If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I was in Dubai until last week for the Taste Of Dubai festival held in the grounds of Dubai’s education hub, Media City. The event saw the likes of chefs Giorgio Locatelli, Sanjeev Kapoor, Jun Tanaka and the very gifted cake boy, Eric Lanlard, named one of the best patissiers in the world by Vanity Fair. French pastry chef Eric’s riverside cafe in Battersea Reach, South West London is not just a cake boutique, but also a modern patisserie that feeds the British obsession for French pastries and afternoon tea. Also built into Cake Boy is a relaxed cooking school where you could try your hand at Fraisier cakes, Amaretti cheesecakes, genoise sponges, learn how to treat chocolate, and even bake bread. Eric has authored 8 cookbooks thus far, his latest being Afternoon Tea.
For his demonstration at Taste Of Dubai in association with KitchenAid and supermarket giant Choithrams, he made soft chewy meringue discs and sandwiched it with a rich praline mousseline, made with butter. Once set by chilling, he poured over a hazelnut and chocolate glaze, made richer with hazelnut liqueur and shiny from using olive oil. I can’t recall the last time I was this excited to get a taste of what was being demonstrated, and it was every bit as incredible as I expected. The Crate & Barrel masterclass studio was crowded with people, plastic spoons in hand, getting second and third helpings of the cake after it was ready to be tasted. Fortunate to have attended Eric’s class, I was ecstatic to learn that the team behind Taste Of Dubai would be sending a recipe for the readers of Belly Over Mind from Eric Lanlard himself.
Sticky Pecan Cake
Yield 12 servings
This recipe from Eric’s book Afternoon Tea is for a spice cake with diced apple slices, chopped pecans and a maple syrup and butter glaze to finish. When describing the cake, Eric says, “This is American baking at its best”.
Unsalted Butter 140g melted, plus extra for greasing
Brown sugar 200g
100 % pure maple syrup 150g
Ground cinnamon 1 tsp
Ground cloves 1/2 tsp
Ground ginger 1/2 tsp
Eggs 2, beaten
Milk 2 tbsp
All-purpose flour 250g
Baking powder 1 1/2 tsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Red apples 2
Pecan nuts 250g, halved, roasted and chopped
For the glaze
Unsalted butter 1 tbsp, melted
100 % Pure Maple Syrup 2 tbsp
Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C)/350°F/gas mark 4.
Grease a 23cm or 9-inch diameter springform cake tin and line with baking paper.
In a large bowl, mix the melted butter, sugar, maple syrup and spices together. Stir in the eggs and milk. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, then fold in until the mixture is well combined. Peel, core and dice 1 apple, then fold in.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin. Core and dice the remaining apple, leaving the skin on. Scatter over the mixture with the pecans. Bake in the oven for 50 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix the glaze ingredients together. Remove the cake from the oven, brush over the maple glaze, then return to the oven and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out on to a cooling rack to cool completely.