The Best Bakes of 2017 by Lauren Cartridge

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The Best Bakes of 2017 by Lauren Cartridge

As 2017 draws to a close and we start thinking about the New Year, Diploma student and blogger Lauren looks back on the past 12 months in pastry and reviews the best bakes she's eaten in London.

I love December. I love that it is acceptable to spend a month eating mince pies and chocolate; I love that you can wear glitter and that it's acceptable to wear novelty jumpers at all times. It is a month of drinking Prosecco, spending time with friends and family and generally being merry. As the days pass, it also becomes a month of reflection, as we ponder on what we could have done differently over the year and what we wouldn’t change.

This year, for me, has been one of adventures: I travelled part way across the world to Bali to see my best friend, walked the entirety of San Francisco in a day and moved to London in a bid to follow my food dreams at Leiths. I have been lucky enough to meet some fabulous new people, and with those people I have eaten some fantastic cakes and bakes. I've narrowed down the extensive list to share my top five favourite with you, even though the list could go on and on! 

Vanilla Cloud Cake - Peggy Porschen

One of the first places I visited upon moving to London was Peggy Porschen, situated just off of Sloane Square. It is pretty and pink, with beautiful cupcakes and layer cakes on offer. I decided to try the Vanilla Cloud Cake (mostly because I am obsessed with macarons and it's topped with intricate mini ones) and it lived up to its name. The dainty slice was so light and fluffy, I had to stop myself from eating it all in a few seconds. It comes with quite a price tag, but it is so worth it just to marvel over the skill of producing such a delicate sponge.

Quince Creme Brûlée 'Cronut' - Dominique Ansel.

I have been interested in Dominique Ansel’s inventive journey ever since the Cronut landed on UK shores. To create such a perfect hybrid is inspiring, and November’s Quince creme brûlée confection was no disappointment. Creme brûlée is my favourite dessert, so whenever I am presented with the opportunity to taste a take on this classic French sweet, I jump at the chance! This is an exciting flavour choice and it just proves how talented Dominique Ansel is.

Saffron Bun - Fabrique

Nestled in Notting Hill, Fabrique is a small bakery that produces delightful bakes, like the Saffron bun. I had walked past the window a couple of times, always stopping to look in and admire. Finally, I went in and purchased this beautiful bun and it blew my mind. Saffron is not always a favourite flavour of mine, but it is perfectly subtle -  if you’re in the area (I believe they also have a bakery in Soho!) then you must go in and try one of these delightful buns.

Creme Brûlée - Crosstown Doughnuts

I never need a reason to eat a doughnut. If I could, I would have one every day! I was introduced to Crosstown Doughnuts only recently and I will never look back. They have an array of options, including a peanut butter & jelly filling, but the creme brûlée is my favourite. They are perfectly filled with a vanilla crème pâtissière made of dreams. The caramelised sugar on top gives an added crunch and I was genuinely sad when I finished the last bite. Doughnuts are a girls best friend, and this is up there with one of the best doughnuts around.  

Cookie Cup Mince Pie - Blondies Kitchen

As mentioned previously, I spend December eating mince pies continuously. So when I heard about Blondies Kitchen (co-founded by Leiths alumna Chelsie Collins) combining a mince pie with a cookie I was immediately intrigued. What a perfect creation! The cookie is soft and chewy, the mince meat fruity and festive; it is Christmas in every single bite. If you are in or near Selfridges then you must go in and purchase two of these cookie cups. I say buy two, because after you have finished the first you will be so glad that you have another one waiting for you. 

I have had the best year and, as 2017 draws to a close, I look forward to entering the New Year with my friends and family, ready to face the new term and to try more tasty bakes! My sweet journey will continue, with so many places still to visit, and I am excited to continue sharing that adventure.

I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas and New Year!

By Lauren Cartridge

Visit | Twitter: @lcartridge | Instagram: @letshavedessertfirst

Make 2018 your year of bakes and master the essential skills to create your own sweet treats in How to Cook Cakes - Part 1. Or, if you're already a confident cook and are considering a career in pastry, join us on the Essential Professional Patisserie Skills course and learn baking techniques for a professional environment.

Lauren Cartridge

Author: Lauren Cartridge

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