hands, melted buttercream on fingers (and into our mouths! The chocolate buttercream was to die for!) and even buttercream in the floor. It took me ages for a decent swirl but finally I got one! Woo! 

My first Primrose Swirl.
We were also given a decorating tool kit along with some various coloured buttercreams, floral decorations and sprinkles. 
Chocolate cupcakes decorated by me.
We then decorated mini cupcakes, which I found easier. However the opinions were mixed. The same thing happened with the chocolate buttercream, which I found easier to work with as it was easier to work with, but the girls on the table had mixed opinions.

Laura then showed us how to decorate a cupcake with a flat top so that it makes it easier to write on. Continuing along this line, we were shown how to make a paper piping bag, which I found very difficult to do up until now.  Laura showed us how to fill up our piping bags with buttercream, and pipe out messages on a large cake and on cupcakes. We were given a round sheet of baking parchment to practice writing on.
Oh gez what a mess!
Since it was a special mother’s day class, we were given a Violet flavoured cupcake to decorate. This was the cupcake I decided to write on. I think it turned out pretty well!
I love you Mum Violet Cupcake.

Just at the end of the class were shown how to ice a layer cake the Primrose way. Including making a flat surface, and textured cake.
A lush chocolate cake!
One thing that I regret is not decorating more cupcakes. I was in such a concentration mode that I only managed to decorate 5 cupcakes in total. I now know for next time, decorate more cakes!
But overall, I was very proud of the end results! My mum loved them so much she was upset about eating them.
The end results!
Regarding the class, what can I say? It was a pleasure to be there. The whole experience was homely, personal and fun to do. It was a really intimate class and I think that everyone enjoyed the class regardless of their decorating skills.
My goodie bag contents.
I almost forgot about the goodie bag! Our cupcakes got packed into boxes, along with a recipe card, postcard signed by Martha Swift and Lisa Thomas and a card for a free cupcake! So was it worth going? Definitely! Even if you just get dragged along with a cupcake fanatic, you'll enjoy the atmosphere. (I'm sure everyone knows a cupcake fanatic.)

Wondering if it's for you?
What to Expect: Warm welcome, the smell of cakes, personal help and a cool goodie bag. Oh and seriously good cupcakes.
Level: Beginners/Intermediates (who can’t do the swirl!)
Type of Class: Decoration
Price: £50 or £45 if you book two places at once
Go with: Mum or sister

Remember to check out the Primrose Bakery website for the latest classes. (Keep in mind that classes and prices may change etc)

Finally I want to thank Laura and Becky for really making my Sunday and my Mother’s day really special for my mum as well. Thanks girls!

Bake On!
Penny (hope you like the new siggie!)
Bake On! Penny x
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