c April 2012 | Garden, Tea, Cakes, (Books) and Me

Jubilee Bunting and Crowns

This year is the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, you can't miss it, the shops, newspapers and television are full of all things royal. 
If you want to find out more about celebrations planned nationally, and locally there is a special Diamond Jubilee website containing all you need to know. You can even send a special congratulatory message to the Queen!  

If you what the chance to see the H M the Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, there will be a Shropshire Diamond Jubilee Pageant on 12th July, being held at RAF Cosford. Thousands of free tickets are available for this spectacular event.

I am planning on being involved in as many things Jubilee related as possible. There are plans for a garden party, cake making and dressing up. Keep an eye on my blog over the next few months, as it’s likely to have a very red, white and blue theme.
Crown's in an instant
In preparation for all the celebrations and all the cakey goodness I have planned, I have done a little shopping. I treated myself to a crown mould and gold lustre dust from Squires Kitchen. I have had a quick practice run, but have not attempted to apply the gold lustre dust yet. I've not used this before so if any one has any tips on getting the best results, then do let me know.
Waiting to be given that golden touch

Jubilee Cupcake Cases
Of course I could not possibly make Jubilee cakes without paper cases, and there are a great selection available in the shops to choose from. I don't need to buy any at the moment as I had some for a birthday present. They are lovely and colourful, with Union Jack designs and soldiers from The Household Cavalry on them. 

I have also recently re-discovered my sewing machine. Re-discovered makes it sound like I know what I'm doing, but I only really know the basics. With some pieces of fabric and a little bias binding I've been busy making some Jubilee bunting. I didn’t have any Union Jack material or any plain red, white or blue fabric. So I settled on something a little more contemporary, but still with the red, white and blue theme. I'm delighted with it; it's turned out even better than I thought. Although the red has not come out as well on the photo's I've taken.
Jubilee bunting
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Coffee and Walnut Cake

Coffee and Walnut Cake

Another birthday and a request for a favourite cake of my brother-in-law. Well after all it's his birthday so he can have whichever cake he likes, and he chose Coffee and Walnut Cake.  This is the first time I have made Coffee and Walnut Cake, and I must say I was delighted with the results. It had an excellent even bake, good rise, was moist and light. What a shame then that I could not eat it - I’m afraid I just don’t like walnuts, so no cake for me. It received rave reviews from those in the family that did tuck in, most of them not settling for just one piece.

Recipe – Coffee and Walnut Cake

Oven temperature – 180°C / Gas mark 4
2 8-inch cake tins, lined and greased


6 oz light muscovado sugar
6 oz butter or margarine (I used Stork)
3 eggs
6 oz SR flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
3 tbsp strong black coffee
4 oz chopped walnut pieces
Walnut halves for decorating

4 oz butter
7 oz icing sugar
1 tbsp strong black coffee
½ tsp vanilla extract

Cream together the butter and muscovado sugar, until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs and coffee, beating well.

Sift in the flour and baking powder, folding gently.  Fold in the chopped walnuts.

Divide between the two cake tins and bake in pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or so, the sponge should be springy to the touch. Turn onto a cooling rack.

For the frosting, beat the butter and icing sugar, adding the coffee and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Split the frosting to sandwich the cake together and to cover the top. If you have any spare walnuts I also like to sprinkle some finely chopped walnuts onto the frosting that is sandwiching the two cakes together.   Spread the remaining frosting on the top of the cake, adding the walnut halves to decorate the top of the cake.

Coconut Cake

I thought I would also share with you my eldest sister’s birthday cake, whose birthday is also the same day as my brother-in-law. Her cake of choice was a Coconut Cake, which was being baked by my other sister. Now the bad news for me is, yes you guessed it, I don’t like coconut. What is this some kind of conspiracy? - walnuts, coconut; next thing you know someone will want a cake with marzipan on it! Another pet hate.
Coconut Cake
As you can see from the photo above, one of my niece’s Sylvanian Family figures gets in on the cake action much to her delight.

I’m sure by now that you are all very worried about me. I’ve help members of my family celebrate birthdays and yet there is no cake for me. I simply could not sit there and watch others eat cake whilst I have none, or my niece for that matter, who also did not care for coconut or coffee and walnut. So I made a particular favourite of mine, Eccles Cakes which I will share with you all in another post soon.
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I'm off to BlogCamp UK

So its nearly here, what I hear you ask? Blog CampUK of course, on Saturday I am off to Birmingham to meet lots of other fellow bloggers.

Name: Angela

Blog: Garden Tea Cakes and Me

Twitter: @daisyangel1

My Blog’s About: My love of gardening, baking and my indulgence in afternoon tea with friends and family

Likes: the seasons, cake, period dramas and sugar on toast

Dislikes: Vinegar and all pickled produce, shop assistants who serve you but totally ignore you and high shelves.

Please look out for me I'm a little shy or should that be I'm little and shy, but if you spot cake that's where you'll find me!

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I'm a Clipper Sipper

Anyone for tea?
Tea - everyone has their favourite blend or brand. I am afraid I am not one that enjoys a pot that has been brewed for long - no 'bulls blood' tea for me. For the past few years I've been drinking Clippers Organic Everyday Tea, a brand I find refreshing and affordable. I have a lovely Clipper tin I use to keep my tea bags in. As you can see it's the famous Clipper green though its a little past its best condition-wise. But it is the perfect fit for the cupboard by the kettle!

As something of a tea addict, you can imagine my delight when I received an email from Clipper, a few weeks ago, with the good news I had been selected as one of their April Clipper Sippers. I was even more excited to take delivery of their Jasmine Blossom Silver Needles White loose tea, one of a new range of Boutique Tea's by Clipper. 
A nice pot of tea
The Boutique range of tea really does offer something different, this is not your average cuppa. There is such a delicate yet exotic scent and taste to this tea, which refreshes yet soothes, encouraging you to sink back into the sofa and put your feet up whilst your mind and body recharges itself. It makes you feel as though it’s a special occasion; a treat in a tea cup that will make you stop and savour the moment. 

It's contained in a beautifully pretty yet practical tin. Which I am delighted to having sitting out in the kitchen for all to see, and has already received many an admiring comment.  Such a pretty tea in a tin would make a wonderful gift if accompanied by a special cup and saucer and not forgetting a tea strainer.

For many people drinking loose tea is not the 'norm'. The tea bag has taken over and why not, it conforms to our need for convenience. But surely everyone should at some point, make the time for that special cup of tea brewed from loose leaves.  As you know from my Afternoon Tea posts I like to make time to enjoy tea, cakes and company. If you have never had loose tea then there is no need to feel intimidated - if you are unsure what to do with a tin of leaves, fear not Clipper supply clear and simple instructions to follow.
If you would like to apply to be a Clipper Sipper and have the opportunity to try some of Clippers wonderful teas or coffees you can apply on their website, you do not need a blog to be a Clipper Sipper. 

Now if you will excuse me I hear the kettle boiling...
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Hot Cross Buns - Bake Off!

The lovely extended Easter weekend is at last upon us, yippee!  My sister and I decided to celebrate Good Friday by embarking on a little healthy baking competition, and what better day to bake Hot Cross Buns.

We used a recipe from the Dairy Diary Cookbook, though they did not have the pastry cross included which surely is a must for a Hot Cross Bun. It was not until we started weighing the ingredients and realised that there was not quite enough strong white flour, so my sisters batch was made up of mostly wholemeal malted flour. So the bake off was not exactly on an even kilter.

  Rise dough, rise! (mine is on the left)

As you can see from the photos the rise on the dough was not as great as I had anticipated, though I think my sisters wholemeal dough fared better.

With the buns now ready for rolling, and a second proving they were looking good. I had decided to to leave three of mine without the pastry cross, but instead to cut the cross into the bun.
Mine are on the left my sisters on the right
fresh out of the oven
I was very impressed how a little warm milk and sugar can transform these lovely buns into the glossy, sticky Hot Cross Buns we all know and love.

The judges descended upon on the house my other sister, brother in law and my five year old niece. So who was the winner? Well of course how could my niece choose between her two favourite aunts, and both my sister and brother in law were in agreement. It was really very difficult to tell the difference between those made from the white flour and those with the mixed flour. Either way there is one thing I have discovered shop bought Hot Cross Buns pah! from now on there will only be homemade Hot Cross Buns every Easter.

I'm posting these as my entry into Aprils Tea Time Treats, which if you have not guessed by know has a Easter theme. Hosted this month by Karen at Lavender and Lovage and Kate at What Kate Baked, with Kate taking the lead this month. 

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