Recipe: “Cake Boy” Eric Lanlard Banana Cake (Giveaway #11 CLOSED)

Cake Boy Eric Lanlard Banana Cake

Banana bread topped with greek yogurt and Brittany honey

This is a post about banana cake but first we must talk about croquembouche.

Inhaling bridal magazines by the kilo, I was on a quest for a specific type of cake; French croquembouche spun sugar covered profiterole towers as seen at a family wedding in Lyon fifteen years earlier.

Today, I would probably find one easily, heh I might even be nuts enough to try and make a croquembouche. Visiting a huge wedding fair, enquiries were met with a sharp intake of breath and a comment about every French village having a patissier who would effortlessly conjure one up… but in the UK, forget it.

Croquembouche, everyone said, need to be made at the very last minute. You cannot drive them 100 miles up the M40 near Birmingham because the cream inside the choux pastry buns will go soggy and collapse. Apparently.

So you can imagine my joy when at another stand I met my fantasy croquembouche and a French master patissier who made them; it was Eric Lanlard of Savoir Design and more recently Cake Boy and Channel 4 series Glamour Puds.

“But of course,” he said with a confident Gallic shrug, scoffing at the notion of sogginess and had even delivered cakes to virtually the same place before.

As it happened, my best woman and I toured the rest of the show and on our return to Eric’s stand, we came face to face with the splendid tower of desserts you see in the photo above. Croquembouche schmockombouche, pah, what we really needed was a chocolate tower of individual cheesecakes and chocolate fondant puddings wrapped in chocolate collars with printed patterns on them and decorated with flowers. As you do.

The cake was without a doubt, the high point of the day, two guests even ordered from Eric for their wedding too.

With these happy cakey memories, I was delighted to be asked to review a copy of Eric’s latest book Home Bake.

Book Review: Eric Lanlard Home Bake

Home Bake is Eric’s second book, following on from Glamour Cakes. As the title of this one indicates, it offers the kind of cakes you can make at home rather than coffee table dreams for A-listers.

In this practical selection, Eric shares a range of straight forward cake and pudding recipes such as lemon drizzle, victoria sponge and madeleines and apple charlotte. Food blog style, there are plenty of step by step photos to help you along.

To give you an idea what to expect, here’s what you find in the meringue chapter: Italian and Swiss meringues, Macaroons (oddly not referred to as macarons), Marshmallow Strings, Pavlova, Eton Mess, Baked Alaska and Lemon Meringue Roulade. As well as classic sponges, there are also chapters on muffins, cupcakes, traybakes and festive recipes.

It’s a good mix of standard recipes such as classics like Pear Tarte Tatin and Bakewell Tart, stalwarts in Eric’s own style – Classic “Cake Boy” vanilla or chocolate sponges – and more original treats such as Salted Butter Caramel Mousse with Mini Pears and Blondies with Peanut Butter. There are also several flour free cakes.

It’s a generous size, over 200 pages, although if you’ve already got a lot of baking books, possibly too much repetition of classics here to be worth adding it to your collection. But certainly there’s justification to make space for it since at least half of the recipes are more unusual and the photography and styling are attractive.

The preambles to recipes are very short, this isn’t a chit chatty book but it’s a very good looking one with solid content. I will definitely bake more things from this book and the Toffee and Apple Sauce Muffins are right up there on my list.

Eric Lanlard Home Bake is published by Mitchell Beazley priced £20, hardback.

My first choice was to try was the banana cake from the sponges chapter. I didn’t have massive expectations since banana cakes tend to be pretty similar. This cake impressed me, it was a majestic size, rises heroically in the oven and slices into fat moist tranches without crumbling. You could walk into any bake sale proud with one of these under each arm.

Another reason for choosing this recipe was the suggestion that you accompany it with fresh Greek yogurt – handy since Total had just sent me a month’s supply of it – and maple syrup. Instead of maple syrup I opted for this dark honey you see above which I had bought on holiday in Brittany. Since Eric hails from Brittany I think this most appropriate!

“Cake Boy” Eric Lanlard’s Banana Cake from Home Bake
Recipe reproduced with permission

Serves 8 (I think this is very generous indeed, this is a big cake)
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

Ingredients
125g (4.5 oz) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
175g (6 oz) unrefined soft brown sugar
2 eggs
300g (11 oz) plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150ml (5 fl oz) milk
3 medium very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp poppy seeds
75g (2.75 oz) walnut halves, chopped
50g (2 oz) dried banana chips (I omitted these)

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 180c (fan 160c/350f/gas mark 4). Lightly grease a 25 x 11 cm (10 x 4.25 in) loaf tin with extra butter.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl using an electric hand whisk until smooth. Add one of the eggs and beat in well, then add the second and continue to beat well. Sift in half the flour, then add the second and continue to beat well. Sift in half the flour with the bicarbonate of soda, and mix well. Mix in the milk, then the remaining flour.
3. Fold the mashed bananas into the mixture along with the vanilla extract, poppy seeds and walnuts. Then tip the mixture into the loaf tin and level the top with a spatula. Arrange the banana chips on top of the mixture. (I missed these out)
4. Bake in the preheated oven for around 1 hour until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean and not sticky. Cover the top with foil if it starts to brown too quickly.
5. Allow to cool in the tin for at least 20 minutes before turning out. To serve, cut into thick slices and serve warm or room temperature.

Eric Lanlard Home Bake Giveaway – Two copies to be won

This post originally featured a giveaway which is now closed. The two winners were Georgina Ingham, Staffordshire; Cristina McDowall, Devon.

Eric and Home Bake book images and prizes courtesy of Octopus books.

Also up for grabs during the Maison Cupcake 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways:

Waitrose Christmas goodies RRP £35 Closed

Green & Black’s Ultimate Chocolate Chef gift set Closed

Nigella Living Collection Measuring Cups Closes Jan 16 (bloggers’ competition, international)

Alex Polizzi’s Little Black Book of Hotels Closed

Sainsbury’s Different by Design cookware Closes Dec 15

Heinz Secret Ingredient Hamper Closes Dec 16

Chai Caramels from Matcha Chocolat INTERNATIONAL Closes Dec 17

Steenberg’s Christmas Spices Survival Kit, Christmas Chai Tea and Stollen Spice Blend Closes Dec 17

Interflora Christmas Hamper RRP £100 Closes Dec 19

Mum et Moi Silicone Cake Mould Closes Dec 18

One more to go! Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the last giveaway: some pukka Jamie Oliver Kit

  1. I’d love to win this book, I’ve seen it in the book store. There are some great recipes in there. Believe it or not, the cakes that made the most impressions on me are ice cream cakes. Growing up in america we always got one for our birthdays. I miss them.
    *kisses* HH

    • I have seen shaped ice cream desserts but not ice cream cakes… are they the same thing?

  2. I love cake and specially black berry and chocolate cake. here you have shared really good information regarding cake and i also love to win this book for make best cacke

  3. I would also love to win this book! One novelty cake which went down very well was a treasure chest my sister made for my nephew’s pirate theme party… It was lovely!!

  4. I think the novelty cake that I remember the most was the one I made for a friend

    She is a chocoholic – so I made a chocolate sponge cake and then decorated it with 6 more chocolate cupcakes stuck on top with dulce de leche. It was huge

    and even she couldn’t eat it all!

  5. I have more baking books than sense but this still looks like an amazing one and would love a copy! I replied to yesterday’s post and mentioned the cakes my mum made for us as children. I’ve only made one novelty cake, and it was for a friend’s hen night, on very short notice! Ummm, let’s just say I had to buy a mould on ebay with which I made a chocolate shape which gave the cake it’s novelty :)

  6. Wowzers that banana cake looks magnificent!!!! Smothered with greek yoghurt and honey…. now you’re talking girl!!!!! Also loving your wedding dessert tower – impressive stuff and totally necessary!!!!
    The novelty cake that left the most lasting impression on me was a cake very lovingly crafted into the shape of a man’s doodah that a Spanish Tapas restaurant made for my best friend when we had a celebration meal in her honour. She was SOOOOOO mortified it was frickin’ hilarious!!!! I’d say that was a VERY lasting impression, I’ll certainly never forget how the cake looked, or her face for that matter!!!!!!

  7. Weird coincidence…I made my first banana cake yesterday! I used walnuts and chocolate chips as well, most of it was great but the middle was still runny, a lesson for next time!

    I think one of my favourite novelty cakes is the classic chocolate caterpillar! I never got one though as they were my little sister’s favourites and so she claimed it as “her” cake….

    • Banana with choc chips sounds very tasty, I think you could slip some choc chips in here and it would work very well indeed.

  8. When I was 16 I remember getting a Rally Car birthday cake, it was so impressive I still have the numberplate from it!

  9. I had never seen a novelty cake before so when I saw two boobies as a cake when I was about ten years old I was very shocked!
    I like the idea of honey and Greek yogurt, will try that next time I make a banana cake.

  10. I made a novelty birthday cake for my housemate once – it was cat shaped and went down rather well (considering it was my first attempt) Good Fun too

  11. When I saw YOUR fabulous wedding cake, as pictured above, it was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen. I hadnt ever seen one before. MOM x

  12. I remember seeing a Halloween cake in New York in a shop window, done like a wedding cake: 3 tiers, pumpkin coloured fondant, glittering ribbons and an edible witch. I wanted it so badly I could have wept. Maybe I should have a Halloween wedding?

    Loving all these posts you’re doing every day. Making me feel lazy as! :)

    • OMG that sounds marvellous! Glad you are enjoying the series although it is with some relief to me that they are almost over!!

  13. I once made a Mickey Mouse birthday cake for my 3 year old. I was quite impressed with how it looked but I hadn’t realised the effect it had on him until I tried to cut into an ear to give out the slices and he started crying!

  14. I have 3 very ripe bananas in the pantry, just waiting to be made into a cake – I’m off to make it just as soon as I’ve entered to win the whole book of recipes! Thanks!

  15. (sorry, got so carried away with excitement about the banana cake I forgot to include my competition entry)
    I recently made a novelty cake for my daughter’s 21st birthday – she’s a pharmacy student and I made the cake from individual cakes, all in the shape of various tablets and capsules. I included a “prescription” for a long and happy life, hand-written using cake colouring on rice paper. Everyone who saw it was impressed, and it was easy to serve because everyone just chose a pill to eat!

  16. Love the look of the banana cake. Would love to win this book.
    Have just made a clown cake for my grandson’s birthday as he loves clowns. Made lots of balloon biscuits too.

  17. WOW!! “chocolate tower of individual cheesecakes and chocolate fondant puddings wrapped in chocolate collars with printed patterns on them and decorated with flowers” – that is absolutely stunning. :-) Though I confess I’ve been dreaming of croquembouche since I first saw them in Victoria magazine years ago. :-)

    • They are so pretty aren’t they…. I would have been just as happy with croquembouche I’m sure but this has so much WOW factor!

  18. You know some girls say they can never have too many shoes? My saying is I can never have too many baking books!
    My favourite cake novelty cake – my mum baked me a fantastic chocolate castle complete with moat from a cake decorating book she had – it was awesome, perfect for any little girl’s birthday party. I was 17!

  19. Well I reckon your cake tower is the most impressive cake I’ve seen – what a fantastic creation. I bet your guests were mightily impressed too.

  20. Wow Sarah I love your wedding photo! You are gorgeous and hubby is pretty darn cute! Fabulous idea for a cake, too. Wow! And this book is so up my ally as I love everything homey and cozy. One cake that impressed me was actually one that I made last year for the holidays, my Chocolate Chestnut Charlotte. I was amazed at how gorgeous it was and how fabulous it tasted. Am sharing it on Huff Post this week I liked it so much. It was a lot of work but great fun…

  21. I must remember to not visit you at 6pm when I’m starving!
    I have clicked on FB page and shared it with my friends – surely that’s extra points? :)
    Mum is a wicked cake maker and has supplied them relentlessly over the years, she’s an expert in sugar work too so the choice to tell you about is phenomenal. However, a gingerbread house she made for my 8th birthday sticks in my mind for wow factor. It was superb, covered in smarties and other favourite sweets, like a mini Hansel and Greta house. It was also delicious and my playground cred shot up to the max :) off to Tweet right now as I WANT this book

  22. Can I just some of that cake?! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! ;-)

    Ahem, your Wedding Cakes look fabulous! Guess my equivalent would be a friends wedding, where they had a “tower of cheeses” instead of a cake. It look and tasted FAB!

    Have tweeted and follow

    Maggy

  23. A dragon cake, made by my Mother in law for my sons 6th birthday. He wouldn’t let anyone eat it as he wanted to keep it. We compromised and kept the head

  24. My mum once made me a house shaped cake, it looked fabulous but it was covered in so much sickly pink icing it was more or less inedible ;)

  25. That dessert tower is the most amazing cake I’ve ever seen! My daughter’s pink handbag cake that was made for her eighth birthday was the most amazing cake I’ve ever seen and subsequently eaten!

  26. When one of my sons was 5 I made him a “James” engine which is number 5 from the Thomas the Tank engine books. It wasn’t difficult to make and I used jammy dodgers and those swirly iced biscuits for wheels.

  27. My favourite novelty cake has to be a train that my mother and I once made for my birthday – think I must have been about 9 or something? Can’t quite remember how we made it, but there’s a photo of me in my pyjamas with a very chocolatey face looking veeeeery happy :)

  28. At a friend’s party, she ordered a cake completely covered in frosting and cream, a white sheet of charm. What embellished the plain sheet of potential was a single pair of ballet shoes, pink and with ribbons. My friend is a dancer, and the cake showed that no less.

    Cheers

  29. Pingback: Giveaway: Kenco Millicano Coffee Morning Set | Fuss Free Flavours

  30. Pingback: Jamie Oliver Hanging Kitchen Utensils RRP £50 | Maison Cupcake | How to bake your way through life

  31. Pingback: Winners, Kings with Paper Crowns, Belated Galette des Rois | Maison Cupcake | How to bake your way through life