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Delicious and gorgeous, Peggy Porschen cakes are a Belgravia favourite. Rachael Healy visits the academy and attempts to recreate the popular drip cake.
Peggy Porschen is an Instagrammer’s paradise. The shopfront is a very on-trend shade of pink, and the cakes in the window complete the perfect picture. Across the street, the Peggy Porschen Academy gives fans the chance to recreate some of the shop’s classic bakes, including the sought-after drip cake.
Drip cakes were the trendiest bake of 2016. Australian baker Katherine Sabbath is credited as the creative behind them and gained a huge social media following with her trippy drippy designs. Peggy Porschen has three versions of its own, including chocolate raspberry and salted caramel.
“If there is a trendy thing, students really want to learn how to do it,” says Cristina, our tutor for the day. “We had a lot of people asking for a drip cake class.”
In today’s Drip Cake Masterclass we’re making the vanilla version. It’s based on the classic Peggy Porschen vanilla cloud cake – three airy sponges layered with vanilla syrup and meringue buttercream – finished with the dripped chocolate ganache that gives the cake its name.
This class is all about learning new skills. As it’s only a one-day course, Peggy’s bakers prepare the sponges in advance. We’ll be focusing on the meringue buttercream, chocolate ganache, confectionary and the intricacy of assembly.
The class size is small and everyone is friendly. “Six is a good amount,” says Cristina. “The teacher has time to go to each person and check what they’re doing.”
We’ll be making our decorations first – a selection of tiny meringues. Cristina demonstrates the Swiss meringue, which she explains holds its shape better than the French variety. With the help of a Porschen-pink Kitchen Aid, we whip up our own glossy white meringue mix.
Cristina shows us how to add paste colour to the meringue without losing air. We experiment until a rainbow of pastel concoctions are ready to pipe. Cristina shows us the perfect technique. Soon we’ve created tray upon tray of our own pretty, if erratically sized, meringues.
While they bake, Cristina demonstrates the Italian meringue buttercream before we return to our benches to make chocolate ganache. As the chocolate melts, the whole academy fills with an amazing aroma. We cover the ganache with cling film and set it aside for later.
Finally, it’s time to meet our vanilla chiffon sponges. I load my first tier onto a turntable and pipe on a (slightly wonky) spiral of meringue buttercream.
When all three layers are stacked, it’s time to mask the cake. Cristina makes it look easy, covering the tall cake with more meringue buttercream, then using a metal scraper to even out the coverage. She’s left with a perfect, cream cylinder.
My effort is less elegant, but after a few attempts it’s looking smooth. This is just the crumb coating though – the top layer is the one that really counts. Cristina hands out batches of vanilla buttercream and shows us how to apply it with a palette knife. Again, her cake is flawless, although, as she points out, she does make 50 of these a day.
While attempting a graceful transfer to the fridge, I accidentally smash a thumb through the buttercream…
It’s time for the magic moment – the drip. One by one, we pour our reheated chocolate mixture around the rim of the cake, wiggling the jug to get the desired drip pattern. It’s hypnotic to watch the others, and see the variety we end up with. Each one looks delicious already.
Cristina brings out the meringues we made earlier, along with some Peggy Porschen macarons, heart-shaped sweets and edible spray to add a pearly shimmer. Everyone gathers a selection of treats to top the cakes. I pick a green and pink colour scheme and start arranging meringues as artfully as possible.
The finished drip cakes are very attractive. We admire one another’s work and take a few pictures. No doubt these will end up on Instagram later.
Peggy Porschen Academy also offers cupcake, sugar work and seasonal skills classes. Find out more at peggyporschen.com