Tag Archives: cake

Christmas at Afternoon Tease (and our festive opening hours)…

Christmas has well and truly arrived at Afternoon Tease!

Our decorations are up…

We’ve made our Christmas cakes, which involved the biggest and heaviest bowl of cake mix I’ve ever encountered…

photo 5

Please excuse the messiness…it was quite an ordeal man handling that amount of cake mix into the tins 🙂 …

photo 4 (2)

We’re feeding them with a variety of liquors…two are fed on Sailor Jerry’s spiced rum, two on Brandy and two of them are teetotal and fed only on Earl grey tea.

We made our own marzipan, much to the delight of my Mother, who is a serious addict!

photo 4 (3)

and got down to decorating them…

photo 2 (2)

photo 3 (2)

photo 4

photo 1

photo (93)

This year we’ve even made our own mincemeat, which we’re using in these gorgeous little mincemeat Bakewell puddings…

photo 1 (2)

and my Mum has been sharing her Polish paper star making skills…

photo 1 (4)

photo 2 (3)

Although we love this time of year and all of the festive baking and goodwill it entails, the Afternoon Tease Team also need a little break to be with our families and to eat and drink ourselves silly!

So, below are our Christmas and New Year opening times for you to see when we’ll be here for you, as a little respite from your Christmas/sale shopping or a little haven of tranquility if you just need to get out of the house…come and say hi over the festive season!

Christmas / New Year opening times…

Monday 22 Dec- 8am – 6pm
Tuesday 23 Dec – 8am – 6pm
Wednesday 24 Dec – CLOSED
Thursday 25 Dec – CLOSED
Friday 26 Dec – CLOSED
Saturday 27 Dec – CLOSED
Sunday 28 Dec – 10am – 5pm

Monday 29 Dec –  9am – 5pm
Tuesday 30 Dec – 9am – 5pm
Wednesday 31 Dec – 9am – 5pm
Thursday 1 Jan – CLOSED
Friday 2 January – 9am – 5pm
Saturday 3 January – 9am – 5pm
Sunday 4 January – 10am – 5pm

Now, last but not least…if you’re looking for a gift idea for that coffee/cake fiend in your life…look no further! We do treat vouchers

photo 5 (2)

There are 2 options for you to choose from…

The drink and cake Treat Voucher at £5.50, perfect as a stocking filler or secret Santa!…it entitles the lucky recipient to a hot drink and slice of cake of their choice.

Or you can purchase a Treat Voucher to the value of £5, £10, £15 or £20, which can be used as currency in the cafe for anything the recipient desires 🙂

We aren’t able to give change for the Treat Vouchers but if you/the recipient would like to spend more than the value of the voucher, the balance can be paid in cash.

To buy treat vouchers just pop into the cafe and talk to one of the team!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

We are 1!

The reason for this blog post, as the title suggests, is a very important milestone in the life of Afternoon Tease…on Saturday 25th October we celebrated our 1st Birthday! When asked whether it felt like a year, I had to admit I wasn’t entirely sure. I definitely feel exhausted enough for it to have been a year and in a (good) way it actually feels longer, like we’ve become part of the King Street furniture :).

photo 3 (2)

On reflection (which has happened a lot recently), we’ve come such a long way in that year, especially when I think back to our opening day, where we bumbled around cluelessly behind a barely held together facade of professionalism. We’ve established a day to day routine and put a lot of processes in place to make sure that all of the jobs get done…cakes made, cleaning completed and most importantly…customers served, however every day is different and we are still always kept on our toes! A year has always sounded like an unfathomably long time & although I’d been celebrating every single month of the business since opening, I was somehow surprised when the year came around!

To celebrate our Birthday we decorated the cafe…

photo 2 (3)

and I made a ginormous, two tiered chocolate stout cake using Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast, an oatmeal stout brewed with coffee!

photo 1 (2)

I also added a few shots of our espresso (Caravan‘s Market Blend). It seemed a fitting cake for the celebration as the chocolate Guinness cake has to be our most popular cake and I wanted to make this one bigger and better than ever!…

photo 1 (6)

photo 1 (3)

Here’s the finished article…

photo 5

It didn’t take long for it to start disappearing…

photo 1 (5)

going…

photo 2 (5)

going…

photo 3 (3)

going…

photo 4 (3)

gone…

photo 5 (2)

Our Birthday turned out to be our busiest day on record, which felt amazing! Many of our regulars, who we have now also come to call friends, dropped in to wish us Happy Birthday and we received some amazing cards, some even homemade nonetheless…

photo 4 (4)

photo 3 (4)

photo 5 (3)

and a very special ode, written by wonderful customer and author, Menna Van Praag, which has now taken pride of place in our toilet (if you’ve seen how cool our toilet is you’ll know this is a good thing)…

Ode

A couple of particularly dedicated cake fiends, Kaylan & Dawn gave us a very touching gift, which finally brought the tear to my eye that I’d held at bay all day. They presented me with a sliver cake slice, which had belonged to Dawn’s Grandmother. They’d had it engraved with ‘Saturday is Cake Day’ a tradition that they withhold stringently every week 🙂

photo 2 (6)

Good friend and important member of the opening team, Ivana (Miss Igs), came back for a guest shift and was reunited with Francesco, our beautiful La Marzocco coffee machine…

photo 1 (4)

I’d decided that it’s be nice to have a little shindig at the cafe in the evening for some of the people (I couldn’t fit you all!) who had been important to our first year. I found it very hard to keep my invite list manageable but the ‘bijou’ proportions of the cafe helped me reign it in. Saying that, at one point it did feel like we were having some kind of competition to see just how many people we could get in…

photo 2

photo 3

Unfortunately for me (and everyone else) I was heckled into saying a few words. After a terrible fumbly start, where no actual words escaped my mouth, I managed to string a few together…firstly to thank my team. As a very independent and stubborn person, it’s a source of frustration to me that I physically can’t run the cafe on my own 🙂 …however, I’ve got (and have had throughout the year) an amazing team, who work so hard and make the Afternoon Tease experience what it is. I read a review recently that said that it was nice to find a place where the staff looked like they genuinely enjoyed being there…it made my day!

photo 1

The current dream team enjoying a pre-party tipple!

I also thanked my Electrician, Richard, who has had to respond to a few crazed early morning phone calls, my family who support me on a daily basis in so many ways and my friends who have stuck by me despite the fact that I’ve pretty much gone AWOL socially for the last year, have declined most invitations and haven’t made it out past 9pm…they’ve stuck by me and are still persevering 🙂

The biggest thanks has to go to my customers, without whom, Afternoon Tease just wouldn’t exist! I’ve met some amazing people in the last year and absolutely love the eclectic mix of people who pass though our door! One year is only a short period of time in the grand scale of things and I hope to be around for many more!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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…

Neon

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…

IMG_7633

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

afternoontease-14

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

IMG_7638

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

IMG_7636

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

IMG_7562

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…

IMG_7658

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…

IMG_7649

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!…

IMG_7521

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!

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Opening times for Friday 25th and weekend brunch at Afternoon Tease…

I can’t believe it’s only 2 days to go until we open Afternoon Tease!

We’re working like Trojans to make it happen! Today, I will be rolling up my sleeves and cleaning it from top to bottom, ready for a full day of unpacking tomorrow to turn it into a fully functioning (we hope) cafe for Friday morning!

Afternoon Tease - work in progress

On Friday we will be serving a reduced menu of drinks and cakes only from 8am until 7pm.

On Saturday we will be open 9am-5pm for brunch and again on Sunday 10am-4pm.

We will launch our full breakfast and lunch menus on Tuesday 29th October, when you can expect delicious sourdough toast, crumpets, porridge to help get the day off to a good start and a changing selection of sandwiches available for lunch and cake…of course!

I’m really excited to open the doors and greet our first customers but please bear with us to begin with until we get up to speed, we’re a brand new team, in a brand new cafe and although our service will definitely be with a smile, it may be a bit slower until we learn where everything is 🙂

8 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Skimming a ceiling…’just like icing a cake upside down’?

I thought it was about time for another Afternoon Tease progress update! I’m afraid we’re still at the messy construction stage so if you’re expecting pictures of something that resembles a cafe you’ll be sorely disappointed :).

IMG_7162

However uninspiring this shot may appear, I can confirm that there’s been a lot of work going on behind the scenes. The most exciting development for me has been the skimming of the nasty artexed ceiling!

Here’s a before shot of the artex in all of it’s textured glory (bleurgh)…

Ceiling before

and here it is once it had been tackled by my lovely plasterers! They didn’t look too amused when I commented that I thought skimming looked pretty easy…like icing a cake upside down! I was joking of course, there’s no way I could’ve got it that smooth!

IMG_7160

Ceiling after

Internal walls have gone up to make my new kitchen…

Internal walls go up

Internal wall to the kitchen

and the ducting is in for my extraction system (a tad boring perhaps but I said I’d keep you posted :))…

Ducting goes in

More ducting

But now for something a bit more interesting. The other weekend, I rolled up my sleeves, donned a mask and set about sanding a patch of floor so that I could do a trial of what I’ve got in mind for the cafe flooring.

Power tool madness

Masking it out

When I do the real thing, my lines will be straighter and my masking more acurate but all in all I was very happy with the end result!…

Floor trial complete

No project would be complete without a trip or 2 to IKEA. So, along with willing assistant (Miss Igs) I headed off to the big blue and yellow treasure trove! We were feeling quite adventurous with how much we thought we could buy and fit into my car so we loaded up 3 trolleys worth of goodies…

Huge Ikea shop

However, we realised that perhaps we’d been a tad over-optimistic as we neared my little Ford Fiesta in the car park…

Before

But, we are very determined young ladies and (bar the 2 chairs that I had to return but we won’t talk about them) we got it all in and even managed some pic n mix for the journey home!

After

Although I’m not personally at the cafe every day, I have a busy team who are and one morning this week as I was biking towards number 13 at 8am to let my plasterers in, I was really excited to see that (what will be) my outside seating area was bathed in lovely autumnal sunshine. All of the thoughts of paperwork, to do lists and worry flew out of my mind and were replaced by pure excitement! I can’t wait to see my customers sitting here, drinking a coffee and soaking up the rays…

IMG_7146

Not long now!

In the meantime, however, if you would like to get a slice of the action…come and say hello this Saturday (21st September) when I will be selling my cakey wares at the Castle Hill Open Day. I’ll be in the Kettle’s Yard courtyard from 11am-5pm and have got some treats in store for you including gooey chocolate brownies, caramelised fig friands, raspberry and white chocolate blondies, salted caramel millionaires shortbread and lemon drizzle cake. There will also be a selection of my cakes for sale in the Museum of Cambridge tearoom if you fancy taking the weight off your feet.

I hope to see you there!

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

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…

Rum

IMG_6278

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).

Teatime!

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

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).

Enjoy!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized