Welcome to our blog....here we will share all our afternoon tea adventures with you...the good, the bad and the wonderful!

Saturday, 25 April 2020

Ruby The Cake Artist Brownie Slab

Hello there,

Welcome back to another sweet post from Tea With Me and Friends. I hope you are keeping well and staying safe during these challenging times.

Today I wanted to share with you one of the sweet treats that was sent to me for my solo Birthday celebrations....imagine my delight when I heard the post arrive on the big day and found this waiting for me on the doormat...(ok, my delight came once I'd actually opened the box, but you know what I mean!!)...

Yup, my lovely friend Sheree sent me a slab of birthday brownie through the post! 
What a lovely surprise!

The Brownies come from Ruby The Cake Artist, who usually makes wonderful celebration cakes, as well as offering a cake subscription service. At the moment the big cakes are unavailable, but Ruby is still offering the cake subscription, decorate your own biscuits and slabs of brownies with a weekly delivery.

The brownie was the perfect size to fit through the post box, came well packed and was delivered via Royal Mail. Even though it had quite a drop from my letterbox to the floor, it was still intact when I opened it. 

The brownie itself is deliciously gooey, smothered in chocolate and decorated with a birthday message and lots of sparkle that will make the birthday girl or boy smile...

The brownie might appear quite slim....it has to fit through your letter box remember....but its full of chocolatey flavour and I loved the extra layer of chocolate on the top. You can enjoy it on its own or with a dollop of ice cream.

It's also perfect with a cup of tea....

As well as this Birthday box, you can also send a brownie selection box which includes favours such as Jaffa cake (which sounds amazing) and raspberry and white chocolate. You can also opt to go vegan if you want to.

To find out more about Ruby The Cake Artist and the different sweet treat boxes available, pop by the Ruby The Cake Artist website

Thank you Sheree for this delicious treat, it certainly brightened my day!

Thank you for popping by today, I look forward to seeing you again soon,

Monday, 20 April 2020

Lockdown Baking

Hey There,

How are you today? Looking for a guilt free cake fix? If so, you've found the right place - grab a cup of tea and read on....

Banana and peanut butter cookies

For me baking is more than the act of making a cake or batch of biscuits. Of course I love the finished product as much as the next person....there is something wonderful about a cup of tea and freshly baked goods....but I also love the process of baking.

The combining of different ingredients, the stirring and mixing, folding and beating. Following a recipe or making it up as you go along (shock horror...I do that sometimes!). The smells as your bakes rise in the oven and the sight of the finished cake or biscuit. I love it all - it soothes my soul and makes me happy. Sharing the bakes with others is also pretty good, the widening smile when someone sees your cakes and sigh as they bite into a piece....alright, I'm a bit of a cake feeder!

The Covid-19 pandemic has meant we're all staying at home to slow the spread and I know we've all been coping with the social distancing in different ways. Some people are learning new skills via the internet, some cleaning their cupboards and garages from top to bottom. Some are making their way through their "to read" book pile and others are watching the whole of Netfix! For me I'm part of the baking tribe that is sharing their bakes on social media, although I have to say I haven't made a single banana loaf (I manage to eat all my bananas before they go brown). 

Easter Sunday pancakes!

I've tried lots of new recipes, enjoying taking the time to read my recipe books to pick bakes that I have the ingredients for (no longer having the luxury of nipping to the shops for missing items). I've also enjoyed a virtual baking session with a friend via video call - she baked banana brownies and I made a coffee crumb cake, it was great fun and we both had cake to enjoy at the end.

Since I've been so busy baking I thought I would share what I've made and why I've upped my exercise levels!

The coffee crumb cake I mentioned above was really good, a lovey light vanilla sponge topped with a coffee and mixed spice flavoured crumb. The crumb has a streusel-like quality to it, giving the bake a pleasing combination of textures. I also enjoyed how well the mixed spice paired with the coffee flavour. The cake was nice served with a dollop of clotted cream and a hot drink! 

I've tried my hand at several different biscuit recipes recently and found that I really enjoy biscuit making. Most of my bakes previously would be in cake form or using very basic biscuit recipes, so I enjoyed learning new techniques. 

I've made some delicious Viennese butter biscuits, dipped in chocolate and slightly fiery ginger custard creams. The butter biscuits are a pipped biscuit and incredibly light and buttery. The custard creams were a completely new bake for me and I struggled a little with the biscuit dough. I'm glad I finished them though because they were delicious.

I also made a batch of crunchy ginger biscuits which I enjoyed with a cup of super sweet Dalgona coffee (I felt like I was in a coffee shop with this luxurious homemade coffee!).

I also made slightly bizarre millionaire shortbread....the reason they were a bit bizarre in the flavour department was because I had run out of normal milk chocolate for the topping and only had Cadburys limited edition Christmas gingerbread chocolate to melt! Slightly odd flavour to mix with the dreamy caramel, but I enjoyed them anyway! Millionaire shortbread always hits the spot with its combination of shortbread, caramel and chocolate.

I hope you've enjoyed taking a peek at my latest baking creations. As our government has announced that the lock down will last at least another three weeks I'm sure there will be lots more bakes to follow so watch this space! If you have any recipes you think I should try, leave me a message in the comments below!

Thank you for popping by today,

Friday, 17 April 2020

Birthday Cake in Lock Down!

Hello there cake lovers!

I hope you are all keeping well.

It's been a while hasn't it....all my blog posts seem to start like that at the moment! Well, it's now April 2020 and the UK has been social distancing and staying at home for three weeks now as part of the emergency response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Wow, it's like I'm writing a novel or horror movie, who would have thought that 2020 would start like this!

Personally I've worked from home for five weeks now and because I live alone, I've not seen any of my friends or family in five weeks too....its been an odd time, full of ups and downs. But I haven't started talking to my plants yet, which is always a bonus! But that's not what you're here for....you're here for the cake!

So, in the middle of all this I turned 41...

Yep....I decorated my house with balloons!

….those of you that know me, know that I love my Birthday. Its time to celebrate with friends and family, and have a good time. I had been dreading the day if I am honest, but on reflection it wasn't that bad at all and I managed to enjoy the day. I took the day off wort time crafting and talking to friends, I received lots of Birthday love.....plus there was cake!

Isn't that the most beautiful cake!

It comes from the BakeHouse Surrey a local baker called Rachel who is based in the Guildford area. I contacted Rachel via Instagram on a whim because I decided last minute that I wanted to enjoy some fresh cake on my birthday to cheer myself up and I'm so glad that I did.

Rachel talked to me about my cake requirements....size of cake, favourite flavours etc. I opted for vanilla cake with fresh berries and then sat back and waited for the big day. Rachel's cakes on Instagram all looked really pretty and so I was excited for the delivery.

When the cake arrived I was slightly overwhelmed, it was taller than I expected and so pretty. It was topped with fresh strawberries, pieces of fresh chocolate brownie and homemade passionfruit macarons. It also featured a drip finish and had tiny hearts around the bottom

The sponge itself was fresh and light, with a good vanilla flavour and the cake was filled with buttercream and jam. The perfect combination!

The Brownie pieces on the top are super delicious - they have the right gooey, dense texture and a great chocolatey taste.... I wish I had more! Rachel also makes traybakes and cupcakes as well as big celebration cakes. Information on getting in touch are all on the Instagram page (link above).

I had already decided to make myself an afternoon tea for lunch on the day and the cake took pride of place.....

I am so pleased that I reached out to Bakehouse Surrey, everything about the transaction and delivery was easy and efficient and the cake really made my day. 

I'm probably going to be living off cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a while now! 

I hope anyone else who is celebrating their Birthday at the moment has a lovely day....don't forget to eat cake!

Thanks for popping by today,

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Cat Food Cakes - Halloween subscription box

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - I hope you're ready for some spooky treats today!

I've been an admirer of the Cat Food Cakes creations for a long time now - the cakes always look so scrummy on Instagram and the flavours sound amazing. It's a bit of a mission for me to get over to her bakery, which is open on a Saturday morning....but I've discovered that she also offers mail order boxes of scrummy treats! Available as a subscription (a cake subscription is possibly the best subscription ever - just imagine.....cakes arriving through the post every month!) or as one-off boxes, it's a great way to enjoy some scrummy treats yourself or to treat a friend.

I decided to try out the Halloween themed box from Cat Food Cakes (you know I love a good themed cake!).....and I wasn't disappointed! The treats were all freshly baked and well packed, so they arrived in perfect condition. Each box has a cake pot, cake pops, brownies, a marshmallow and bar of chocolate - something for everyone...

Cat Food Cakes - Halloween Box
It was so exciting to receive the pink box through the post - what a wonderful treat! Unboxing the treats was also fun as it was all themed, including the napkin and bar of chocolate! Now you'll have to forgive me because I got a little excited and although I have sampled everything, there aren't photos of everything - whoops! 

The cake pot was divine - a pot of spiced pumpkin cake with vanilla cream cheese buttercream. It reminded me a little of carrot cake, but better! The cake was moist and well balanced with the buttercream. I ate mine in several sittings as the pot is quite big, it was really easy to decant the cake and buttercream from the pot.

The two spooky cake pops on sticks were huge! Made with vanilla cookie dough and dark chocolate chips, dipped in white chocolate. They were super sweet, but balanced with the dark chocolate chips. 

Now I'm afraid the brownie was where I managed to not take photos! In my box I had one slice which was stuffed with marshmallow and Oreo cookies and a slice of blondie decorated with sprinkles. Both were soft and scrummy, brilliant washed down with a cup of tea! The chocolate one was probably my favourite. Again the portion size is very generous, as you get a big bar of each brownie in the box. 

Finally you have the bar of chocolate (which I haven't tucked into yet) and the coconut marshmallow which will be going into my next mug of hot chocolate!

All in all you get a great variety in the box and the portion sizes are great throughout. You can cut the various bits into smaller pieces and enjoy a taster plate! The one-off box is £29.99 including delivery (you get a 15% discount if you subscribe), and the cakes are all fresh, well made and oh so enjoyable! There are different subscription / gift options - take a peek at the website for more information. 

Have you tried any other mail order cakes that I should know about (this is a brand new world to me!!), if so leave me a comment - I think I need to investigate more!

Thank you for popping by today,

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Time for Tea....CUTcakes and Tea....45 Park Lane

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends......we hope you're feeling tea-riffic today!

Last weekend we had the absolute pleasure of visiting 45 Park Lane to try their American inspired afternoon tea at CUT. The afternoon tea launched in Autumn of last year and I've seen lots of scrummy photos of the American inspired savouries and sweets....so we decided it was high time we tried out this indulgent afternoon tea adventure for ourselves.

CUTcakes and Tea is served in the hotel's lounge, which is modern and stylish. We were greeted by name on arrival and all the waiting staff very friendly and knowledgeable about the afternoon tea and also the hotel and it's large art collection.

After we picked our drinks (you can pick from a good selection of teas, coffees or hot chocolate), the savoury plate was brought out....

Now as you may have guessed, this isn't a traditional afternoon tea....and there isn't a single finger sandwich to be seen on the savoury plate. But I have to say it was a wonderful plate! The current savoury selection includes:

‘Guest Dog’ by restaurant Bubbledogs chef Sandia Chang Golden Corndog, Southern BBQ Sauce
Wagyu Beef Slider, Shallot Marmalade, Cheddar
Fried Chicken & Buttermilk Bisquets Coleslaw, Jalapeño Aioli
Tuna Tartare ‘Sandwich’, Avocado, Ginger
Crab Cake, Basil Aioli, Tomato Relish

Such a good selection of freshly prepared bites!

The aroma from the plate was mouth watering and it was hard to decide where to start first. Both fish dishes were fresh and the flavours within the mini dishes balanced well. I was pleased to discover that the crab cake was not stuffed full of potato like so many others.

The corndog was light and very tasty, I loved the Southern BBQ sauce which was sweet and spicy - my first ever corndog was a success! It's also very pretty to look at, with a golden tint to the batter!

The chicken in biscuit was also light....I've only had American biscuits once before and they were quite stodgy. These were fluffy in the middle and worked really well with the chicken. The piece of chicken was succulent and hot!

The mini slider was so cute....built exactly how a normal slider would be put together, complete with mini pickle! It took about three bites to eat and I loved every mouthful. We were asked how we wanted the slider cooking, which I thought was a nice touch.

I don't think I've ever taken so many photos of the savoury dishes!!

Next came a mini banana and toffee milkshake.....again extremely cute in appearance and big on flavour. I really enjoyed the milkshake, which was rich and creamy and had a wonderful banana flavour (which wasn't at all artificial).

Now came the nod to the traditional afternoon tea..... a scone, which clotted cream and strawberry preserve. The scones were served warm and we were given a mixed berry jam as well as the strawberry preserve, due to a strawberry allergy in the group.

Now this might look like all the other scones on our blog....but this is different....this was described as one of the best scones in London....and claim is actually true! Having eaten rather a lot of scones across London, we are often told that the scone we are about to enjoy is the best....but unfortunately it's often not! So often the scones are either under baked or over baked, with a claggy texture. 

This scone was light as air, didn't fall apart when cut and made the perfect base for the cream and jam! It was well baked, not at all claggy and had a wonderful glaze.

Finally we made it to the sweet selection.... sorry for the awful photo....

As you can see there is a good selection, again all inspired by American favourites:
Peanut Butter Pie
Crème Brûlée Doughnut
Red Velvet Cupcake
Graham Cracker S’more
There is also a Pink Lemonade Cake Pop, which I missed from the photos!

It was hard to decide which order to eat these in and by this point I was a little worried that I would get too full (I wanted to enjoy everything in the lounge rather than take it home on the train!).

As simple as it sounds - the crème brulee doughnut was so good, a fresh doughnut full of a crème brulee custard. I could have eaten several of them! I enjoyed the fresh raspberry with the red velvet cake. The peanut butter pie had a lovely berry jam in the middle, giving a sweetness to the peanut flavour. The S'more was messy, but very scrummy - with a layer of chocolate sauce. 

This is a more expensive afternoon tea, perfect for a celebration. But it's worth every penny....the food is fresh and tasty, the service unpretentious but attentive and the setting relaxed yet refined. It's what I look for in an afternoon tea - the whole experience. 

To find out more about this afternoon tea pop by the 45 Park Lane website. We'll definitely we back again when they refresh the menu.

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna