Tag Archives: baking

2 weeks in and just drawing breath…

Wow, well, where to start?…it’s been 2 whole weeks since we opened the doors of Afternoon Tease! It’s passed like a whirlwind and I’d like to start by thanking each and every one of you who have supported me by coming in and for the lovely messages that you have sent…all have been very much appreciated and me and the team have been feeling the love!

It feels strange to actually have the time to sit still and write this blog and to be honest, I’m sure there are cakes to be baked at this precise moment but I really wanted to take the time to give you an update on the blog…I posted the last one abruptly on the day before we opened and then went silent!

For those of you who haven’t managed to make it in for a visit yet, here are a few pictures to fill in the blanks…


My beautiful neon sign…I got my logo, designed by Mr Penfold, transformed into Neon by Outline Displays.

Opening day...

I took this photo just before opening the doors for the very first time on Friday 25th October 🙂

We fired up Francesco (our beloved coffee machine) and awaited out 1st customers.

We fired up Francesco (our beloved coffee machine) and awaited out 1st customers.

Those first couple of days were so crazy…adrenalin mixed with nerves and total sleep deprivation made for a real emotional rollercoaster and it took a while for the realisation to hit that the cafe I was working in was actually mine! 🙂 The learning curve has been a ridiculously steep one and I’m very much in need of some good sleep and a day off feels like the stuff of fairytales but gradually over the last couple of weeks me and the team have been getting into our stride.

We are open from 8am until 7pm, Tuesday to Friday, serving breakfast…


Featuring crumpets from Chris at Dovecote Bakery and my Mums homemade jam and marmalade…


and a lunch menu, which changes regularly. Here is an example modelled by Miss Igs herself…


I’ve been getting the menu board written and posted on Facebook and Twitter by mid morning…


So follow us to be kept updated and come and get your lunch fix from 12pm 🙂


We are also open on Saturday’s from 9am-5pm and Sunday 10am-4pm serving brunch on both days until 3pm. As many of you will know, as I’m always banging on about it, brunch is my favourite meal of the day. This was the menu we served up this weekend…


Featuring my very favourite dish of pan con tomate with Serrano ham…

Pan con tomate w/ Serrano ham

The very talented Tom Milton, came and took a few pics at the cafe in the first week, capturing it in all of it’s brand new spangly glory…here are a couple of my faves…

Tom Milton Photography (TMPY)

Tom Milton Photography (TMPY)

Tom Milton Photography (TMPY)

Tom Milton Photography (TMPY)

Tom Milton Photography (TMPY)

Tom Milton Photography (TMPY)

I’ve been loving having free reign over 2 ovens and have been trying out some brand new cakes…

Pear and marzipan cake

Pear and marzipan cake

Plum cake w/ cheesecake ripple

Plum cake w/ cheesecake ripple

aswell as the good old classics including my chocolate Guinness cake w/cream cheese icing and creating the cake filled counter of my dreams…


I have a few very special mentions to finish this post on…firstly, a huge heartfelt thankyou goes to my my Mum & Dad, without whom, Afternoon Tease would not exist! I am ridiculously in debt to them for all of the hard work, help, love and support they have given me throughout!…


My siblings were also roped in and pulled out all the stops to get the cafe finished…

My Sister building the counter

My Sister building the counter

Beautiful tiling by my brother, Tom

Beautiful tiling by my brother, Tom

and also a big thankyou to Ivana (Miss Igs), my 2nd in command, friend and general sounding board :)…

Miss Igs

and to my awesome team…Robbie, Ashley, Charley and Martha!

Over and out for now but I look forward to seeing some more of you in the cafe in the coming weeks!


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Magical wedding macaron…

My good friends Georgie & Ollie got married at the weekend in a totally magical location on the coast of Devon. I, along with some of their talented baker friends were tasked with making and bringing some treats to share after the wedding meal. Georgie, being the organised lady that she is, had sent us mood boards of her ideal wedding cake spread and after seeing multiple photos of brightly coloured macarons, I well and truly took the hint! 🙂 I didn’t tell her what I was making and her reaction when she caught sight of the macaron on the table made all of the hard work worth it! Such a beautiful, magical wedding weekend that I didn’t want to end….here are a few photos…


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The return of Sweeteasy and a boozy rum soaked fruitcake recipe…

Recently, I hosted my third Sweeteasy…I really love plotting and planning my menus and even though actually making the 3 cocktail inspired cakes and the 3 cake inspired cocktails for 30 people is pretty hard work it’s the kind of hard work I love and when the evening finally rolls around, I get my glad rags on and I begin welcoming my guests it is so worth it!

Here’s the menu that awaited my guests…

Sweeteasy #3 menu

To make the gooseberry and elderflower fool martini I used gooseberries from my parents garden and locally foraged elderflower to make a puree, to which I added gin and some sugar syrup to take the edge off.

From this…

Gooseberry and elderflower

To this…

Gooseberry and elderflower fool martini

These were followed closely by my ‘bramble’ friands, a light almond sponge made with egg whites and blackberries topped with a blackberry and gin glaze…

@daisyduked photo - Bramble friands with blackberry and gin glaze

Next up was a honey bourbon milk punch made with, as you may surmise, Jim Beam honey bourbon, milk, cream, vanilla, sugar and a grating of nutmeg…

@daisyduked photo - Honey bourbon milk punch

Served alongside a very special experiment…stout brownies! But these weren’t made using just any old stout, I used Moonshine Brewery‘s ‘Hot Numbers Stout’ the result of a very exciting collaboration made with coffee roasted in the Hot Numbers Roastery

Stout brownie

At this point, I mixed things up a bit and went off piste on the menu order, serving up the limoncello tiramisu. I made a big batch of homemade limoncello and used some to make a zabaglione, which I stirred into thick, creamy mascarpone along with beaten egg whites to make it floaty light! This was accompanied by homemade ladyfinger biscuits…

@lazygiraffe photo - limoncello tiramisu

and a miniature bottle of chilled limoncello…

Limoncello tiramisu with homemade ladyfinger biscuits and limoncello

Last but not least, guests were served my fruitcake infused rum daquiri…

@suziemakes rum daquiri photo

I made it by pouring Havana Club Anejo 3 Anos rum over a mixture of sultanas, raisins, almonds, sliced orange, a vanilla pod and a couple of cinnamon sticks and leaving it to infuse for a few days…simple but oh so effective…



Once the rum was strained and ready, I used it to make a traditional daquiri by adding fresh lemon juice and a dash of sugar syrup. I had a good chinwag with my guests as the evening came to a close and the fruitcake rum daquiri came out on top as the favourite cocktail of the night although the gooseberry and elderflower fool martini was a close contender and some people just couldn’t decide, which I saw as a good sign! 🙂

If you’re interested in hearing about Sweeteasy and my other events you can sign up to receive Afternoon Tease news here. I’d like to thank my guests Deepa (@lazygiraffe), Daisy (@daisyduked) and Suzie (@suziemakes) for allowing me to use their lovely photographs of the evening. You can also read Deepa’s take on Sweeteasy here.

But hang on, I’m not finished yet…

after straining the rum for the daquiri I was left with an awful lot of juicy rum laden fruit. I really didn’t want to see it go to waste and for a while had been thinking that I needed a good fruitcake in my repertoire, so I got researching and flicking through my old cookbooks and decided to use Mary Berry’s boiled fruitcake as a base…if I’m honest the fact that it was called a ‘Quick boiled fruitcake’ and only needed to be cooked for under 2 hours as opposed to 4 and also the fact that it contained condensed milk…one of my favourite sweet-toothed ingredients swung it for me!

It was a very moist and light (in colour) cake and with so much of my 3 day rum soaked fruit in, it really packed a punch!

Rum soaked boiled fruitcake

To make it you need…

397 g tin condensed milk

150 g butter

800 g of dried fruit (Mary suggests 225g raisins, 225g sultanas, 175g currants and 175g chopped glace cherries, however feel free to mix it up and be adventurous with your selection of dried fruit. My addition of figs gave a lovely texture to the cake. Soaking the fruit in booze is optional but I highly recommend it!)

225 g self raising flour

2 tsp ground mixed spice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 130 degrees (150 if not a fan oven) and grease and line a deep 8 inch cake tin.

Simply put the fruit, condensed milk and butter in a large saucepan…

Rum soaked fruit ready to boil

and place over a low heat until the butter has melted. Make sure you stir it well and don’t let it stick to the bottom. Simmer it gently for 5 minutes and then take it off the heat to cool for 10 minutes, stirring it every now and again…

Rum soaked fruit boiled and ready for action

Put the flour and spices into a large bowl, make a well in the centre and add the eggs along with the cooled gloopy fruit mixture and stir together until well combined but try not to overmix it. Pour it into the prepared tin and level the top…

Rum soaked fruit cake ready to go in the oven...

Now pop it in the oven for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. It’s ready when it’s light golden brown on top and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. If you’re not quite happy that it’s ready, just put it back in for 5 minutes at a time and repeat the skewer test until you’re satisfied that it’s cooked to perfection :).

Rum soaked fruit cake fresh out of the oven...

Leave it to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning it out to cool completely on a wire rack.

The chunkiness of my fruit made it a joy to eat but made it a little tricky to slice neatly…

The first slice...

I’ve never been a huge fruit cake fan, but this one has converted me. It also keeps beautifully, so if you haven’t wolfed it down in a couple of days, not to worry…just keep it in a well sealed container and it’ll be fine for a week (or so).



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Yoghurt, lime and pistachio cake with rosewater and lime drizzle…

My love of festivals (of the music variety) has been well documented on this blog as has my tradition of festival baking (here, here and here). I managed to get the first of this year’s festivals under my belt pretty early on when I headed to Meadowlands in East Sussex at the end of May. It wasn’t just the festival we were going for, it was also my friend Georgie’s ‘Hen Don’t’. As you may have surmised from the name, she’d stressed to her Bridesmaids that she didn’t want a traditional hen do, which was totally fine with me. The thought of having to walk around in sparkly feather boas and sashes (and the rest…) fills me with dread. It kind of goes against my festival morals but we had decided to ‘glamp’, which involved turning up at the car park, having our bags carried for us, being housed in a lovely bell tent with jute flooring and sleeping on an air bed clad in lovely soft duvets and bedding…but I’m not going to lie to you…it was amazing!

IMG_5961[1] IMG_5963[1]

I’m getting a bit waylaid here…back to cake!

A few of us were asked to bring some baked goods with us so that we could have a little afternoon tea on Saturday afternoon. I’d had a bit of a busy week in the run up to the festival but I try to grab every opportunity I can to test some of the recipes that I find in cook books, rip out of magazines, find online and take photos of. I’m continually hoarding these recipe snippets in a ‘must try’ pile, and here was my chance to give a couple a go. I went for a yoghurt, lime and pistachio cake with rosewater and lime drizzle (if you’ve had enough of my wittering you can just scroll to the bottom of the post for the recipe)…

Yoghurt, lime and pistachio cake 2

and a white chocolate, almond and blueberry blondie…

White chocolate, almond and blueberry blondie

Please forgive me for the rubbish standard of the photos…I’m using the excuse that all I had to cut the cakes with was a blunt butter knife and…I was in the middle of a field! 🙂

Along with some delicious Malteaser fridge cake and squidgy brownies we had a pretty good spread…

Festival afternoon tea

Festival afternoon tea

It went some way to lining our stomachs and powering our dancing later on that evening!

After getting home and recovering from the weekend of festival excess it wasn’t long before I made the yoghurt, lime and pistachio cake again. This time I managed to take a much better photo…

Yoghurt, lime & pistachio cake

It’s a pretty unassuming looking cake but the fragrant flavours all work really well together and the drizzle, together with the inclusion of ground almonds makes it exceptionally moist. It benefits from being wrapped up and kept in the fridge for a day or two, which is handy if you need to make it in advance as long as you can refrain from pilfering a slice in the middle of the night Nigella stylee!

A slice

I found the recipe in Rachel Allen’s ‘Bake‘ book and made a couple of tweaks.

To make it you’ll need…

225g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 pinch salt

75g ground almonds

100g caster sugar

2 eggs

1 generous tbsp or 50g runny honey

250ml natural yogurt

150ml sunflower oil

Grated zest of 1 lime

100g pistachios, roughly chopped

For the syrup

150ml water

100g caster sugar

Juice of 1 lime

1-2 tsp rose water (this depends on your taste and the strength of your rosewater. I use Star Kay White Rose Extract, which you can find in Lakeland. It really packs a punch and you’ll only need a small amount i.e. 1-2tsp. Whereas this Natural Essence of Rosewater from The English Provender is a lot weaker so you may want to add more.)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and grease and line a 20cm cake tin with greaseproof paper.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and stir in the ground almonds and caster sugar.

Mix the eggs, honey, yogurt, sunflower oil and lime zest together in another bowl.

Make a well in the middle of your dry ingredients and slowly pour in the wet ingredients. Use a whisk to bring them together until they’re just combined. Finally stir in the chopped pistachios before pouring the mixture into the tin you prepared earlier.

Pop it in the oven for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

You need to leave the cake to cool in the tin for about 20 minutes, which gives you plenty of time to make your lime and rosewater syrup for drizzling.

Simply boil the water and sugar in a small saucepan for about 5 minutes until it has reduced by half. Then add the lime juice and leave to boil for another 2 minutes. Take it off the heat and leave it to cool before adding your rosewater. Take heed of my notes above regarding the strength of your rosewater…add a little, then have a slurp, if you want it stronger then add a little more to suit your own taste. If you’re too heavy handed with the rosewater at this stage your cake might end up tasting like a bar of soap…be warned!

Use a skewer to make holes all over the top of the warm cake. Spoon over the syrup making sure every bit of it sees some of the syrupy action.

I finished the cake off by scattering a few more pistachios on top and dusting it with icing sugar just before serving.

We ate it on its own but I think it’d be delicious with a dollop of natural yoghurt or creme fraiche on the side (festival optional).


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Rhubarb and custard cake…

Rhubarb season has been very fruitful for me this year (apologies for such early pun usage). I’m lucky enough to know a lot of people who have been growing their own and I even discovered a little crop of my very own in the garden! I often make a delicious sticky rhubarb and ginger cake, which is a complete winner but I stumbled across this recipe on the BBC Good Food website for a rhubarb and custard cake and couldn’t resist having a go, with a couple of Afternoon Tease twists. Now is no time for modesty, I am happy to report that it turned out to be the most delicious cake, and fickle as I am, has overtaken all others as my current favourite! Behold my rhubarb and custard cake made with locally grown rhubarb and homemade custard…

Rhubarb and custard cake

Now, I can tell, you’re going to scroll down, see the length of the recipe and decide it’s far too much hard work, panic not! There are basically 3 main sections to prepare…rhubarb, custard and cake but they are all pretty simple and I guarantee you, it’s totally worth it. Although this may not be the quickest bake, it’s a great cake for a lazy afternoon’s baking! So without further ado…

For the rhubarb you need…

400g rhubarb

50g caster sugar

For the custard you need…

1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract

275ml double cream

3 egg yolks

1 tsp cornflour

25g caster sugar

For the cake you need…

250g butter, softened,

150g custard (either use my recipe for homemade custard or if you’d rather, you can use a shop bought variety such as Ambrosia)

250g self-raising flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

250g caster sugar

icing sugar , for dusting

So, to start, you need to prepare the rhubarb element of the cake by heating the oven to 180 degrees (fan). Rinse the rhubarb and cut it into finger sized pieces. Lay them in a shallow oven proof dish. It needs to be big enough for the rhubarb to lie out in one single layer or you will have an issue with some pieces cooking faster than others (mine was a little small in hindsight, I learnt the hard way). Sprinkle over the 50g caster sugar and shake the dish until all of the rhubarb is coated…

Rhubarb ready for roasting

Cover with foil and pop in the oven to roast. After 15 minutes remove the dish from the oven, have a peek and a little shake and pop it back in for another 5 minutes. You’re aiming for the rhubarb to be tender (but not a mushy pulp) and the juices to be syrupy. If it’s not quite there yet, just put it back in the oven and check every 5 minutes until you’re happy that the rhubarb is cooked. Then set it aside to cool.

For the custard…

You can use shop bought custard (Ambrosia for example) but I swear by Delia’s custard, which Miss Igs and I christened ‘crack custard’ due to its addictive qualities, after making it for one of our Plate Lickers Supper Clubs 🙂

Photograph by @photolotte for Cambridge Edition

Photograph by @photolotte for Cambridge Edition

If you are splashing out and using a vanilla pod, start by splitting it lengthways down the middle and scraping out the seeds. Then place the pod and the seeds (or vanilla extract) in a small saucepan, with the cream. Heat gently until it’s just below simmering point.

Whilst the cream is heating, you can whisk the egg yolks, cornflour and sugar together in a bowl.

Once your cream is ready, remove the vanilla pod (if using) and gradually add the cream to your egg yolk mixture in a steady stream, whisking constantly. When all of the cream has been added and it’s well mixed, pour the whole lot back into the saucepan and return to the hob over a gentle heat. You need to stir it constantly to make sure none of it gets stuck to the bottom of the pan. You can use a rubber spatula or a whisk at this stage. It will start to thicken gradually, if it begins to look a little lumpy, don’t panic! just get whisking and it will soon become thick and smooth. Delia also advises…

‘If you do overheat it and it looks grainy, don’t worry, just transfer it to a jug or bowl and continue to whisk until it becomes smooth again.’

When you’re happy with the consistency of your custard (it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon without running straight off), pour it into a bowl and cover the surface with clingfilm so that it doesn’t form a skin. Now try not to eat too much of it before leaving it to cool for later!

The good news is that this recipes makes nearly double the quantity of custard you need for the cake! So once you’ve measured out 150g of your custard…you can do whatever you wish with the leftovers! I recommend grabbing a spoon and eating it straight from the bowl 🙂

Once the rhubarb and custard have cooled, you are ready for the cake making. This may all feel a bit long winded but bear with it…I promise that it’s worth every single second of prep!

So, for the cake…

Grease and line a 20cm (or 23cm) loose-bottomed or springform cake tin and heat the oven to 160 degrees (fan).

Save 3 tbsp of the 150g custard in a separate bowl for later. Put the rest of the custard in a large bowl with the butter, flour, baking powder, eggs, vanilla and sugar and beat until creamy and smooth.

Now for the assembly. Spoon 1/3 of the cake mix into the tin, add 1/3 of the rhubarb, then dot with another 1/3 of the cake mix and spread it out as well as you can. Top with another 1/3 of the rhubarb, then spoon over the remaining cake mix, don’t worry about being too neat about it. Scatter the rest of the rhubarb over the batter, then drip the reserved custard on top…

Rhubarb and custard cake ready for the oven

The original recipe said to bake it for 40 mins until risen and golden, then to cover the tin with foil and bake it for 15-20 mins more. Mine took quite a bit longer than this and after testing it by inserting a skewer into the middle (when it’s ready the skewer will come out clean) I actually cooked it for a further 30 minutes (so 1hour 30mins in total). After the intial hour of cooking, you need to use your judgement…just remember, if the skewer doesn’t come out clean, it isn’t ready, so just pop it back in for  5 minutes or so at a time and then check again. Bear in mind that the cooking time also varies depending on the size of the tin you use…a 20cm tin will need slightly longer than a 23cm tin. However, you can be safe in the knowledge that when it is ready it’s going to look and smell fantastic…


Leave the cake to cool in the tin and when completely cool, sprinkle liberally with icing sugar and serve…

Rhubarb and custard cake


If you can resist polishing it off straight away, this cake keeps well for a couple of days and would be delicious served with leftover custard (if you have any).

Rhubarb and custard cake

A slice of rhubarb and custard cake


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Tea tasting with Kandula and a recipe for leek and smoked Camembert filo tarts…

After a strenuously indulgent weekend as part of my annual family ‘Easter Eat Fest’, I thought it was the perfect time to finish off a well overdue blog post about an event I did as part of the EAT Cambridge festival at the beginning of March. I was invited by Liz from local boutique B&B, Duke House and local tea company, Kandula to come up with an afternoon tea menu to complement 5 teas from their range for a tasting event for a lucky few guests at Duke House. It was a great chance for me to experiment with new dishes and cakes and to (hopefully) come up with the perfect match for the teas that had been chosen. I spoke at length with the Gail and Jane from Kandula, and they advised me of the flavours that would bring the best out in their teas. The final menu looked like this…

Kandula Tea and Afternoon Tease Menu

With the Ebony Ceylon I matched homemade wholemeal and white soda bread scones topped with delicate cream cheese and cucumber and smoked salmon, creme fraiche and dill. It’s a delicate tea that needed a delicate but savoury food to set it off perfectly…

Homemade soda bread scones

The guests really got into the event and spent time (in between mouthfuls) discussing how successful they felt each food and tea combination was…

Tea tasting guests

Next up we matched the English Breakfast with a new invention of mine…leek and smoked Camembert filo tarts. I was told that the English Breakfast tea was robust enough for a more strongly flavoured savoury dish and had recently been introduced to the existence of smoked Camembert so decided this was the perfect chance to put it into action. The combination of a light filo tart, leek, a creamy filling and melted, lightly smoked Camembert was an absolute winner! (see below for the recipe)…

Leek and smoked Camembert filo tarts

Kandula English Breakfast Tea

Kandula’s signature tea is their Pink Ceylon, a unique green tea with a beautiful pink colour, which won a gold star in the Great taste Awards 2011. It’s a wondefully delicate tea, perfect with Portuguese style custard tarts…

Portuguese style custard tarts

Custard tart matched with Kandula's Pink Ceylon

The next tea, was definitely my favourite, the Earl Grey, which is complemented by anything fruity or citrussy. I had opted for my lemon drizzle cakes topped with lemon curd cream and blueberries…

Lemon drizzle cupcakes with lemon curd cream and blueberries

Lemon drizzle cupcake with lemon curd cream and blueberries

and finally we matched the spicy Ebony Chai with my ginger chocolate shortbread topped with dark chocolate ganache and cristallized ginger…

Ginger and chocolate shortbread with dark chocolate ganache

It was a real treat for me to work on this event and in such a lovely location. I hope to do more in the future.

Now, without further ado, here’s the recipe for my delicious leek and smoked Camembert filo tarts…

You will need…

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 leeks, finely sliced (I always make sure I wash them well in a colander once sliced in case there is any dirt or grit trapped between the layers. Be sure to pat them dry with some kitchen towel though or your tarts will be soggy)

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves only

3 free range medium eggs

200ml double cream

100ml milk

1 packet ready made filo pastry

60g butter, melted

1 smoked Camembert* (you won’t need all of this but it’s so delicious I’m sure there are many other ways you can find to enjoy it! 🙂

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

This recipe will make 12 small tarts using a 12 hole muffin tin but it can also be used to make 1 large tart using a 20cm (8inch) pie tin.

To make the filling…

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the leeks over a medium heat for 10 minutes until soft (but not too brown). Then add the garlic and thyme and cook for a few more minutes before removing from the heat and setting aside for later.

Mix together the eggs, cream and milk in a jug and season with salt and pepper.

Now to prepare the filo cases for the filling…

Brush each hole of the muffin tin with a thin coating of melted butter.

Take the filo pastry out of it’s wrapping and cut it into squares large enough to fit into the hole of a muffin tin and come right up the sides. Once you have a stack of small squares of pastry, take 1, brush it with melted butter and lay another square on top of it at a 45 degree angle. Repeat this again with another sheet and another until you have 4 squares lying on top of each other but slightly offset to create a spiky edge. Gently take the stack of pastry and push it into a hole of the muffin tin, being careful to push it into the edges without  ripping it. Do this until you have filled all 12 holes.

Spoon some of the leek mixture into the bottom of each pastry case and then divide the liquid mixture between the tarts. Finally place a small square of smoked Camembert on top of each one and pop them in the oven for 25-30 minutes, keeping an eye on them to make sure the pastry doesn’t burn.

When they are done the pastry should be golden brown and the egg mixture set. Remove them from the oven. These can be enjoyed straight away or can be left to cool for a few minutes before removing them from the tin and leaving them to cool completely on a wire rack so they can be eaten cold…the perfect picnic food! I decided to warm mine through slightly just before serving.

*A quick note on smoked Camembert…if you’re Cambridge based, I know you can get smoked Camembert from River Farm Smokery, it’s also stocked in The Larder at Burwash Manor. If you are unable to find smoked, them normal Camembert would be delicious too or perhaps some Dolcelatte or Gorgonzola if you like a cheese that packs a punch!

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My Afternoon Tease Cake Mobile…

I’ve spent the last week recovering from the fun and excitement, not to mention hard work, that was EAT Cambridge, hence the delay in this blog post…I’m hoping the ‘better late than never’ rule applies!

I thought it was time to reveal the identity of the mystery cake wagon for those of you who didn’t manage to make it down for a visit or see one of the #caketracker tweets. I’d already revealed my route (blog post here) and had been busy building up to my pop up cake shop on the penultimate day of the festival with great excitement. At 5am on the Saturday morning whilst making dough and frying 60 doughnuts the nerves finally kicked in!

But bang on schedule, at 10.30am, in the pouring rain, my Dad arrived in the cake mobile, we loaded it up with tasty treats and a menu (of course)…

Afternoon Tease Menu by @HeidiSladen

and set off…

Cake Mobile Teaser

We parked up at my 1st stop, Riverside, and set up shop…

Cake wagon by Charlie McRiethoff

The Afternoon Tease Cake Mobile

For those of you more into cars than cakes…he’s a 1960 Buick Invicta, shipped over from the States and he makes the perfect cake wagon! don’t you think?

The cake mobile by @HeidiSladen

Despite the less than perfect weather conditions, the cake lovers of Cambridge arrived for their fix…

Queueing at the cake mobile by @HeidiSladen

The goodies on offer were (left to right) chocolate Guinness cake with cream cheese icing, paczki (Polish doughnuts with plum jam in the middle and a sugar glaze), peanut butter and white chocolate blondies, chocolate brownies and maple and pecan cake with maple syrup buttercream icing…

Cake shop all set & ready for action...

Afternoon Tease Pop Up Cake Shop

Bang on schedule we packed up shop and moved onto our 2nd location…the Gog Magog Hills Farm Shop. The weather had taken a turn for the worse but the lovely team at the Gogs let us pull up under the cover of their barn…

Afternoon Tease Pop Up Cake Shop

After another hour, and a quick pit stop for one of their gorgeous sausage rolls, we left the Gogs and headed to stop 3 in Hope Street Yard pulling up opposite Romsey Retro. By this time we’d had some practice and were pretty slick at setting up shop…
3rd stop...Hope Street Yard

The pictures don’t show it but the sun even came out for us just before we moved onto our final stop in Newnham at the start of the walk across the fields to Grantchester Meadows.

It was an absolutely fantastic day and I’d like to say a huge thankyou to everyone who braved the weather, came and said hello and bought cake…it was great to meet so many cake lovers!

Another massive thankyou goes to my parents…my Dad, AKA my chauffeur for the day, Buick owner and amazing cake shop assistant paid purely in cake 🙂

My amazing Dad.

And my Mum, who was called on for doughnut shaping and frying duty! It was a slightly fraught and emotional process but we nailed it together! 🙂

Also I’d like to thank the Gog Magog Hills Farm Shop team for letting me infiltrate their car park and Warren at Hope Street Yard for housing the cake mobile.

Finally, the biggest shout out goes to the coolest cake mobile in town…

Cake Wagon by Steak and Honour


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Ma Barnard’s lemon drizzle loaf…

Last year my great friends Nic & Will got married (blog here) and as is the wont of mothers all over the world, Nic’s Mum turned up at the venue laden with a plethora of goodies that she’d been baking and freezing for months in preparation. It was safe to say that no one would be going hungry and I that I would be one very happy camper with that much cake around! 🙂 One of these home baked treats was an amazing tangy lemon drizzle loaf. I just couldn’t get enough of it and think I even managed a slice for breakfast. She was kind enough to share the recipe with me and now, to me, it will forever be called Ma Barnard’s lemon drizzle loaf…

Ma Barnard's Lemon drizzle loaf

It appears that I’m a bit of a butter purist and was a bit unsure about using marg, but having tasted the cake myself I knew that it worked very well in this recipe. On doing a little butter vs margerine research on t’internet I discovered this statement from Delia, the baking goddess herself…

Fats Flavour-wise it is said you can’t beat butter in baking. And certainly for purists that’s probably true – I see one leading chain store proudly advertises ‘made with all butter’ on its wrappings! My own opinion is that margarine – now it has improved so much in flavour – is very good for baking, and with the advent of soft margarine and the all-in-one method of making sponges I actually hardly ever use butter for baking. Very occasionally I use lard. Fats should usually be at room temperature for cake-making. Allow 1 hour to soften butter, block margarine and lard. Soft or whipped margarine can be used straight from the fridge (although in practice I usually allow half an hour at room temperature), but it is vital that any margarine that is high in polyunsaturated fats is always used straight from the fridge.

So with Delia’s words to reassure you, just give it a try and see what you think. But now over to the other baking goddess and in the words of Heather Barnard herself…

It is extremely easy to make, the most difficult part being grating the lemon! When the recipe says ‘put in a cold oven’ it means it! A warm oven will spoil it.

To make Ma Barnard’s lemon drizzle loaf you will need…

170g (6oz) Self Raising Flour

114g (4oz) Soft margarine

170g (6oz) Castor sugar

2 Eggs

4 tbsp Milk

Grated zest of 1 lemon

Topping: 114g (4oz) Icing sugar. Mixed well with the juice of the lemon


Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Put the mixture into a 2 lb loaf tin and place in a COLD oven on middle shelf. (Heather uses a liner for the tin, as she says it looks better and it allows the lemon topping to soak in more. I didn’t have a loaf tin liner so I greased and lined my with greaseproof paper).

Switch the oven on at 190 degrees (10 degrees less for a fan oven) and cook for approx. 50 mins. Test the loaf by inserting a skewer into the middle, if it comes out clean, it’s ready.

When you’re happy that it’s cooked to perfection, remove it from the oven and prick the top all over with a skewer.

Pour the topping slowly all over the cake, making sure that it goes down all the cracks and holes, and leave in the tin until cold. This not only acts as the delicious gooey ‘drizzle’ element of the cake but also leaves a gorgeous crunchy layer on top!…

Ma Barnard's Lemon drizzle loaf

Heather also told me that you can vary the recipe by using an orange or limes, but lemon is a firm fave in her house. She suggests making two at a time as they keep for up to a week and will freeze well. The ones at the wedding had previously been frozen and were delicious! I have been making this cake a lot recently and it works like a dream every single time!

Thank you Heather (AKA Ma Barnard)!

Lemon drizzle loaf

Slice of lemon drizzle loaf


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Sod the New Year’s diet…

Christmas just wouldn’t feel like Christmas if I didn’t receive a cookery book of some description. This year my Mum bought me a little, unassuming looking recipe book called 101 cakes and bakes published by BBC Good Food. It’s chock full of really great sounding recipes, one of which I tried here back in September.

My sudden urge to get baking was also spurred on by the need to christen my new silicone 2lb loaf tin, a wonder of modern technology. Only those who have experienced the misery of an over browned loaf that doesn’t want to come out of the tin will understand my excitement ;).

I reviewed the contents of my fridge and settled on a yummy sounding pumpkin and ginger teabread, the recipe can also be found on the BBC Good Food website here. In the absence of a pumpkin I used butternut squash, which worked really well and adds moisture to the mix in the same way as carrot does in carrot cake.

Enough blethering here’s the recipe…

butternut squash and ginger teabread

175g butter, melted

140g clear honey

1 egg, beaten

250g raw peeled pumpkin or butternut squash, coarsely grated (approx 500g before peeling and seeding)

100g light muscovado sugar

350g self raising flour

1tbsp ground ginger

2tbsp demerara sugar

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees and butter and line a 2lb loaf tin or, if like me, you have a spanky silicone number you don’t need to do any preparation at all!

Mix the melted butter with the honey and the egg and add the squash.

Stir in the sugar (not the demerara), flour and ginger until all incorporated. Then pour into the tin and sprinkle over the demerara sugar.

Put in the oven for 50-60 minutes, until risen and golden brown…

I settled for 55 minutes and think I could have afforded to leave it for the extra 5 minutes. After removing from the oven, leave it in the tin for 5 minutes before turning it out to cool…

It’s delicious served warm from the oven, in thick slices…

and even better smothered in butter…sod the New Year’s diet and get stuck in!

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Autumnal baking…

I feel like I’ve neglected my blog a bit in the last week. The annoying thing is that I’ve actually been super busy cooking and trying out recipes but have either forgotten to take photo’s or have lacked time to blog my latest kitchen exploits. My main aim for last week was to test out some of the recipes that I plan to use for a catering job that I’m taking on in a couple of weeks time…canapes and fork buffet for 40 people at a Ruby Wedding Anniversary celebration. On Monday I made courgette, chicken and pistachio couscous with an orange and harissa dressing which I managed to snap (badly) before me and Marky devoured it (I hasten to add…it was very yummy)…

Later in the week I also made pear and gorgonzola wrapped in parma ham (along these lines), sweetcorn fritters with a cucumber, tomato and avocado salsa, an all in one roasted sausage, butternut squash, new potato and beetroot bake with a dill and caper dressing and a pasta dish with pesto, garlic chestnut mushrooms and wilted spinach stirred through…sometimes the simplest of dishes are the best. Thankfully everything went really well and as true testament to the fact, my friends who I’d called upon to be guinea pigs wolfed down every last morsel with no complaints. 

I’ve just spent the weekend with an old University friend and her gorgeous 4 month old daughter. She happened to have the November Sainsbury’s magazine lying around, I’m such a sucker for a good food magazine or cook book that I took it with me for bit of bedtime reading…I was amazed at just how many amazing recipes it had packed into it! So after a lazy brunch of bagels topped with sliced avocado, smoked salmon and creamy scrambled eggs *drool* I set off back up to North London with a recipe scribbled on a scrap of paper stuffed into my handbag. I made a quick pitstop at the supermarket and when I got home I set about making…

spiced parsnip and apricot loaf with maple frosting…

I’d never heard of a cake containing parsnip before but am a great lover of carrot cakes so thought it was definitely worth a try! Here’s the recipe…

150g plain flour

50g wholemeal spelt flour

1tsp baking powder

1tbsp ground cinnamon

1 slightly rounded tsp ground cloves (I omitted this)

1tsp ground ginger

10 cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed

4 eggs, lightly beaten

225g caster sugar

225ml groundnut oil

2 medium parsnips, peeled and grated (200g grated weight)

100g pecan halves, chopped

100g ready to eat dried apricots, chopped

For the maple frosting – 

75g soft unsalted butter

200g light cream cheese, chilled

100g greek yoghurt, chilled

1 1/2tbsp maple syrup

1tsp ground cinnamon

50g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a 9 x 20cm loaf tin.

Sift the flours (I used self raising wholemeal flour so I only added 3/4 tsp baking powder) and baking powder into the bowl of an electric mixer (or use a handheld mixer). Tip any bran left in the sieve into the bowl too. Add the spices, eggs, sugar and oil and beat together. Fold in the grated parsnips, pecans and apricots and pour into the tin.

Bake for 1 hour 15 – 1 hour 30 minutes until golden and risen. Leave it to cool in the tin.

For the frosting whisk together the butter and cream cheese. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together. Put in the fridge to chill until later when the cake is fully cooled. Turn it out of the tin and  slather the frosting over the top.

For some reason my frosting turned out to be far too runny. It tasted good but was more pouring than spreading consistency. The cake was lovely and moist, rather like a carrot cake but with a gorgeous sweetness provided by the parsnip and nuttiness from the pecans. The edges had kind of caramelised (and no that’s not just code for burnt) which added a really lovely texture and flavour. I still, for the life of me, can’t work out what went wrong with my frosting but the fact that it was runny wasn’t detrimental to the overall taste of the cake and I guess that’s what really matters. 

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