I found this recipe in Country Living magazine, in the ‘Bring Back Teatime’ edition. It looked delicious and very attractive and of course I couldn’t resist the lavender connection! I made this for my Mum’s birthday as a nice summery alternative with no buttery icing in the hot weather…
This is the streusel topping before baking. It smelt wonderful… It is made from chopped nuts, brown sugar, butter, a small amount of flour and lavender blossoms.
The finished product… I think I should have put all of the streusel topping in the centre to give more of a dip and to let the buttery mixture sink further into the middle of the cake. However, it tasted lovely as it was so not to worry!
I love the effect here when the buttery topping has made its way down into the sponge cake. It was also lovely to decorate the cake with fresh lavender from my Farnham garden.
This was the first time I had tried a streusel cake recipe and I found it very successful. I think it is good to have a cake on the tea table that looks a bit unusual. This recipe (and variations on the theme) may well find themselves on the afternoon tea menu!
I made this dessert using raspberries I picked at Country Market near Bordon. I went out early on Thursday morning before it got too hot (it actually rained briefly – bliss!) and I have plenty more fruit to make some jam, which will be the first batch of the year. I love making jams and chutneys and am lucky to have been given a proper jam kettle, which I am sure will make my life much easier… I’ll let you know how it goes.
Unfortunately this pavlova disappears slightly on my white cake stand – I obviously need to add a coloured stand to my collection!
This is Nigella Lawson’s pavlova recipe and it turned out very well. Really dry and crisp on the outside but very gooey in the centre. I think maybe I have perfected small meringues too and am wondering whether they could feature in a Lavender Sugar afternoon tea at some point. They would be wonderful for a summer tea party in the garden, with plenty of fresh fruit and lashings of soft, whipped cream.
This is ‘Curious Chocolate Cake’, a recipe I picked up on a visit to the wonderful Bailey’s Home and Garden at Ross-on-Wye last weekend. It is a really gooey and rich cake and has no flour – it uses ground almonds instead which helps keep it beautifully moist. As it was such a very hot day I didn’t ice the top with my usual chocolate fudge icing, but just placed a few swirls of buttercream on it instead. It is possibly more of a dessert cake – I think it would go beautifully with fresh raspberries or in winter some caramelised oranges…
This is a plate of lavender shortbread baked with our own home-made lavender sugar. We got hold of the culinary lavender from just down the road at English Hampshire Lavender in Selborne. We bought some matching jars and simply mixed the caster sugar and lavender together. The beautifully perfumed and flavoured sugar is then kept in sterilised jars. These look really pretty on our stand when we are at the Maltings Market and a jar of this makes a lovely little gift. Lavender shortbread is made using our traditional shortbread recipe, substituting a proportion of the sugar with lavender sugar – easy! It makes a pleasant change and gives a lovely summery taste to complement the rich butteriness of the shortbread.
The cheesecake from yesterday’s post needed three eggs and three egg yolks, so I found myself staring at a bowl of egg whites (yes, I am rather strange at times)! I know I could have frozen them or made a virtuous egg white omelette, but that didn’t sound very exciting and I had a bit of time to spare, so I decided to whip up some straightforward meringues. I thought they could be served with berries and ice cream as an alternative to the cheesecake.
As it turned out, meringues happen to be a favourite of my god-daughter and her younger sister, so I was really pleased that I had made them, and they turned out really well. Nice and dry but with a little bit of gooeyness in the centre. I used one of my new piping nozzles and there was an amusing moment at the table when my god-daughter told us that she thought the meringues resembled something most unsavoury! I wanted to tell you what she said, but my husband said I couldn’t possibly put that on a blog based around food and the gentle pursuit of afternoon tea….. Anyway, you don’t need much imagination to work it out!!!
This is a ‘London Cheesecake’ from one of my most well-thumbed cookery books ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’ by Nigella Lawson. I first made this recipe for supper on Christmas Eve last year and made it again for Sunday lunch yesterday, this time topped with blueberries to make it a bit more summery. This cheesecake is very straightforward to make, but gives a pretty impressive result. It is baked in a water bath which could sound a bit offputting – but it really isn’t fiddly at all. It is baked for 50 minutes and then removed from the oven when a mix of sour cream, sugar and vanilla is poured over the top of the hot, just-set cake. It then goes back into the oven for another ten minutes to finish off. I hope you can see the layer where the creamy mixture has set on top of the cheesecake. This somehow manages to be quite rich but fairly light at the same time.
These used to be on Lavender Sugar’s afternoon tea menu, but we recently took them off (as we had so many exciting new flavours to add!) so I had temporarily forgotten about them. Today I was browsing through my baking books and saw the recipe for these and just felt like making a batch. I had a couple of spoons of mocha buttercream frosting left in my mixing bowl when I had topped all the cakes, and after having a couple of tasters, I had to quickly fill the bowl with water so I didn’t eat any more! I was thinking that Mocha might be my favourite, but then I started to think about all the other flavours and I decided that it must depend on my mood. How could I favour a Mocha over a Red Velvet Cupcake, or a Luscious Lemon? And sometimes a basic vanilla cupcake made with top quality ingredients (pure vanilla extract, lovely big and fresh free range eggs…) is just what the Dr ordered.
I’ve had a lovely day today, spending about 4 or 5 hours in the kitchen, trying out all sorts of things. I’ll show you more and let you know how my experiments went later!