Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Afternoon tea at the Ritz

Afternoon Tea at the Ritz- does it live up to its name?

Everyone is always saying the Ritz this and the Ritz that, but is it all everyone says it is? Well, I went to go check it out for myself.

The interior of the Ritz is just to die for and believe it or not, so is the food. I went for Afternoon Tea so I only touched at the skills of the Ritz's chefs but boy, was it amazing. You are served by male waiters who are all dressed in the best suits and there is a live pianist playing your every request. 

You sit in tables of however many you choose and they take your coat and bags and give you a tag. The tags were so cool that I was willing to leave my things just so that I could keep the tag. 

You start by ordering tea which they bring to you in a teapot. It is loose leaf (like seriously, what were you expecting) and you have a choice from about 15 types. Not all the tea's are great so it is a good thing that they are not the main feature. I would recommend the Rooibos Red Tea or if you are scared of trying something new, you can always stick to the traditional Earl Grey.

The menu is a traditional afternoon tea with finger sandwiches for 'a starter'. My sandwiches were:
  • Ham, Grain Mustard Mayonnaise, White Bread
  • Cheddar Cheese, Chutney, Onion bread
  • Cucumber, Cream Cheese, Dill, Chives, Caraway Seed Bread
  • Chicken Breast, Horseradish Cream, White Bread
  • Scottish Smoked Salmon, Lemon Butter, Rye Bread
  • Egg Mayonnaise, Chopped Shallots, Watercress, White Bread                                                               (No, unfortunately I do not have supper memory, I have the menu)

I can not recommend the sandwiches highly enough. They were so good. Just everything about it was perfect. They come and give you refills and even though this is classified as tea, it fulfils as lunch.

The second course is scones which they keep and bring at your request 'so that they are kept hot and fresh.' There are plain and sultan scones served with pots of strawberry jam and clotted cream. I have had a lot of scones and nothing compares to these ones.

So now, having eaten your way from the bottom tier upwards, you are left with the top tier which holds the cakes. I have to be honest, these did disappoint me a little. They were too sweet and after having had three cups of tea, all with sugar, it was just a bit too much. (I probably should have taken it easy with the sandwiches.) There were mini chocolate cakes, a mini mille feuille, a tiny raspberry tartlet and a pink macaroon creation. They all looked marvellous, I'm not going to lie.

The Ritz offers afternoon tea at five time slots a day which are always full, and at each time slot, they also walk around with a cart of cakes. (I know!) There are two cakes of which you can have a slice from, which, I have to say, were better than the mini cakes.

Overall, I had a wonderful experience and I would recommend it to anyone, as a celebration, a special treat or a romantic tea. 

Please feel free to leave comments. I will be more than happy to answer any queries.


Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Healthy Cake?

The question on every bakers mind. Is there such a thing as a healthy cake? This question will probably split most of you, as some will want a healthy cake(Are you crazy?) and some will say there is no such thing.

Lets be honest, do you really want a healthy cake? For me the best part about the cake is that it is a naughty treat and I know that I probably shouldn't be having it, but I have it anyway. The fact that you are treating yourself makes the celebration even more special. Could you imagine a world with healthy cake? Woah, let's celebrate your promotion with a fat free, high in protein, low in sugar, zucchini cake. (Yeah, that's what we have all been dreaming about!)

I think the scary thing for me though is that we are closer to this then we may want to believe. With Flora Light and Truvia sweetener, which insists is calorie free, you may just have a healthy cake for your next birthday. Though we all know, as long as our grandparents continue to make cakes, they will 'not be adding any of that rubbish.'

Although, thinking about it now, a healthy cake may just be a good thing. With fewer calories we would all be able to have much more cake, move over fruit salad, a slice of chocolate cake is coming. But then again, cake wouldn't be cake any more, would it? It would be classed as a healthy snack. (Urgggggh)

Therefore, I am saying NO, NO, NO to all healthy cakes and anyone I find trying to even trick me into eating a healthy cake will get the chop and be publicly humiliated. :-)

I don't know if there will ever be a healthy cake but I sure know that I would rather give up McDonald's than give up cakes. Which by the way has 400+ more calories per an average meal than a slice of chocolate cake!

Would do you think?


Monday, 18 February 2013

Mary Berry (what a fitting name!)

Mary Berry. What more can you say? What more do you need to say? Dubbed the queen of cakes, she is my favourite baker and probably one of the most pleasant to view on TV. (No, I do not have a dirty mind. Naughty!) Having been on TV for four decades now, she has recently come back on view with The Great British Bake Off which has shot her profile through the roof, particularly with younger bakers. And through all of this, what has arisen, a new fashion icon! (I know!)

Mary Berry in her gorgeous floral blazer

Her recipes stand the test of time, as proven on the recent BBC 2 show The Mary Berry Story, and are probably the most full-proof. Her recipes are unbelievably simply but incredibly delicious and satisfying, with all her ingredients readily available.

She has many great recipes but one of my favourite recipes of hers is her simple cupcake recipe in Mary Berry 100 Cakes and Bakes. You can do anything with this recipe and it can only get better. It is sophisticated enough to give to someone as a present and simple enough to make with the kids.

Cupcakes Recipe from Mary Berry 100 Cakes and Bakes


  • 100g (4oz) softened butter
  • 150g (5oz) self-raising flour 
  • 150g (5oz) caster sugar
  • 3tbsp milk 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Butter icing:
  • 100g (4oz) butter, softened
  • 225g (8oz) icing sugar
  • 1/2tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/fan, 160C/gas 4.
  2. Measure all the cupcake ingredients into a large bowl and blend until smooth. Spoon evenly between the paper cases.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until well risen and brown. Cool the cupcakes on on cooling rack before frosting.
  4. Beat all the butter icing ingredients together until it is creamy and thick. Smooth or pipe over the cupcakes.
My Notes;
  • VITAL. Do not open the oven door until 15 minutes have passed and turn your cupcakes when they have 5 minutes left to get a nice, even golden colour. 
  • If you wish to make chocolate cupcakes, take out 1-2tbsp of flour and swap it for cocoa powder.
  • Add more milk if the mixture seems a bit dry.
  • You can add any extras to the mixture once it is all blended. Chopped apple, raspberries, blueberries  chocolate chips etc. Stir the extra ingredients in with a spatula, making sure not to crush them.(Don't worry, nothing happens if you do crush them)
  • To get even cupcakes, I like to use an ice cream scope and place one scope in each case. Or if we are being really precise, 40g of mixture into each case. (Yes, I sat there and worked this out)
  • Once you put the mixture into the cupcake, smooth the top with a teaspoon to get a smooth finish. (Do you want nice cupcakes?
  • I like to add 1tsp of vanilla extract and vanilla essence works just as well.
  • If I am making a butter icing, I have found that I need 150g butter to have enough icing to pipe on all the cupcakes. I also like to use 125g icing sugar instead of 225g because I find that is too sweet for me otherwise. 

Apple pie cupcakes
I have added chopped apples to it to make apple pie cupcakes

Blueberry cupcake
I have added fresh raspberries and chopped chocolate to make a delicious treat.

Please feel free to leave comments. I will be more than happy to answer any queries.


Hello Readers!

Well, this is it. The start of a new relationship. This will either go really well and we will become life-long friends or this will go really badly and this will go on the list of regrets. So here goes hoping...

We should probably start with introductions. I am an avid baker who lives in London. Fun, outgoing and always baking. I will try to upload as often as I can, but with a cramped schedule (totally) and a lack of imagination, I will only be able to post so often. I like to think that I have a modern style but I love nothing more than adding new touches to old classics, I also love trying new recipes and seeing as you are reading my blog, you too will go through my highs and lows with me.

So finger crossed and lets hope for the best.