Happy Birthday To Me With A Coffee Cake Inspired by Eric Lanlard's Masterclass

I am bad with birthdays. My own. With other people's birthdays I am a star. I love organizing parties, baking cakes, cooking up dinners, planning surprises, buying gifts. You get the drift.

But when it comes to my own birthday, I am a miserable failure. I am mostly lost, not being able to decide how I should go about celebrating it. Heck, I cannot even deal with birthday wishes. I mumble indistinctly when wished and try to make light of it all. Don't get me wrong. When someone remembers to wish me on my birthday, I am thrilled to bits. But at the same time I do not know how to react. I so envy those people who know exactly how they want to spend their birthdays and go about getting it done. After a lot of brain searching I have realized that they take ownership of their birthdays and control it, to give themselves maximum pleasure. I, on the other hand, do nothing and end up being miserable. Well mostly. But when a girl hits my age, you can no longer run away from owning up stuff, be it your birthday or other issues.

So I have decided to make a public post wishing myself and baking something to mark the day. Its true that I am cringing a little, but I have promised myself positive action this birthday and I cannot quit even before I start.

It all started with Eric Lanlard's masterclass at his luxury cake boutique Cake Boy. I was thrilled to be invited because Nielsen Massey organised/sponsored it and without my knowning much about them I was already their fan. I think their vanilla products are the best that you can find in the UK markets and they are pretty affordable too.So far I had only used their vanilla extract and I just love the smell of their vanilla extract. And once you buy a bottle it goes on for quiet some time. All things considered I love their products and was telling my mother that the next time I visit India I would take her some bottles. And then I got this invite.

Photo Credit Nisha of Look Who's Cooking Too
 The class started with Master Patissier Eric Lanlard giving us an introduction about Nielsen Massey's vanilla products and the care and attention that goes into extracting the all natural vanilla flavours. Then Eric showed us how to bake a Fraisier cake using the vanilla extract and paste among other ingredients. Throughout the entire demonstration he kept chatting with us, giving us tips on baking, answering our questions and clearing our doubts and sharing some of his baking experiences with us. The cake, once it was done looked scrumptious and beautiful. Check it out yourself.

Eric Landlard made this beautiful Fraisier Cake right in front of us using Neilsen- Massey vanilla products among other ingredients.

Eric putting in the final touches to his cake!

Eric with the finished Fraisier cake!
In case you are wondering about the recipe you can find it here. The class ended for us with vanilla cupcakes, goody bags filled with baking and vanilla products and a challenge. The Neilsen-Massey guys asked us to bake something with the ingredients they had provided. Since the deadline was the end of September, I decided to wait till my birthday which is at the fag end and bake myself a cake. Challenge accepted, deadline set now all I had to do was actually decide on what to bake and of course bake it too. Of course I could try Eric's Fraisier cake, but since I have never eaten a Fraisier cake before I did not want to jump right in. I have to taste it at least once before attempting it. The search was on and I kept pondering over possibilities. Till I ate a slice of coffee cake at a cafe. I am one of those people who love the smell of coffee way more than its flavours. This coffee cake I ate smelled heavenly of coffee but was rather too sugary. While eating it I thought that if I made it I would make it way less sugary and that was when the idea hit me. of course I would bake a coffee cake for my birthday and submit it for the challenge.

For the cake, I followed my mother's basic sponge cake recipe with a few tweaks here and there.


2 cups self rising flour
1 and half cups of granulated sugar
3/4th cup vegetable oil
1 tea spoon of baking soda and baking powder each
1 pinch of salt
1 tea spoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of milk
2 table spoons of Starbuck's Bottled Frappuchino at room temperature
3 eggs (at room temperature or even slightly warm, you could keep it on the window sill if the sun is out)


Switch on your oven at 150 degree Celsius and in your mixer (if you have a cake mixer how I envy you!) start blending the oil and sugar one after another for about 5 to 7 mins. You can see the colour and consistency changing. A little patience is needed at this stage, but believe me you, it is absolutely worth it.

Then add the eggs one at the time, with the first egg add a table spoon of the flour. The flour stops the egg from curdling. Give it a blitz and move onto the next egg. Once all the eggs are added mix for 3 to 5 mins more. Add the vanilla extract, the coffee and the milk. Give it one more blitz. For now let the mixture be, once you stop the mixer, you will see air bubbles forming in the sugar mix. These bubble are the secret to a good, fluffy cake.

In a mixing bowl, sieve in the flour, the baking powder and soda and a pinch of salt. Slowly add the liquid mixture and fold in gently, moving in one direction.

Grease your cake tin, get your magic cake strips ready, if using any and pour the batter onto the pan. These cake strips stop the cake from doming in the middle and a flat top is a great help while spreading the icing. The cake takes usually 40 to 45 mins to bake. But each oven varies, so please keep checking. After 20 mins or so I place a big piece of foil over the cake tin. This stops the top from burning.

Once your cake has passed the toothpick test, bring it out of the oven and leave it to cool completely. Ideally the cake should be left more than a couple of hours before attempting to cut it in layers. If you cut into a warm cake it crumbles and that we do not want under any circumstances. This video has a good tutorial on how to how to cut a cake into layers.

The Coffee Filling/Icing  :

300 gm double cream
3 tea spoons of icing sugar
1/2 tea spoon of Neilsen-Massey pure vanilla paste
2 tea spoons of coffee

In a big glass bowl, start to stir the cream vigorously. You have to stir it for 5 to 8 minutes till the cream thickens. Add the sugar a little at the time during this process. Also add the coffee and the vanilla. Continous stirring will thicken the cream to the extent that even if you invert the bowl it will not fall off.

Once your cake has completely cooled down, cut it into two. Spread the filling, starting from the centre and leaving a little space on the edges, once you put the top layer back, the filling under pressure would automatically be pushed to the edge.

Spread the remaining filling on the top and the sides by using a spatula.

The Decoration :

10/12 whole walnuts
Shavings of milk/dark chocolate

Lightly roast the walnuts and let them cool down. In a saucepan make a caramel sauce with two tea spoons of sugar and 4 tea spoons of water. Once the mixture has thickened turn off the flame. Holding the roasted walnuts upside down lightly dip into the sugar syrup and leave them to cool down. Arrange the walnuts along the edge of the cake.

Finely chop about 25 gm of chocolate and spread over the icing. Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours for the icing to set.

The cake is ready and the party can now begin!

Thank you Cake Boy and Neilsen-Massey for the delightful bag of baking goodies. You made this cake possible!


  1. oh. my. God. this one is so amazing!!!

  2. ooh, lovely interpretation. I have an idea but I've asked for an extension to the challenge as I'm waiting for my kitchen to be fitted!

  3. It has come out beautifully Suchi... Birthday wishes once again ..

  4. Hi Suchi, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU and many happy return. *Hugs to you*

    Your cake is really delicious and delectable. Love the filling and the decoration is gorgeous. 2 thumbs up for you.

    Have a wonderful week ahead, regards.

  5. Delicious cake,Suchi..Belated birthday wishes!!

  6. Wish you a very Happy birthday... cake looks simply fantastic... hope you had a great time making and eating it :)

  7. Wish you a Very Very Happy Birthday, what a lovely delicious cake to celebrate it with :)
    I have seen Eric's serial on TV called Glamour Puds... quite nice but never tried any of his desserts. Must give it a try sometime :))
    Have a wonderful year ahead!!

  8. this cake is so sexy :) Happy Birthday dear:)

  9. I wish I was there to wish you in person and enjoy some of that yummy looking cake!! Why werent you cooking like this in bhogal???

    1. Cos I was busy living with two mad women :-) Jokes apart please plan a trip with Abhishek to London while we are still there and I will bake you a cake every day. That is a promise! :-)

  10. janmodiner anek shubhechha...cake ta sarun hoeche Suchismita.

  11. that is why I don't celebrate my birthday:)))
    the cake looks perfect
    Blog about life and travelling
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  12. Happy belated Birthday dear Suchi! May happy returns . Your cake looks lovely & so delicious with coffee frosting! I LOVE coffee & I would love to have this cake for my birthday too! BTW today is my birthday! Guess, both of us are Libra - Happy go lucky kinda of person! God bless you & Cheers ! :)

  13. it looks great suchi...i am def trying out your moms recipe for the cake..and that cake really really is tempting..anything with coffee in it, im sold.

    1. Do give it a try Nisha and let me know how it goes :-)

  14. Suchi ! I'm so ENVIOUS ! lol Is he gorgeous in person ?! :D I love Eric Lanlard and love his Baking Mad show ..... Anyway , HAPPY HAPPY ___??? BIRTHDAY !!!!!! :D Beautiful and delicious cake ...... Throw a slice or two over here ! :D

  15. Belated wishes dear. The cake looks decadent..

  16. beautiful post! Wonderful cakes and excellent photography. Happy birthday!

  17. Awesome cake. Happy Birthday to you . I just hopped over from Nupur's. Glad to meet you.

  18. hey suchi got to know you through Nupur the cake looks fantastic. and you have an admirable space

  19. The cake looks yummy !!!

  20. Happy Birthday!!!

  21. what a great way to celebrate birthday. Suchi I can totally relate with birthday and not knowing exactly how to react..although it feels good when other people remembers it.

    1. Yes it sure feels good when other people remember your birthday, doesn't it? :-)

  22. tht's a stunner of a cake gal and yup belated wishes !

  23. Aw, this was a really nice post. Spending some time and actual effort to produce
    a top notch article… but what can I say… I procrastinate
    a whole lot and don't manage to get nearly anything done.
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  24. Fantastic cake.Happy birthday boss.

  25. Looks lovely. Happy birthday.

  26. That is a stunning cake :) Well done! I wish I could grab a slice. Happy Belated Birthday my dear x x

  27. such a fantastic cake! happy belated birthday!

  28. Happy belated Birthday, Suchi!! That cake is a stunner :)

  29. Belated Happy Birthday Suchi and you made the most amazing cake for the occasion!!I love the coffee flavor and can see myself enjoying this cake for sure :)

  30. I have the same story to share regarding my own birthday.I start to plan and organize birthdays for my loved ones days ahead but when it comes to my own birthday I am confused.:)
    A great cake and nice presentation.Happy belated birthday.

    I have a blog and presently featuring Pujo Special Recipes to spice up your festival days.Please do visit.Thankyou.


    1. Thanks Sonali, I surely will do. Cheers, Suchi

  31. Only one word to sayy Delicioussssss!!!!!!!!

  32. Simply awesome! totally in love with the coffee cake. Belated happy birthday!

  33. belated bday wishes Suchi .. that's a mammoth scrumptious cake ..!

  34. Belated birthday to u ..and lucky u...I watch him on T.V sometime..cake looks scrumptious :)

  35. check out my space for the exciting event

  36. Belated birthday Geetings. Looks like that class was a lot of fun!

  37. I am glad you had a great evening at Cake-Boy for the vanilla masterclass and went home full of inspiration. Coffee and walnut cake is one of my favourite classics of all time … and I really like your twist!
    On this recipe, obviously the vanilla extract will have boost the flavours of the coffee but I like the ways you roasted and caramelised the walnut too giving them extra crunch and taste ….
    I am sure that cake went down very well et the recipe will be popular on your blog!
    Happy Baking

  38. Hi thanks for ur valuable comment on my place thank u so much sister...
    n belated happy birthday to u dear...

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