Last Thursday marked the 30th (on UK shelves) Birthday of popular Greek yogurt brand Total. Produced in Greece, Total Greek Yogurt has remained virtually unchanged since 1926. Not only did they launch a brand new TV ad to celebrate their heritage, they also held a fabulous party which I happened to be invited to! I took the afternoon off work to attend Total Greek’s exclusive master class with master Patisserie Eric Lanlard. After tasting Eric’s work at his cafe ‘Cake Boy’ (read our review here) I was desperate to know his secrets. Eleanor and I were greeted by the most wonderful array of colour and aroma when we arrived at the Ice Tank in Covent Garden. The venue had been transformed into a traditional Greek home with plenty of flowers and plants placed in empty yoghurt pots.
Eric explained how Total Greek Yoghurt can be easily used in baking as a healthy alternative to more fattening ingredients such as cream. He guided us through the steps involved in baking a cake using Total Greek Yoghurt with the outcome, a four layer work of art. The cake was a light vanilla sponge soaked in Greek spirit, Ouzo, with a generous filling/topping of fresh fruit and vanilla cream (combined with Greek yoghurt). At that point I turned to Eleanor and laughed at the thought of me (can’t bake, won’t bake) trying to replicate his work. Sure thing, we were provided with everything we needed to make our own.
As an expert in cake making, Eleanor steamed ahead and left me faffing about with my uneven cake layers and my piping bag, in which I had managed to get more filling down my front than in the bag. I also managed to get more cake in my mouth than in the tin (strange that!). We were a little short for time which didn’t help my panic but alas, in true ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’ style I finished my cake in the nick of time. It certainly looked the part although not as neat as Eleanor’s or Eric’s as I managed to smear the yoghurt mixture all over the fresh fruit but I’ve been told to never judge a book by its cover.
After the master class the evening guests started to arrive and the place soon filled up with like-minded foodies. Greek chef Tonia Buxton took centre stage to show us how to cook simple dishes such as fig and red onion pastry bites and rose petal ice cream. As you can see, Tonia certainly has a passion for Greek cooking and we were all able to taste her delights afterwards. After the demonstration we made our way to the bar for one of three delicious cocktails containing Total Greek Yoghurt. A traditional Greek band played live music throughout the night and after a couple of Ouzo cocktails people started the dance.
Being a school night, Eleanor and I decided to head home before the end but not before picking up our cake and a goody bag containing a whole host of Total Greek goodies. Total Greek 0% Strawberry is one of my favourites so I was happy to find that inside. I also enjoy mixing Total Greek 0% with pure honey and granola for breakfast but after hearing about the other uses of Total Greek Yoghurt I may try my hand at something new.
Thankfully my cake survived not one but two tube journeys and made it to the office to be enjoyed by others. My cake may not have been as good as Eric’s, or the giant birthday cake he baked for Total, which I was lucky enough to try, but I was very impressed with the taste of my cake and it gave me much delight to see others enjoy it also. My master class with Eric has certainly inspired me to bake, I just need to find some time now! Eleanor and I had a fantastic time at Total Greek’s birthday party which was incredibly well organised, informative and fun. Who would have thought Greek yoghurt could be used in so many ways! Click here for a step-by-step guide on how to make this truly scrumptious cake!
Living life, loving cake,