Sommer Pyne set up House Curious in her beautiful London home as a way to curate special experiences, events and workshops alongside the capital’s best creatives. I was so excited to be invited to take part in Sommer’s most recent class, the Celebratory Cake and Floral Decoration workshop in collaboration with baker and food stylist Holly from The Floury.
I arrived at Sommer’s gorgeous home to be greeted with a refreshing cup of Earl Grey. It was a sunny morning and the other students were outside enjoying the garden. After a quick natter we were invited into the large kitchen to meet Holly who told us a little about her company, The Floury. Holly then went on to explain how the day would be structured and we swiftly got on to the task of making our cake batter. We all made the same delicious cake, a lemon and elderflower drizzle sponge with mascarpone icing. After making the basic cake batter we poured the mixture into the tins and moved on to making the flavourful syrup.
While our cakes baked and with the lemon and elderflower sugar syrup warming on the hob, Sommer announced that lunch was ready. We all sat around the dining table to enjoy the spread that Sommer had created, which consisted of a very tasty super food salad, roasted chicken, creamy potatoes and lots of fresh bread. We all chatted, drank prosecco and swapped stories. The relaxed communal lunch was a great way for us all to get to know each other a little better, and the whole day was the perfect opportunity to meet like-minded people.
After lunch our cakes were taken out of the oven to cool and we got on with making the icing, all while eyeing up the gorgeous flowers, fruits and herbs laid out for us to decorate our cakes with. While we were mixing the ingredients, Holly shared some useful icing tips, I had no idea you could freeze buttercream! After the cakes were doused with the sugar syrup we then got on to the fun bit – decorating our bakes. Once we were finished plastering our cakes with the mascarpone buttercream, we were invited to pick out the decorative elements, before a spot of tea and yet more cake! I ventured out in the huge garden and picked some fresh rosemary, while others opted for spray roses and berried branches to mix in with the botanicals that Holly had brought with her.
Once we had finished afternoon tea, Holly deftly put together a decoration demonstration. She made it look incredibly easy and we were all eager to get down to the prettiest part of the workshop. We all created very different cakes and it was lovely to see how everyone added their own personal touch. I decorated my cake with bergamots, rosemary, eucalyptus and gypsophila flowers. I’m getting married next year and although I won’t be making the cake myself, I will definitely be decorating it and applying the skills I learnt from Holly.
We were all sent away with our cakes to enjoy at home along with an illustrated recipe card to make it easy to re-create our cakes. The whole day was wonderful, a perfect balance of fun, relaxation and education. I can’t wait to put into practice all of Holly’s teachings on my wedding day.
To find out more about the workshops available at House Curious including Indian Made Easy Cookery and Candle making and calligraphy, visit their website.
Words and Photography by Nancy Straughan.