Tag Archives: afternoon tea

Rather Yummy Carrot and Walnut Cake

Delicious, moist cake with the lovely, creamy filling and topping acting as the perfect foil for the dark, gently spiced sponge. Luscious (especially given that we doubled the amount of filling and topping!) Also, one of John’s favourites, hence this year it was his birthday cake! Happy days!

Serves 10 – 12

What you need…

2 x 20cm round sandwich tins, liberally buttered and lined with baking parchment

250ml sunflower oil

4 happy eggs

225g dark muscovado sugar

200g carrots, grated

300g self-raising flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon mixed spice

1 teaspoon ground ginger

75g walnuts, chopped, plus 8 halves to decorate

for the filling and topping

100g butter, softened

50g icing sugar

500g full-fat cream cheese

A few drops of vanilla extract

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 180˚c / 350˚f / gas 4.

Tip the oil, eggs and sugar into a large mixing bowl and use a handheld electric whisk to beat until the mixture is well combined, lighter and noticeably thickened. Rinse off your whisks – you’ll need them again in a little while. Use a balloon whisk to gently fold in the carrot; then stir in the flour, baking powder, mixed spice, ginger and chopped walnuts until evenly blended.

Spoon the mixture evenly between the sandwich tins and pop the cakes into the oven to bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden brown, risen, and shrinking away from the sides of the tins. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, put the butter, icing sugar, cream cheese and vanilla extract into a bowl and use your electric whisk again to beat together until smooth and thoroughly blended.

Spread half the icing on one cake, sit the other cake on top and spread the remaining icing on top, making a swirly pattern for appearances’ sake. Decorate the top of the cake with the halved walnuts. That’s it! Dead easy and rather lovely for an afternoon tea or indeed any other time!

Inspired by…

Mary Berry

How easy…

Very, very easy. A great one to quickly knock up!

 

 

Clotted Cream Scones

Why do we not make scones? They’re so damned easy and if indulged in the day (if not the hour after) they are baked, are absolutely delicious! I followed James Martin’s recipe this time, which includes clotted cream as part of the mixture, not just on the serving plate and they were gorgeous (although John says I made them too thin, so that’s work in progress, I guess – the following recipe includes instructions for 2cm thick dough which I didn’t follow, so I guess he’s right). Anyway, give them a go – you won’t be disappointed – they make the perfect English afternoon tea treat!

Makes 8 good sized scones

What you need…

1 x baking sheet, lightly buttered

1 x 7cm cookie cutter

1 happy egg

50ml milk

50g clotted cream

225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

2½ teaspoons baking powder

A pinch of salt

40g unsalted butter, chunked

75g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

1 happy egg yolk, lightly beaten for glazing

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 200°c / 400°f / gas 6.

In a small bowl, mix together the whole egg, milk and clotted cream. Set aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl, then add the butter and rub into the flour, creating a fine breadcrumb consistency. Stir in the caster sugar and then the egg, milk, cream mixture, creating a smooth dough.

On a lightly floured work surface, gently roll out the dough until it’s about 2cm thick (not 1cm like I did the first time). Use your cookie cutter to cut out 8 scones and pop them on your baking sheet. Don’t throw away the left over dough – just put that on the baking sheet too – they make for great chef’s treats or just weirdly shaped scones! Brush the scones and the leftover dough blobs with the beaten egg yolk. Sprinkle with caster sugar and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Allow to cool slightly and then serve buttered and slathered in lovely strawberry or raspberry jam and clotted cream. What could be more of an English afternoon tea treat?!

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Tips…

Don’t be tempted to use your food processor to make the dough – making it by hand takes no time and is definitely part of the enjoyment experience. James also reckons that it makes for a better scone!

Make them the day you want to eat them – enjoy them as fresh as possible – barely cool from the oven is best!

Inspired by…

James Martin

How easy…

Very easy – I was surprised how easy!

Scones with Strawberry Compote

I studied photography at a fabulous old mansion house called Woodley Hill House. It was run by a great team, who we all got to know really well and who helped us through the trials and tribulations of women in their 40s training in a new skill and getting overly emotional over exams. Anyway, each morning session was punctuated with tea break, for which we would all troop over from our classroom to the main house. The kitchen, in those days, was run by a lovely lady who had an absolute gift for making wonderful scones. I swore then that I would try to emulate them. This vow, coupled with the knowledge that John was legendary for making scones in his early teens, was put keenly into focus when I watched James Martin on Saturday Kitchen whip up these scones and ‘cheats jam’ in no time at all. So, this is my take on those. I can’t remember if they are as good as the college ones – probably not – they were to die for – and we’ll never know how they compare to John’s youthful offerings, but they’re pretty damned good and a cinch to make!

Makes 12 little ones (I figured they wouldn’t be so bad for the waistline if they were little!)

What you need…

5cm diametre cookie cutter

Baking sheet, lightly buttered

225g self-raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch salt

25g caster sugar

50g unsalted butter, cut into cubes

150ml whole milk

for the strawberry compote

250g strawberries, hulled and halved

100g jam sugar

60ml water

1 heaped teaspoon arrowroot

What to do…

For the strawberry compote, pop the strawberries, sugar and water in a small saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and, using a small balloon whisk, mix in the arrowroot. Set aside to cool.

To make your scones, use a roomy bowl to sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the sugar. Add the butter and using your fingertips, quickly rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add the milk, a little at a time, working to form a smooth dough. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 220°c / 425°f / gas 7.

Lightly flour your work surface (I cover my surface with cling film and then flour it – this means less cleaning up at the end as I just roll up the cling film complete with all the left over pastry bits and chuck the lot in the bin – job done!)

Roll out the dough until about 2cm thick. Using your cookie cutter, cut 12 scones out of the dough – avoid twisting the cutter to loosen the dough as this could result in uneven rising – just tap the dough out instead.

Place your scones on the baking tray and dust with flour.

Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until just starting to brown.

To serve your scones with strawberry compote, split the scones, lather with clotted cream and then dribble over the compote – delish!!!

Inspired by…

James Martin

How easy…

Very easy – I was most surprised!

 

 

 

 

 

Delicious Lemon Drizzle Cake

I just love this cake! For two reasons: firstly it is spectacularly easy to make and secondly, because it is truly scrumptious! Not naturally a spontaneous baker, I have even taken to quickly whipping up this cake on a whim just when we fancy a little slice of something yummy with our afternoon cuppa (him: tea, me: double espresso). Try it once and it will be on your favourites list.

Serves 8

What you need…

900g/2lb loaf tin, greased and parchment paper-lined

for the cake

3 large eggs

175g self-raising flour

175g caster sugar

175g butter, softened

1½ teaspoons baking powder

Zest of 1½ lemons, finely grated

for crunchy lemon icing

100g granulated sugar

Juice of 1½ lemons

What to do…

Preheat oven to 180c / 350 F / gas 4.

Chuck all the cake ingredients into a food processor and beat together thoroughly.

Tip into the loaf tin and bake in oven for 35 minutes or until golden brown and shrinking away from the sides of the tin slightly.

Pop tin on a cooling rack and leave from 10/15 minutes until the cake is warm rather than hot.

Prick over the top of the cake with a skewer.

Mix together the sugar and lemon juice and pour over the top of the cake whilst it is still in its tin. It will look like there’s loads too much topping – keep the faith and pour the lot in. Walk away.

Come back 10/15 minutes later and the lemon drizzle topping will have largely disappeared – it’s gone into the cake (with the help of your skewering) to ensure that it is wonderfully moist.

When it’s cool rather than cold, loosen the sides away from the tin and lift out, using the paper. Dispense with the parchment paper and serve your delicious lemon drizzle cake – lovely fat slices! At this point, it is beyond delicious – light, reminiscent of being warm with a gentle but gorgeous citrusy tang that simply says, “eat more”. Wonderful!

Inspired by…

Mary Berry

How easy…

Spectacularly!