Cake chat: An interview with the Queen of baking Mich Turner
Mich Turner MBE is founder of Little Venice Cake Company and often described as ‘Queen of Couture Cakes’, thanks to her award winning designs and celebrity clientele including Her Majesty The Queen, Madonna, Pierce Brosnan, Sharon & Ozzy Osbourne, Cheryl Cole, Gordon Ramsey and David Beckham.
Here’s what she had to say, when I had the chance to interview her.
1. If you could bake a cake for anyone, who would it be and why?
I have had the wonderful opportunity to bake and decorate cakes for many high profile clients including David Beckham, Pierce Brosnan, Sir Paul McCartney, Emma Thompson, Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, Gordon Ramsay, Simon Cowell, Mary Berry and Her Majesty the Queen. My cakes have graced tables from Downton Abbey to Buckingham Palace, Hogwarts to Downing Street!
If I could make a cake for anyone it would be Cinderella – a lavish, fairytale, exquisitely romantic cake with refined opulence of breathtaking beauty.
2. You’ve been describe as ‘Queen of Couture Cakes’, what makes a perfect cake in your opinion?
As a qualified Food Scientist I spend time teaching how to bake the perfect cake; as a Cake Designer I spend time teaching how to decorate the perfect cake and as a Judge I spend time tasting in search of the perfect cake!
In my opinion – the perfect cake should:
1. be pleasing on the eye – look mouthwatering, fresh, enticing and well baked or decorated
2. use quality, fresh ingredients, with the option of local, seasonal produce
3. have a wonderful flavour balanced with the right moistness and texture
4. be well made with time and patience – it is very easy to tell if a cake has been rushed
5. make you want to walk over hot coals for a second slice!
3. What desserts would you recommend for the upcoming Autumn and Winter seasons?
Autumn and winter instantly conjure up memories of harvest apples, apricots, plums, later summer fruits, cobblers and crumbles with lashings of custard and cream.
My favourites include apple crumble (with an optional jar of mincemeat stirred in) – with an ‘anything goes’ crumble topping – add nuts, oats, muesli, honey, spices and almond extract for extra flavour and texture – Substitute the fruit with fresh banana and dried apricots with the juice of a fresh orange for a fruity alternative.
I am particularly partial to frangipan tarts – made with sweet, buttery shortcrust pastry; almond frangipan and a cornucopia of fruits – choose from pears, plums, apricots, apples and sprinkle with flaked almonds before baking.
Homemade baklava made with filo pastry is fun to make and impressive to share – layers of buttered filo pastry, pistachios, cashews and almonds, delicately spiced with cardamom and poured with a delectably sweet rose syrup
Roasted Pistachio or Hazelnut meringue pavlova with sweetened chestnut cream and apricot sauce – this is one from my childhood. I love the balance of the mallowy, crunchy meringue against the smooth sweetened chestnut cream, served with a tangy fresh apricot sauce.
For a showstopper favourite I would choose Chocolate torte – a rich, indulgent chocolate torte made with melted chocolate. Serve with vanilla ice cream, poured salted caramel and top with caramelized, roasted pecans – the perfect accompaniment to any Christmas Party!
Mitch will be at the BBC Good Food Show Winter in Birmingham on Sunday 29 November.