Bea’s of Bloomsbury

Bea’s of Bloomsbury is a fantastic place to go for Afternoon Tea! A friend and I enjoyed a delicious plate of baguettes, followed by some of the best cakes and scones, I have EVER eaten.

Service was fantastic , we were seen to straight away and given a choice of teas to choose from. The teas are all real leaf teas and more hot water is offered, so there is no need to buy another cup.

A plate of three mini baguettes was then presented to each of, the bread was fantastic quality and each baguette was so tasty, my favourite was the salami and red pepper pesto.

Following this, we were presented with a selection of cakes: blondies, two different types of brownies, scones, a raspberry cupcake, a dark chocolate cupcake and other mini cakes. Everything was delicious, I have no complaints at all, and being a keen baker I usually pick up on a dry cake.

The sponge on the two cupcakes literally fell apart, the raspberry cupcake, actually tasted like raspberry! The dark chocolate frosting was like ganache, it was the kind of thing you eat and then are left speechless for a while….

The brownies were lovely and gooey inside. The scones were not dry but absolutely delicious, by this point we were struggling to finish.

I would definitely recommend Bea’s of Bloomsbury, to anyone wanting a delicious afternoon tea, somewhere that is a little less crowded than the places you might usually think to go. Booking is definitely best!

My one issue was that they did not offer champagne. I am planning to buy the cookbook, so watch this space for the recipes…

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Pick n’ mix cupcakes

I decorated these cupcakes with Pic n’ Mix, hence the name. The icing does not look too great, I was in a rush and did not take much care, but I promise they taste delicious!

Ingredients for the cake mix

  • 200g butter (I use Stork)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 4 eggs
  • Splash of milk
  • Tsp vanilla essence
  • 1tbsp raspberry or strawberry jam

Ingredients for the icing

  • 150g softened butter
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 2tsp raspberry or strawberry jam
  • Pick n’ mix sweets to decorate

Method

  1. Beat the butter and sugar together until combined
  2. Add the eggs one at a time and beat into the mixture
  3. Add the flour and beat well
  4. Add the vanilla essence and jam, add milk if the mixture is too dry
  5. Spoon the mix into cupcake cases and bake for 15 minutes for so at 180 degrees, until the cakes are golden and bounce back when you touch them
  6. Allow the cakes to cool and then for the icing beat the butter and icing sugar until combined well
  7. Add the vanilla essence and jam, this should give the icing a pink colour. Feel free to add food colouring if you wish
  8. Pipe the icing onto the cakes and add the pick n’ mix sweets

Honey and Walnut Loaf

I love loaf cakes because you can just mix them up and throw them in the loaf tin. They are fairly straight forward to make and this one requires no icing, so it is minimum effort for maximum taste!

Ingredients

  • 190g butter
  • 190g plain flour
  • 190g caster sugar or golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 30g greek yoghurt (plain yoghurt is also fine)
  • 3tbsp runny honey
  • 70g chopped walnuts

Method

  1. Grease your loaf tin and line it with baking powder
  2. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beat
  5. Add the flour and baking powder and mix well
  6. Add the yoghurt and mix together
  7. Add the honey and walnuts and mix it all together
  8. Pour the cake mix into your loaf tin and bake for about one hour
  9. Enjoy with a cup of tea!

How quick and easy was that?

Jammie Dodger Cakes

These little cakes are perfect for any upcoming Jubilee plans you may have, they look very  British. Sainsbury’s also have cupcake cases with the Union Jack flag on for some extra Jubilee glitz. Inspired by something I saw on sale on Fortnum and Mason, this recipe was free styled.

Ingredients

  • 200g butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 200 self raising flour
  • Half a teaspon of baking powder
  • Jar of Strawberry or Raspberry Jam
  • Mini Jammie dodgers
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 160g butter for icing
  • Splash of milk

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees
  2. Cream the butter and sugar and then add the eggs one at a time and beat
  3. Add the flour and baking powder and beat well
  4. Add a few teaspoons of jam into the cake mix
  5. Add a splash of milk if the mix seems to stodgy
  6. Now spoon some cake mix into your cake cases
  7. On top of that spoon a teaspoon of jam and then put more cake mix on top
  8. Bake for around 15-20 minutes or until golden brown
  9. One the cakes have cooled, on to the icing! Beat the icing sugar and butter, add some milk if needed, add some strawberry jam to give it a lovely pink colour
  10. Pipe or spread your icing on your cakes and decorate with a jammie dodger!

Hazelnut Praline Cakes

This is another Hummingbird Bakery  inspired recipe, I would recommend the ‘Cake Days’ cookbook again to any keen baker, it has become my baking bible. These bad boys are great for Nutella lovers!

Ingredients

  • 300g plain flour
  • 145g caster sugar
  • 1tbsp baking powder
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 large eggs
  • 85g melted butter
  • 150g chocolate hazelnut spread (Nutella)
  • 30g chopped hazelnuts

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees and line a cake bun tin with cases, this recipe makes around 10-12 muffins
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, 115g of the caster sugar and baking powder
  3. In a jug break the 2 eggs, add the whole milk and vanilla essence and beat until mixed
  4. Melt the butter, I used the microwave on a low heat
  5. Add the wet and dry ingredients together (so now in a bowl you have the flour/sugar mix, butter, milk and eggs)
  6. Beat in the hazelnut spread, the mixture should become smooth
  7. Spoon the cake mix into the cases
  8. Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts and caster sugar on top of the cakes
  9. Bake for 25 minutes or until the muffins bounce back when pressed

I have to admit that I ended up smearing more Nutella on these muffins when eating them, yes I am very gluttonous!

Simple Peach Traybake

For me, Sunday afternoons spell baking. You know I have had a busy weekend if I go into work on a Monday morning without a tin of cakes or cookies I baked over the weekend.

This weekend was no exception, inspired by the sun I tried my hand at a peach traybake.

Ingredients

  • 250g butter
  • 300g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • drop of milk
  • 50g almonds
  • 5tsp raspberry jam
  • Tin of canned peaches in fruit juice (or use fresh if they are in season)
  • Handful of flaked almonds

Method

  1. Grease your traybake tin and preheat the oven to 170 degrees
  2. Cream the butter and sugar
  3. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well
  4. Add the vanilla essence
  5. Add the flour and baking powder
  6. Add the almonds and mix well
  7. Add a little milk if the mixture seems to try and too hard to beat
  8. At the bottom of your traybake tin put some sliced peaches, cut the rest and mix them into your cake mix
  9. Pour the cake mix into the tray on top of all the peaches in the tray
  10. Add a few blobs of raspberry jam in places and top with flaked almonds
  11. Bake for around 1 hour, until golden brown

My colleagues gave fantastic feedback, and we think it would be fantastic as a desert served with warm custard.

Herman The German Friendship Cake

This is how Herman came to us, in a jar and then decanted into a mixing bowl with a device Brunel himself would have been proud of. Herman is more of a concept than a food, the premise being that you share Herman with your friends. The best way to explain the idea is to look at the instructions below.

Our Herman came from a good friend who is also a total food nut and who was totally captured by the idea when it was shared with him. There is something about the lengthy process of raising Herman that gives the final product something quite special indeed.

Despite looking rather like a bucket of sick every time you ‘Stir well’ the end result is a true culmination of the labour of love put into Herman.

I can give my full recommendation that Herman The German Friendship Cake is a great thing to do with friends and family and a further recommendation that the final delicious and indeed, as the instructions say, enjoyed with ice cream when still warm is just amazing.

If you wan to start a new Herman, then this initial recipe is available at the Herman The German Friendship Cake website along with lots of other Herman related things.