Layers Of Celebration
Awaiting the arrival of this mysterious summer season here in Wales, I’ve quite literally aged. I’m approaching my thirties now & the cake is beginning to catch up with me. Luckily, my years of wisdom have provided me with confidence in myself & my decisions (in other words, I think **** it a lot).
Now, I’ve never really been one for partying & drinking away my hard-earned money. In true respectable lady style this year, as I do most years, I took a short break away & enjoyed probably the best meal I’ve ever eaten in any establishment (if you ever find yourself in Wales, I highly recommend Wright’s Food Emporium). The trip was a few relaxing days away exploring Oxford, which in short was a small taste of what’s to come in Venice later this year, unveiled my true inner Harry Potter nerd & may or may not have contained afternoon tea.
As a baker, I of course made my own birthday cake. This year I couldn’t decide so I opted for my all-time favourites… a three-tiered, berry filled, naked, carrot cake topped with all of my favourite things (you’re never too old for Party Rings). I ate 80% of this.
Carrot cake was the first recipe that I published & it just so happens that this post was a whole year ago, meaning that The Marmalade Teapot is also celebrating its birthday (or blogiversary if you will)! Over the past year I’ve brought you 44 recipes from my cluttered little kitchen. I still haven’t received a publishing contract as of yet or established my tea rooms (here’s hoping for year two) but MT has gained some momentum & it’s an absolute joy reading all of your comments & simply knowing that someone out there is reading (& hopefully baking). Thank you for your time & kind words it is infinitely appreciated!
Cake is undoubtedly appropriate. Indulging my own preferences again, I’ve decided not to be cliché & bring you a recipe for a good marmalade cake or one shaped like a teapot (both of which exist) but one containing two of my most favoured ingredients… tea & honey. The perfect companions in a large steaming mug, however today I use them slightly differently. Virtually fuelled by tea, I am forever fascinated with new techniques to translate those flavours into my baking. Thus far, I prefer to add the tea leaves directly into whatever I’m creating, I find that this does a far superior job of infusing its flavour than steeping to flavour a liquid ingredient.
A classic partnership is that of chamomile tea & honey. Chamomile tea is made from a flower similar to the daisy (in essence it’s a herb) & is widely known for its health benefits, most notably for its calming properties. It’s fragrant, floral taste works well with the natural sweetness of honey (I’d recommend an orange blossom). Of course these wonderful healing properties & health boosts are pretty much nullified here but heck it’s worth it. Fragrant sponges, filled & topped with a crown of sweetened whipped cream & a glisten of honey. An afternoon tea worthy cake fit for a queen.
CHAMOMILE & HONEY CAKE
(makes one 20cm sandwich)
For the cake:
- 225g butter
- 225g caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 3 tbsp chamomile tea (taken from 6-8 teabags)
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 225g self-raising flour
For the filling & topping:
- 300ml double cream
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp honey
- Cream together the butter & sugar until light & pale
- Beat in the eggs one at a time to the butter, followed by the honey & vanilla extract
- Empty the tea bags in a mortar & grind the tea leaves until fine & fragrant
- Sift the flour & chamomile tea over the mixture & fold through
- Divide the mixture between the sandwich tins, greased & lined with baking parchment
- Bake at 180C for 30 minutes
- Allow the cakes to cool in their tins for 10 minutes before removing & allowing to cool completely on a cooling rack
- To make the cream filling & topping, using a whisk or hand mixer, whip up the double cream & vanilla until thick & light
- Use a piping bag to pipe droplets of the whipped cream on top of both cakes
- Sandwich the cakes together & use the remaining honey to drizzle over the top of the cake