Food Hero: Mich Turner/ Fairy Cake & Fruit Trifle Recipe
“Do you need any credentials to be a Blogger?” Queries Mich Turner – MBE, Queen of all the cake makers. She makes cakes for Elizabeth – The actual Queen, Barack Obama, Madonna, and Paul McCarthney – can you think of anyone more famous? She’s been on their doorstep with a cake! Even on her own honeymoon.
“No – we just blog about food and maybe someone reads our posts.” For someone who has worked so hard to be where she’s at, she seems a little surprised that anyone can be a blogger.
We were invited to spend an afternoon with Mich Turner and learn how to make fairy cakes – Mich Turner makes beautiful breathtaking cakes for her Little Venice Cake Company and you’d be stoked by how you couldn’t have possibly imagined those cakes even if you had been cooking up your wedding day since you were 8 years old! It is fantastic! Couture cakes! ‘The Bentley of cake makers’, says Gordon Ramsay; ‘Lachroix, baby, Lachroix!’ says Edina Monsoon! They are absolutely fabulous!
Mich Turner is a Food Scientist & Nutritionist, Harper’s Bazaar and Chanel Entrepreneur of the Year, author of 4 cookbooks, (Spectacular Cakes, Fantasy Cakes & Couture Wedding Cakes) a mother and a wonderful and beautiful lady. Mich has the classic English look, blonde and rosie-faced and has a charming and elegant aura – although, very authoritive but you’d want that – especially if you are having a master class – on making the perfect fairy cakes using Allinson Nature Friendly Flour.
And so, what is the difference between a cup cake and a fairy cake? According to Mich Turner, the cup cake, is American, inspired by the Victorians using a cup (pound) of flour, cup (pound) of sugar and of butter – they also used teacups to bake the cakes in. The fairy cake is much more traditional and its smaller and flatter, using only a thin glace of icing whereas the cupcake has tons of butter icing spread on top of it.
Now that I know the difference, I am not a fan of the cupcake as it tends to be too sweet for me, although I use a lot of sugar in my savory cooking, I can’t bear too much in desserts – being bought up on a Vietnamese diet, our desserts are more about palette cleansing and refreshment. However, I do love the odd fairy cake and have been making them all my life to my level of sweetness at random measurements of ingredients but now we had met Mich Turner, I learned that the recipe is so easy to remember.
Method: -Preheat oven. -Put sugar and butter (from room temperature) together in a bowl and mix until you get a creamy texture. -Add the beaten eggs in slowly slowly as you stir away. Having a Kitchen Aid would really help matters – but we’re still too poor for that – so its muscle all the way.
-Then, sieve in the flour and the baking powder and fold away, adding the vanilla essence too. -Put in fairy cake holders and bake for about 15 mins or until golden on 180 degrees.
I have been baking these fairy cakes like mad to put into our fruit trifles. We usually buy from the market whatever is in season, sometimes mangos, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries etc (or a mixture). (This is not a very good picture- will post another one when have).
Fruits Fairy Cakes – Cut the fairy cake in half, removing the top harder crust (optional) Fruit Juice 14 Sheets Gelatin per 1 Litre of Juice (makes about 30 glasses) Cointreau Custard Method Cut the fruits up into small bite sized pieces and soak in Cointreau. Then get some juice, like apple juice, peach juice or whatever you fancy – heat it up slightly and put in some gelatin sheets to melt. I normally use 14 sheets for 1 litre of juice.
Pour the juice in to cover the fruit layer and set for a few hours in the fridge. When it is set, place some more fruit in soaked in Cointreau on the top of the jelly. Place a slice of fairy cake on the new layer. Repeat the layer of fruit then another layer of fairy cake if you wish, and drizzle with some more Cointreau from the fruit mixture and top with fresh custard.
Mich taught us how to make some basic decorations. It was like being at school – such fun!
Mich Turner knows all stuff about fats, trans fats and molecules and atoms and probably the DNA of all her ingredients are spiraling in her head as she cracks an egg. She inspired Simon so much that he’s gone and written an essay on fats and trans fats of which he will be posting soon. Mich Turner says she never uses margarine because it is full of fats the body cannot absorb. She only uses butter in her cakes.
But she also talked about sustainability, how eating just organic is not enough. When we think of fish, meat or eggs, we are more aware that we should be eating sustainable caught fish, organic and free range meat and eggs but things like flour seem secondary to our consciousness even though we may eat a lot more bread, pasta and cakes than the former.
Mich was also there to promote Allinson’s Nature Friendly Flour because of it being a sustainable and environmentally friendly flour milled from Conservation Grade wheat from farms, which demonstrate their dedication to helping wildlife flourish. They have to dedicate 10% of their land to this.
Allinson is known to growing wildflowers and building ponds; erecting bird and bat boxes for nesting; planting hedgerows and trees to protect essential food sources, like wild berries; and prohibits the use of harmful agro-chemicals. They encourage biodiversity to ensure and help provide a sustainable environment for the future. This is number 1 in our books – knowing this, we will always buy Allinson and/ or Conservation Grade Products where possible.
The benefits of Conservation Grade Formulas include crops that are allowed to pollinate naturally, thus, letting wildlife flourish – increasing insects like bumble bees and bird life; using traditional methods such as crop rotation which in turn creates more of a harmonious countryside balance where wildlife helps farmers because they prey on pests in a healthy ecosystem.
We must be more aware of how our food is being produced and how it effects the environment. If Mich Turner uses Allinson flour and she is high up there on the food heroes list, – its only good practice that we should all exercise.
What an honour it was to meet Mich Turner – she is someone we look up to – a hard working person with such passion and creativity. You can see in her eyes that she’s been through a lot of work, a lot of hours, but you can also see how proud she is to be where she is and she has earned all her success from her good knowledge and determination to be the greatest.