Archive of ‘Cake’ category

Teacake, Shepreth

Teacake at Shepreth
Picture from Teacake, Shepreth

I’ve been keeping this little place from you, well, unless you follow me on Twitter, in which case I have been banging on about how great their coffee is for about 6 months now.

I’m very lucky and I know it. This tea room does amazing coffee, homemade cakes and sandwiches is 2 minutes away from my office. I know. So lucky.

Teacake is in a grade 1 listed building, which used to be the old village post office. There is a cosy little dining area and also a pretty tea garden for the warmer months – we’ve had meetings there which is a much more of an improvement than a boring boardroom, and it comes with cake! The owners, Christine and Maurice, are really interested in food and love to try out new ideas and try to source their ingredients as locally as possible, it is great to see people who really care about their food and it means there is always something new there.

Their coffee is what I really shout about – it is Monmouth Coffee and Maurice is quite the coffee expert, and knowing I’m a food blogger he loves to talk to me about how he makes his coffee and how a proper cup should be made.

Along with the coffee there are an array of freshly baked cakes – Victoria sponge, sticky date (my favourite), gluten free lemon – flapjacks, tiffin, scones and of course teacakes. They have a range of loose leaf teas which you can also buy to take home with you. For lunchtime there are also sandwiches (often made with their own home baked hams or smoked salmon), soups, salads and savoury muffins. For the locals they also handily sell basic groceries including the Cobs Bakery bread and Wobbly Bottom farm goats cheese, which I am a big fan of.

Teacake is just around the corner from Shepreth train station, so easy to get to if you’re in Cambridge and a perfect place to go if you’re visiting Shepreth Wildlife Park for the day. They are open Wednesday to Sunday, 9am to 5pm. Find them on Facebook. 

Tiffins Tea Emporium, Long Melford

Tiffins Tea Emporium, Suffolk

I do love a day in Suffolk, it is a very picturesque area of the country and not too far from us but feels like such a change from normality. We were booked for a morning ‘Owl Encounter’ at Lavenham Falconry, and this fortuitous turn of events meant we could visit nearby Tiffins, who I’d been following/admiring on Twitter for a while.

Long Melford itself is beautiful and the tea room definitely lives up to its surroundings. A pretty little building with a tower of scones in the window, an array of cakes on stands, tea pots and lovely vintage style furniture.

Tiffins is run by the very cheery Kirstie who made us feel really welcome. We started with savoury – a goats cheese and pepper ciabatta for Mr and the intriguingly named Suffolk Ploughmans for me, cheese scones instead of bread – but toasted so the cheese is all melty and lovely – served with ‘cheeky chutney’ which was a lovely fresh salsa like chutney made with tomatoes. I had some of the Tiffins Blend loose tea and Mr some Suffolk apple juice.

Tiffins Tea Emporium Suffolk

Of course we had to have some cake too – and it was a tough decision – there is such a great choice of sweets – chocolate, coffee, lemon drizzle, victoria sponges, flapjacks, brownes, tiffin (of course) and fruit scones. Mr had a slice of pleasingly orangey Chocolate Marmalade cake with little white chocolate stars, and I had a coffee cake which was tooth achingly sweet – perfect for me. I had a bit of a sugar high upon leaving and then a crash later on in the afternooon…

We really enjoyed our lunch at Tiffins, it is a beautiful place and very relaxed surroundings. You can find them on Twitter and they have a website too. Do visit if you are in the area – Long Melford has some pretty shops and neighbouring Lavenham is a must see.

Oh and here is a picture of one of the owls we met!

Lavenham Falconry Suffolk

Gujarati Recipe Series – Handvo, Savoury Cake

This post marks the first in my series of Gujarati recipes! This is something I’ve been meaning to start for a long time and I have been encouraged by many of my twitter followers to do so too. I think it is pretty fitting to start off with a cake, but this time a savoury, spicy vegetable cake.

Handvo, or Andvo, is made from chickpea and semolina flour with carrots, peas, onion and sweetcorn, chili and ginger inside with a crispy top with mustard seeds on top. We always used to eat this on Saturday nights, with other snacky food like samosas – although it is a pretty filling meal in its own right.

Makes one 18 x 6 cm dish (though will work in slightly bigger or smaller dishes)
You need to start this the day before you want to eat it. 
My cups are American cups, teacups also work well.

Part 1 – the day before
1 cup of coarse semolina flour
1 cup of chickpea (gram) flour
1 tsp of grated fresh ginger
1 – 2 green chillies (to taste)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 cup of natural yoghurt (my Mum said the cheaper the better as you want a nice tangy yoghurt!)
2 tbsp of groundnut, sunflower or mild olive oil
warm water – about 1/2 – 1 cup

Mix together all the ingredients except the water, add the water gradually to loosen the mixture til it is the texture of cake batter. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight (or up to 24 hours) when you want to use it remove from the fridge and bring to room temperature.

Part 2 – the next day
1 1/2 tsp of baking powder 
1 medium onion, diced
2 tbsp of frozen peas
2 tbsp of frozen or fresh sweetcorn
1 medium carrot, finely diced

Add all of the vegetables to the ‘cake’ mixture plus the baking powder, stir briefly (don’t overwork the mix) to combine. Preheat your oven to 180c / gas mark 4. Grease and line your dish and pour in the mixture.

Mustard Topping
1 tsp of black mustard seeds (the yellow ones don’t really work as well, try your local asian grocer or health food shop for black mustard seeds)
3 tbsp of groundnut, sunflower or mild olive oil

With your mixture ready in your dish and your oven heated up. Heat the oil in a high sided saucepan on a med/high hob. Put in the mustard seeds and quickly cover the saucepan with a lid. Allow the mustard seeds to pop for about 30 seconds. Turn off and remove from the heat and allow it to cool for about 1 minute. Then pour the oil and mustard seed mixture over the cake mixture in the dish.

Bake for 45 mins – 1 hour in your preheated oven. You want the top to be quite brown, possibly looking a little overdone (I erred on the side of caution here so mine is a bit paler than it should be). 

Handvo is supposed to be served hot so slice up as soon as it comes out of the oven, it is best served with a dollop of good old tomato ketchup! It is also great cold the next day

Am hoping to return soon with more Gujarati recipes, I’ve got lots of things I’d like to make next. I hope you might make this, its a great recipe to try if you like baking cakes.

Hurray for Fitzbillies

All I can say really is YAY.

The Chelsea Bun is back, and also a whole host of other goodies. I’m so pleased Fitzbillies is back and improved, and also it is a proper bakery where everything is made there, and made properly. We’ve already had a chelsea bun each but we visited again at the weekend.

I had a perfect hot chocolate (made from ganache made in their kitchen) and a wonderful coffee choux bun. Mr Giraffe had a cheese chelsea bun which is simply an excellent twist on the classic sugary treat – topped with cheese and filled with more cheese, leeks and mustard.

The tea is also very good here, proper loose leaf served in a pot. We’ll be back for the coffee and also for lunches.

The re-opening of Fitzbillies really makes it feel like Cambridge is edging towards being a decent place to eat.

Gooseberry Crumble Cake

I think gooseberries can be a bit daunting. They are all hairy and a bit weird looking when raw, not to mention sour. But add a bit of sugar, cook them for a while and they are gorgeous. I tend to treat them like rhubarb, and my favourite thing to make with rhubarb is a crumble cake.

Crumble cakes (or coffee cakes as they are known in the USA, though they have no coffee) are impressive looking and tasting but really easy to make as they just combine two very basic recipes. They work particularly well with rhubarb and gooseberries as the double blanket of sugariness, batter and crumble, will make sure your fruit isn’t too tart.

I have previously made a rhubarb crumble cake (with a really bad photograph) but it was huge so I have dialled back the quantities a bit to make a slightly smaller cake. This is still a generous cake so will serve 6 people easily!

I made this cake with lots of vanilla and swapped half the flour for ground almonds to add more taste to the cake part. The crumble top was the basic equal parts of sugar, flour and butter mixture, and I sprinkled some more ground almonds on before baking which made the top extra crunchy.

The gooseberries are prepared very simply, I just topped and tailed them and sprinkled them with sugar.

Gooseberry Crumble Cake

Makes one 9 inch round cake

For the cake:
100g of softened salted butter
100g sugar
2 eggs
50g of ground almonds
50g of flour
1 teaspoon of vanilla paste or equal of vanilla extract
Splash of milk.
125g fresh gooseberries

Cream your sugar and butter together until nice and fluffy, then add the eggs in one by one and mix together after adding each. Then put your vanilla in and then fold in the almonds and flour. Mix to combine and then add a small splash of milk to loosen the mixture.
Pour into a greased and linked cake in.

Preheat your oven whilst you prepare the crumble and fruit. 170c /  gas mark 4

Top and tail your gooseberries. Cut the bigger ones in half but leave the smaller ones whole. Arrange on top of the cake batter and sprinkle with tablespoon of sugar.

For the crumble top:
50g butter
50g sugar
50g flour
Sprinkle of ground almonds

Rub together your butter and flour til it resembles breadcrumbs, and then add in your sugar. Sprinkle over the gooseberries, make sure they are fairly well covered but it doesn’t matter if they are peeking out a bit. Sprinkle over the almonds.

Bake in the oven for about 30 – 40 minutes until golden brown on top. It can be hard to tell if is done as the knife won’t come out clean, as long as it is cooked at a low temperature on a middle shelf it won’t burn.

Leave to cool, the cake will sink slightly. If you take it out the tin whilst it is warm it will collapse.

Slice and serve with custard, it is good with custard!

My gooseberries were from Walden Local Food, if you are nearby you must go and visit their market stall on a Saturday. I also came away with some fabulous plum tomatoes and some tender new season kale.

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