Last week me and my daughter got invited down to London to do some baking with Belvoir and Lisa Faulkner.
It was such a lovely and rememberable day out. We all went down on the train and my husband and son had a walk around London Pokemon hunting, then we all met up again afterwards to catch the train home.
We watched Lisa being filmed for a video whilst she made some delicious Madeleine hot air balloons
cakes. Then we got a chance to make our own. We also go some tasty lunch provided and learned all about how Belvoir made their yummy Elderflower cordial.
Lisa’s Madeleine Hot Air Balloons (pictures above).
Everything set up for us to bake with.
Lisa being filmed baking.
How to make the Madeleine Hot Air Balloons:
For the Madeleines:
- 70g melted unsalted butter (plus 20g extra melted for greasing)
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 medium eggs, beaten
- 125g plain flour + a little extra for dusting
- 1tsp baking powder
- 2tbsp Belvoir Elderflower & Rose Cordial
For the icing:
- 150g icing sugar
- 1 tbsp Belvoir Elderflower Cordial
- a squeeze of lemon juice
- food colouring
- cocktail sticks
- paper piping bags
- 12 flapjack squares for ‘the baskets’
1. Whisk the eggs and sugar until they are light and fluffy, (the whisk should leave a ribbon trail on the surface of the mixture when you lift it up). It needs to almost double in volume – which will take about 6 minutes in a stand mixer.
2. Lightly fold in all the other ingredients. Leave to stand for 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, brush the madeleine tray with melted butter, leave to set, then dust with a little flour, knocking out any excess.
4. Preheat the oven to 200c/Fan 180c/Gas Mark 6.
5. Gently spoon the madeleine batter into the moulds and bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden.
6. Allow to cook in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
7. Mix the icing sugar with the cordial and lemon juice until you have a smooth pipeable icing. Divide into 4 and make them different colours with food colouring. Spoon into small piping bags and cut off the tips so they pipe nice and thin.
8. Pipe the icing over the madeleines to create patterns.
9. Use a couple of cocktail sticks inserted into the base of each balloon and skewer into flapjack squares to make them into hot air balloons.
We had a bit of a baking problem!!
As it we were running out of time we had to make the ballons straight up. Also it was really warm so when we popped our sticks into the flapjacks they keep braking and falling. So catching the cakes wiped all the icing sugar off them.
As one fell one way, another fell another way. No worries though, we may not have won the fun competition but they still tasted great!!
Top tip for making these; Let the icing sugar set before you assemble them 🙂
Our cakes did not turn out as good as Lisa’s but as they say “Pratice makes perfect!!”
We are going to be making these cakes again soon, so watch this space.
We had a great day and it was lovely meeting the Belvoir team and Lisa Faulkner.
Did you know: Elderflower Pickers Urgently Needed:
Belvoir Fruit Farms has opened weighing stations across the North East as the Cordial maker seeks a bumper crop of elderflowers this season. They need over 60 tonnes – that’s 3.6 million flowerheads – to keep up with demand for their quintessentially English drinks and so the annual call for pickers from across Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Cambridgeshire to help harvest the frothy blossoms has been issued with some urgency.
Despite the national economic crisis over the last few years, together with new uncertainties raised by Brexit, family run business Belvoir has continued to flourish. Sales of its iconic Elderflower Cordial and its lightly sparkling Elderflower Pressé have increased by 10% in the last 12 months and are on track for similar growth over the next year, so a bountiful harvest really is essential.
Pev Manners, MD of Belvoir Fruit Farms says: “We have 90 acres of commercially grown elderflowers – we believe the only ones in the country – which are stripped bare of flowers by the end of the season. However, of those 90 we have replanted 10 acres over the last couple of years and they are still too young to be fully productive. The increase in demand for our drinks means that we need 60 tonnes of elderflowers (that’s 3.6 million flowerheads) compared to the 50 tonnes required in previous years, therefore we are particularly dependent on flowers plucked from plants growing wild in the hedgerows in areas around the Vale of Belvoir.”
Harvesting elderflowers is an easy thing to do – there’s no need for any specialist equipment, just a bin bag or basket to put the flowerheads in. Belvoir can only accept flowers at their freshest best so the flowerheads do need to have been picked that day and should not include any stalks.
From 24 May until the end of June there will be four weighing stations open Monday to Saturday, where Belvoir will be accepting flowers.
They are located at:
- Belvoir Fruit Farms, Barkestone Lane, Bottesford, Notts, NG13 0DH
- Sacrewell Farm & Country Centre, Thornhaugh, off A1/A47 junction at Wansford, PE8 6HJ
- Swarkestone Nursery, Lowes Lane, Swarkestone, Derbyshire, DE73 7GQ
- Thaymar Ice Cream, Haughton Park Farm, Nr Bothamsall, Retford, DN22 8DB
Belvoir will pay £2.10 per kilo picked and an experienced picker can harvest up to 45 kilos of elderflowers in one day. However, this year Belvoir are introducing an added incentive, as well as a bit of fun – the chance to be named Belvoir’s Biggest Bagger!
Each week of the harvest the person who collects the most elderflowers and has their booty weighed at Belvoir Fruit Farms only will receive a £100 reward so there’s, even more, reason to get picking!
Pev Manners concludes: “Helping with the elderflower harvest is a wonderful opportunity to take part in a delightful countryside tradition. We have been encouraging people to help with the harvest for over 30 years now and welcome back many of the same people year after year. We love to see them, but it’s always great to get new people getting involved. It’s such a massive job, we all get stuck in at Belvoir and this year we know that the actress Lisa Faulkner will be joining us for a day. It’s the public though, who make the real difference and without them we would be in trouble – so thank you and do please help us this year.”
To check details of the harvest, opening times for the different weighing stations and for terms and conditions for the Biggest Bagger incentive, visit Belvoir Fruit Farms/Elderflower or call 01476 870286.
About this post:
We got invited down to London to cook with Belvoir and Lisa Faulkner. All thoughts are my own and I was not paid for this post.