Tag: afternoon tea

Soft on the inside

Hullo chums. Just a little heads up that this is my last post for a couple of weeks as I’m heading off on holiday and didn’t quite have the organisational skill to do enough to tide you over until I’m back. Something my new design guru seanwes would not be impressed with.

But anyway. This is a real good’un I’m leaving you with, there’s not much point making any of the rest of the afternoon tea series after you’ve done these. Your guests won’t look back. Partly because they will be bouncing around the room on a sugar high.


You will need

For the cakes:

200g/7 oz Plain flour

200g/7 oz Caster sugar

30g/1 oz Cocoa powder

250ml/8.5 fl oz Water

5 tbsp Vegetable oil

1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp Cider vinegar

1 tsp Vanilla extract


For the ganache filling:

100g/3.5 oz Dark chocolate

100g/3.5 oz Milk chocolate

200ml/6.5 fl oz Double cream


For the salted caramel frosting:

300g/10.5 oz Icing sugar

250g/9 oz Butter

80g/3 oz Soft brown sugar

100ml/3.5 fl oz Double cream

2 tbsp Golden syrup

2 tsp Salt

(Makes 48)


Step one

Combine all the cake ingredients into one bowl and whisk until there are no lumps. This makes quite a thin batter that you will find a bit disturbing if you are used to putting egg and butter in cakes.

This recipe is great for vegans (as long as you don’t add the icing or filling – use substitutes instead perhaps). It’s my favourite recipe for chocolate cupcakes now, I originally found it when baking for a lactose intolerant friend.


Step two

Spoon into mini cupcake/muffin cases. I filled mine about halfway and could have gone to two thirds. There’s not a huge amount of rise in this mixture, perfect for cupcakes because they are nice and flat for icing onto.

Step three

Bake in the oven at gas mark 4/180C/350F for around 40 minutes or until springy to the touch.


Step three

Whilst the cakes are in the oven, make the ganache. Chop the chocolate finely; I always use a bread knife for this and recommend you do too, you’ll never go back.

Place chocolate pieces in a small mixing bowl.


Step five

Gently heat 200ml double cream in a small saucepan. Let it get to the point where there is steam sort of dancing across the top and it’s beginning to simmer/bubble at the edges. You don’t need to wait longer than this, it doesn’t need to be piping hot – as Mary Berry always says in her wonderfully whimsical way – chocolate can melt in a child’s pocket.

Pour the cream over the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Set to one side.


Step six

Once the cakes have completely cooled use a small vegetable knife to cut a hole in the centre. Yes you can eat the bit that pops out.

I found it was easiest to put the ganache into a piping bag as the cakes are quite small. Fill the gap entirely until the ganache is level with the top of the cake.


Step seven

Just keep filling, filling, filling, what do we do? We fill.

Leave them to set.


Step eight

Melt together 100g of the butter, the brown sugar, golden syrup and salt. Do this slowly and then bring the heat up to a simmer.

Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir regularly so that it doesn’t catch and burn. Leave to cool down for about half an hour or so.


Step nine

Once the caramel has cooled down a bit, stir in the 100ml of cream. This will bizarrely make the caramel darker. Maybe a scientist can tell me why? Answers on a postcard please.

It will also get much runnier, I understand that bit.

Allow to cool to room temperature.


Step ten

With an electric whisk beat together the rest of the butter and the icing sugar. Cover with a tea towel to begin with so you don’t choke on the clouds of icing sugar…

Once the mixture is well combined gradually mix in the caramel you made earlier. Set a bit of this aside (about 50-100ml or so) to decorate later on.


Step eleven

Pop the frosting into a piping bag and top off your little cakes with a drizzle of caramel once iced. I used a different nozzle than I usually do just because. Forgive me that some of them look a little wonky.

What’s that? I made another GIF?





Step twelve

Sink into sugar coma.

Fit for a mountie

Given that I’m doing a little afternoon tea series I thought I would share a recipe that I adapted for a lovely lady’s bridal shower recently. It’s a little less traditional than your average, but nice and light, definitely a worthwhile addition to any afternoon tea table. In honour of said bride-to-be I made these marshmallows maple flavoured as she hails from a distant land (Canada).

Some speculation as to whether or not marshmallows are easy enough to make trickled around the bridal shower. My answer in case you are wondering, is that they aren’t the most straightforward, but definitely do-able, and very satisfying. These guys make your house smell incredible too, so if you’re tempted, give it a go!

Disclaimer: don’t make these for vegetarians or you will be met with narrowed eyes. On the upside, they are great for the gluten free. Unless they are vegetarian.

maple-marshmallow-recipeYou will need

9 Gelatine sheets

300g/10.5 oz Granulated sugar

100g/3.5 oz Maple syrup

100g/3.5 oz Milk chocolate

2 Egg whites

1 tbsp Liquid glucose (you can find this in a squeeze toothpaste type tube in the baking section)

1 tsp Vanilla extract

Icing sugar

A sugar thermometer

maple-marshmallow-recipe-1Step one

Lightly oil a deep baking tray/brownie tin. Dust with icing sugar and set aside.

Step two

Put the gelatine sheets in 150ml/3.5 fl oz cold water and leave to soak. I snapped mine in half, but don’t break them up any more than that.

maple-marshmallow-recipe-2Step three

Put the sugar, glucose and maple syrup in a saucepan (the heavier the better). Add 150ml/3.5 fl oz water and put on a low heat.

Patience is key here as you will feel like eternity is passing you by while you’re waiting for it to get to the right temperature. It’s worth doing this stage slowly so you don’t burn the sugar etc etc. Make sure you have some snacks to hand.

It will smell so good you will want to put your face in it. Don’t.

maple-marshmallow-recipe-3Step four

When the thermometer reaches about 115C/230F start beating the egg whites. Do this in a glass/metal bowl, as plastic ones tend to be a bit oily, no matter how hard you scrub them.

Step five

When the thermometer reaches 127C/260F turn the heat off and add the soaked gelatine. Don’t add the excess water though, just fish it out and give it a little squeeze. When you do this you will forgive me for not having a photo of it; the mixture fizzes and bubbles in quite an intimidating fashion.

Step six

Get the whisk going in the eggs again, and slowly pour the hot sugar mixture into them as you go. Move the beaters continually so that you don’t end up with a lump of hard sugar at the bottom of the bowl.

maple-marshmallow-recipe-4Step seven

Add vanilla extract and keep whisking.

Step eight

Whisk some more.

Step nine

Have someone come and support your arm if you need to, but keep on whisking my friend.

Step ten

When the mixture (about 10 minutes later) becomes really thick and gloopy it’s time to stop. Hallelujah. A good measure for this is when bottom of the bowl (on the outside) has cooled down.

maple-marshmallow-recipe-5Step eleven

Pour the marshmallow into the brownie tin you prepared earlier.

maple-marshmallow-recipe-6Step twelve

Dust the top with icing sugar and leave to set for a few hours. This is your opportunity to go and see the doctor about the muscle death in your right arm. (Kidding).

maple-marshmallow-recipe-7Step thirteen

Turn the marshmallow out onto a clean surface with a satisfying flump.

Use a bread knife to cut it into long strips and then cubes. The trick is to make your strips as wide as your mallows are deep to get square(ish) shapes. Dust all the sides in icing sugar as you go.

Generally I find I don’t need any extra icing sugar for this, as a lot comes off the top when you turn it out.

maple-marshmallow-recipe-8Step fourteen

Place the cubes on a sheet of greaseproof paper. Melt the milk chocolate (slowly in a microwave) and using a piping bag drizzle them lightly. Leave to dry and you’re done!

maple-marshmallow-recipe-9There we have it. Maple marshmallows. Nowhere near as difficult to make as I made them sound, I promise.


Pa’s scones

Hello there. Sorry for being a bit sporadic with the posts of late. I will get a handle on this eventually I promise!

I realised that I kicked off my little afternoon tea series without the bare essential – the scone. Now, my dad happens to be a champion scone maker and he’s given me the honour of letting me share his recipe with you.

So without further ado here goes, enjoy!

Scone-recipe1You will need

1lb/450g Self raising flour

4 oz/110g Granulated sugar

4 oz/110g Margarine (I use Stork)

4 oz/110g Raisins/other dried fruit (I split mine into some plain some fruit, so only used half this)

1 egg

Semi-skimmed milk (approz 9fl oz/250ml)

A pinch or two of salt

A 2 inch round cutter (for small scones)

Makes 24 little scones, 12 big if using a bigger cutter.

Scone-recipe2Step one

Crack the egg into a measuring jug and top up to 10 fluid oz or 250ml with the milk.

Use a fork to combine the egg and milk.

Scone-recipe3Step two

Mix together the sugar, flour and salt in a decent sized mixing bowl.

Scone-recipe4Step three

Add the margarine to the dry mixture and rub between your fingers until you have the breadcrumb-like texture in the bottom photo. If you insist on using butter this might take you a little longer, but be patient, you’ll get there.

If you want to do half plain, half fruit then you need to split half the mix into another bowl at this stage.

Scone-recipe5Step four

Add the fruit (remember to only add half the amount if you’ve split the mix).

Gradually add the wet ingredients, stirring with your hands. Don’t go gung-ho and add the lot, as there’s meant to be some left over! Again, if you’ve split into two halves you need to distribute this evenly across both batches.

Keep adding liquid until the mixture is a bit gluey/sticky but still holds together and isn’t wet.

Scone-recipe6Step five

Dust a work surface with flour and turn your dough onto it. Pat it down with your hand until it’s a little shorter than your cutter. No rolling pins please.

I would also recommend you take this opportunity to wash your hands and grease a couple of baking trays.

Scone-recipe7Step six

Dust your cutter with flour and cut as many scones as you can from the dough. I will save you the maths lesson but try to get them as close together as possible as it’s best to not keep working the dough if possible.

Put your scones onto the baking trays; make sure to leave some space as they do grow a bit.

Scone-recipe8Step seven

Bring together all the scraps and repeat until you have no dough left. Well, you will have a little blob, but that’s for you to eat straight from the oven, so it doesn’t really count.

Scone-recipe9Step eight

Using the leftover egg and milk mixture, brush the tops of your scones. This will make them go golden in the oven. You can use your (clean) fingers if you don’t have a pastry brush.

Step nine

Pop in the oven (ideally preheated) at gas mark 6/200C/400F for 15-20 minutes. If your oven, like ours, is getting on a bit you might want to turn the trays around halfway through for an even bake.

Scone-recipe11Step ten

Pop them on the table with the rest of your afternoon tea treats.

Time for tea

I might have mentioned just a few times all the weddings I’m going to this summer? Just once or twice maybe? The resultant hen/bachelorette/bridal showers are a wonderful excuse to flex my culinary muscles on some afternoon tea sweet treats. So the next couple of weeks feature just that.

There’s one here already if you’re looking to get started, and this little post contains madeleines, a tiny French delight perfect for scoffing with tea. I decided to add some extra flavours to the classic lemon and vanilla, I’m not convinced the French would be too impressed, but you can thank me later.


You will need:

75g/2.5 oz Caster sugar

75g/2.5 oz Plain flour

60g/2 oz Butter

2 eggs

1 tsp Vanilla extract

1 tsp Baking powder

60g/2 oz Raspberries

Zest of a lime

200g/7 oz White chocolate

Madeleine mould

Makes 10000000 (I’m sorry I forgot to count, but about 50 mini ones – maybe 25 normal size? Sufficient anyway)


Step one

Melt all of the butter slowly in the microwave. Do this gradually until it’s just melted, none of this burning it until your house smells like popcorn nonsense please.


Step two

Use a splash of the butter and a pastry brush (or your (clean) fingers) to grease the mould, then dust with flour. To tell the truth if your mould is silicone I’m not entirely convinced this is necessary.


Step three

Grate a lime using the finest side of your grater and crush the raspberries with a fork. I was a little over zealous with the crushing, which made my mixture a bit greyish in the end, so don’t overdo it.


Step four

Finally time to make some cake!

Whisk the eggs until they are light, fluffy and start to thicken. If you don’t know what that means, then whisk them until they look like the bottom right hand picture.


Step five

Carry on whisking gradually adding the sugar. The mixture will thicken and will look less bubbly. Keep going until lifting your whisk leaves ribbons of mixture in the bowl.


Step six, seven and eight

Gently fold in the flour and baking powder with a metal spoon until fully combined.

Add the melted butter. This is weird right? Thanks France…

Whilst folding in the butter add the crushed raspberries, lime zest and vanilla extract. Keep stirring until it’s completely combined. Remember though, softly softly…think about stirring a bowl of baby bunnies.


Step nine

Spoon into mould and cook for 15 minutes on Gas mark 5/190 C/375 F. Leave to cool.


Step ten

Once your madeleines have cooled melt some white chocolate in the microwave and give them a little dunk. I also used a piping bag and the remaining chocolate to drizzle over them when I was done dipping.


Step eleven

Legitimately use the word voila.