Monthly Archives: March 2015

Adding a Dash of vanilla with Eric Lanlard

Eric Salut Baking Mad friends!

When it comes to baking and patisserie, vanilla is certainly the most commonly used flavour. We all love the sweet and smoky flavour that comes from the vanilla bean. It is, of course, an absolutely essential ingredient in custards, sponges, ice-cream and desserts such as panna cotta. But there is so much more that you can do with this essential ingredient. panna cotta

I like using vanilla bean paste and by using a good quality extract or bean paste you are guaranteed a perfect flavour consistency. I adore vanilla and love experimenting with sweet and savoury recipes. A few years ago I discovered that vanilla is not just is a fantastic flavour enhancer, it will elevate the most simple tomato sauce or salsa to another level! It will even bring sweetness and a complex smokiness to smoked salmon. Adding bean paste to a rich gravy made with 99% pure cocoa and serving it with a roast fillet of beef is divine! NM shot with spoons

Of course there are some combinations that are made in heaven – any chocolate with vanilla, exotic fruits, rum cocktails etc. It is important to remember that you should always try to add your extract into a cold product so you don’t damage all the complex flavours and to ensure that your recipe gets the va va voom of your extract or bean paste.

So remember next time you are baking or cooking, just add a dash of vanilla!

Happy Baking!

Eric x

Say cheeeeeese (cake)

cheesecakeWe were very excited to be invited behind the scenes of a recent vanilla photo shoot with our friends from Nielsen-Massey and boy did it leave our mouth’s watering.

We learnt that just one little 118ml bottle of Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract holds 24 servings! That means that you can bake at least 24 delicious recipes before even thinking about stocking up your baking supplies. Now that’s what we call value for money.

And what’s more the vanilla experts at Nielsen-Massey have been busy developing 24 stunning vanilla recipes to share with you all right here at We were lucky enough to get a taster of some of their recipes during their photo shoot.

Simnel cake Spring was definitely in the air with the wonderful scent of warm Vanilla and Chocolate Hot Cross Buns and Easter Simnel Loaf Cake and we just couldn’t wait to tuck into the Carrot Cake with Vanilla Bean Icing and Vanilla, Raspberry and White Chocolate Sponge Cake, both were real showstoppers.carrot cake 2

We love using Nielsen-Massey in our recipes as only a small drop gives an amazing ‘mmmmmmm’ flavour of vanilla to our bakes; from vanilla classics such as baked Vanilla Cheesecake and Vanilla Swiss Roll right through to Vanilla, Rhubarb and Ginger Trifle, there is a recipe for everyone.

If you love Nielsen-Massey as much as we do head over to our competition page as this month we are offering 24 lucky winners the chance to win their own personalised bottle of Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract.

To learn more about how to use vanilla extract and get baking these glorious vanilla recipes visit the Nielsen-Massey page.

Happy Baking!
nielsen shot

Egg-citing Easter fun

chick cupcakes We don’t know about you but Easter really is one of our favourite seasons of the year. An extra-long weekend, chocolate eggs, time spent with the family – bliss!

This year, we have come up with lots of fun Easter related baking activities that work great if you are looking for that special gift for your loved ones or just trying to keep the little ones entertained during the school holidays.

We were lucky enough to have been sent some delicious dark chocolate Easter eggs (our favourites) from our friends at Green and Blacks and decided to get creative by customising our eggs.

Now we know you can go to specialist chocolate stores and pay for personalisation for friends and family but we felt like the homemade look gave it that extra special touch and it is so simple and fun to do.

eggs decoration
To create the icing we mixed up some Silver Spoon All-in-one Royal Icing sugar with a touch of water to give a nice, thick consistency. You can add a drop of food colouring if you like, pastel colours work really well, however we would recommend using slightly less water in this case so that your icing doesn’t become to runny.

We have shared our top tips for egg decorating below:

1. Don’t make your icing too runny (save behind some icing sugar to thicken your icing just in case)

2. Use a good quality Easter egg, if the egg is too thin if can break if you apply too much pressure.

3. Use a small piping nozzle inside your piping bag to create cleaner lines when piping

4. Balance the egg on a small ramekin or bowl to hold it in position when piping.

5. Make sure your icing has dried before you touch you egg so that you avoid smudging.

If you are feeling even more creative, we have a fantastic how to video with Juliet Sear demonstrating how to beautifully paint your Easter Eggs here.
baking kit

If you are looking to gift something different this year, why not make up your own unique Easter baking kits, using a jam jar filled with all the ingredients needed for an Easter biscuit recipe such as this delicious vanilla bunny biscuits tied up with a cute cookie cutter. This is a lovely gift for Mum’s and Grandma’s.
bunny cake

We have also been getting creative with Easter bakes recently. Our lemon chick cupcakes are real fun to decorate with the family and this Easter bunny chocolate cake makes the most indulgent showstopper cake to complete your Easter Sunday lunch.

hot cross Whilst we all probably grew up as children being encouraged not to play with our food, who could resist play a game of noughts and crosses with these yummy Apple, Cinnamon and Raisin Hot Cross buns? Don’t worry if you need some pointers on baking Hot Cross buns we have a great how to video right here. is brimming with Easter recipes so don’t forget to check out our homepage for some more inspiration.