Yelly Eats

So I baked a cake!

I’ve always loved giving gifts.  I won’t usually settle for just a gift card (unless they ask for it specifically) because I like knowing that when the person rips open the wrapping paper and opens the box, the gift is something they know was made or purchased especially with them in mind.  I also love gift-wrapping presents.  I need to make the present look pretty, even if it’s just a present plonked into a gift bag – I have to have tissue wrapping in the gift bag!

Lately, I’ve taken to baking my gifts to friends.  I like to think my skill as a baker has moved forward and my bakes are delicious and decadent enough for people to feel special they received cake or pastry baked by me.

I baked a chocolate Guinness cake and cupcakes for a birthday celebration that we attended during the weekend.  It was a get-together we had planned with our Filipino friends ages ago to celebrate the July birthdays and the early August birthday.

I needed to test frosting colours to so I made extra cupcakes to try the colours out.  I was trying for a marbled effect but it didn’t quite work for the cupcakes so I’ll have to look at more YouTube videos and figure out a better technique for the particular effect I was going for.  It was a good thing my batch did 2 dozen cupcakes.  The leftover batter filled about 9 mini bundt pans but they stuck to the cake moulds so they stayed home.

Photo © Teddy Sardua

I iced 22 cupcakes (mostly because that was what fit in the box!).   With the disaster that were the rainbow marble cupcakes (they mostly looked very Rastafarian!) I tried for a fuschia-y pink shade but the first try turned out more lavender than pink (it kind of suited because some of the birthday celebrators went to Mayfield Lavender Fields on a day trip to take fabulous pictures).  I knew where I went wrong but daren’t add more food colouring because I didn’t want the frosting to taste too artificial!

Photo © Teddy Sardua

I was quite pleased with the way my large cake came out.  It was very detail-heavy because it had swirly roses, piping all around it and silver dragèe balls.  Once I finished icing the cake, I moved it to the box I was going to carry it in and OH MY GOODNESS!  It was quite a substantial weight.  I think I weighed over 2.5 kg!

Photo © @chic.wanders.in

I was pleased that my friends and Alan loved their cake.  They loved the flavours and the loved the cake enough to take photos and style the cake before they shot the photographs.   Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting your photos on Instagram.  I’m so…tickled pink (Sorry! It had to be said!)!

Photo © @chic.wanders.in

I might be on to a good thing!

*Thank you to @mutyyyaaa and @chic.wanders.in for letting me use their photos of the cakes on this blog post. Mucho appreciated guys! Love you!❤️

 

 

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Yelly Eats

Remembering The Cavendish

It was horribly busy at work today and tomorrow is going to be an even longer day.  It’s Budget Day tomorrow and the firm I work for has a post budget presentation for its clients.  Tomorrow will be a long day because we’ll be prepping materials for the presentations.

Ah well!  I’m in my happy place though because I’m still thinking about last Tuesday when I had afternoon tea at The Cavendish.

I’d never been to The Cavendish but it was easy enough to get to because it was right behind Fortnum and Mason.  The hotel was understated but it was quietly elegant.

We gave our names at bar concierge and I felt fairly special as we were made to feel like they were expecting us.  We were led to a quite corner of the Lounge Bar and were given menus so we could choose our teas.Tea - Afternoon Tea at The Cavendish

Afternoon Tea at The Cavendish is from 2 to 5PM everyday and they charge £18 per person.  This includes a pot of tea for each person, a selection of finger sandwiches: Wicks Manor smoked ham with whole grain mustard, egg mayonnaise with rocket salad, Scottish smoked salmon with cucumber and cream cheese, and cheddar cheese and pickle; a selection of pastries, tartlets and chocolate truffles and scones with jam and clotted cream.  The £18 also includes a glass of champagne but I opted for the non-alcoholic option of passion fruit juice.

Passionfruit Juice - Afternoon Tea at The Cavendish

On the menu it looked like a substantial amount of food but I wasn’t prepared for the amount of food that was brought to the table.  It was a LOT!  We ordered afternoon tea for two people but the food that was brought to the table could have easily fed four people very generously.

Sandwiches - Afternoon Tea at The Cavendish

I loved the service because the staff were wonderfully friendly and attentive.  We were looked after well.  I appreciated the fact that they offered to refill our teapots with hot water.  The teapots held about two cups worth of tea and water costs next to nothing, but not ever establishment will offer to refill your teapot.  I loved that about the Cavendish.  While it is expected for most establishments to offer a non-alcoholic option, not every place does.  We were given a lot of options to replace our glasses of champagne and I must say, the passion fruit juice that I had was wonderfully fresh!

Scones Jam Cream - Afternoon Tea at The Cavendish

When the afternoon tea tray was brought to the table, it was brought to us with a slight flourish and the waiter explained the contents of each plate.  There were 2 scones for each person with large pots filled with delicious clotted cream and lovely jam.  There were more than enough sandwiches which were generously filled.  I love smoked salmon and the sandwiches were stuffed to bursting!  You certainly get what you pay for and more!

Am now looking at my calendar and planning my next visit!

The sweet element was the mini cakes, tartlets and chocolate truffles and they were lovely!  They were cute, individual pieces and very beautifully made.

Sweet treats - Afternoon Tea at The Cavendish

At one point during the meal, I certainly worried about not being able to finish the food (we couldn’t manage it in the end) because there was so much of it.  I would definitely recommend having afternoon tea at The Cavendish.  The venue is quiet and has the element of privacy even though the space is quite open plan.  You get wonderfully attentive service from the staff and the food is definitely value for money.

I’m certainly looking forward to the next visit!

Yelly Eats

Afternoon Tea at the Delaunay Counter

I grew up drinking some sort of tea.  Tea was a part of the Filipino diet, but I remember that it was mostly for medicinal purposes.  Ginger tea was for sore throats and laryngitis.  Peppermint was for muscle aches and pains.  My dad had this plant called kumis kucing that everyone swore helped kidney issues and kidney stones.

Being an Anglophile at a very young age, I always had tea, with lemon and not cream, although this was probably not very British in the afternoons while I was studying.  I had tea in a cup and a saucer (most probably with my pinkie in the air too!).  I felt very grown up with my tea and my slice of lemon (which was actually a wedge of calamansi, the indigenous citrus fruit from the Philippines).  It wasn’t until I saw this film about a little girl, all dressed up, going to a posh looking restaurant being served tea, dainty sandwiches and being asked by a waiter to choose cakes from a heavily laden trolley that I started reading about “proper” afternoon tea.


Afternoon tea is a small meal typically eaten between 3PM and 5PM.  The Duchess of Bedford is rumoured to have transformed afternoon tea into a late afternoon meal rather than just a simple way of getting refreshment.  As far as I understand it, there are 2 types of afternoon tea: high tea and cream tea.  High tea is also known as a meat tea where one is served savoury and sweet dishes.  Cucumber sandwiches and smoked salmon sandwiches are usually a staple.  And of course one gets the cakes and the scones, clotted cream and jam.  Another kind of afternoon tea is the cream tea.  Cream tea is usually tea served with scones and clotted cream.

Since moving to the UK, I’ve been wanting to go to afternoon tea.  I wanted to go to a proper high tea with silver service but they were quite pricey.  Since I quite enjoyed baking, one aspect of afternoon tea that I knew I was going to enjoy was looking at all the pretty cakes served on those pretty cake stands.  I first attempted to find a place serving afternoon tea somewhere near me.  But I couldn’t really find anywhere suitable.  The London locations were fairly expensive but I really wanted to try it so to me, it was a matter of finding the right place and making the appropo reservations.

Funny how the most wonderful experiences are the most unexpected.  The Delaunay Counter was a restaurant that I often saw but never really considered.  It looked terribly posh from outside so I automatically assumed that the prices would be way beyond my budget.  But a few weeks ago, I actually looked at the prices and found them quite reasonable and I made a mental note to go back there for afternoon tea because £11.75 per person was a reasonable price to pay for afternoon tea (I promptly lost that mental note!).


When I finally remembered to go (after Alan reminded me!) I wasn’t expecting much.  The Delaunay Counter was mostly a self-serve and take away part of the The Delaunay Restaurant and if you wanted to eat in, you went to the counter to place your order.  But the staff were lovely and absolutely friendly, and when the tea was brought to us, I thought the price we paid was more than reasonable!

You get a pot of tea, enough milk for your tea, 5 different types of sandwiches, 2 different cakes, a scone and clotted cream and jam.  Everything is presented very beautifully on a 3-tiered cake stand and glass tea pot.  You get to choose your tea.  I love a good strong tea, but apparently, traditionally (and I could be wrong!), you should choose Earl Grey or English Breakfast.  Only recently have I learned that Assam is also a good tea to choose for afternoon tea as its strong flavour compliments the savoury and sweet elements from the food served.

If you are looking for a place to have tea, head on to the Delaunay Counter on 55 Aldwych Street (it’s near the theatre where Mamma Mia is) in London.  The place is lovely, with a lot of quirky Austrian-themed posters in lovely wooden frames.  The staff are lovely but efficient.  Apart from the afternoon tea, there is a lovely (and very tempting) selection of cakes.  They, apparently, have the best Sacher Torte in London and I am quite inclined to agree having sampled it myself.  They also serve salads and hot sandwiches and they do a daily roast too.  According to the menu they also serve breakfasts from 7AM on weekdays.  There is a distinct Austrian feel to the menu with the schnitzels and the gugelhopfs on offer.  But it is definitely worth the visit.  You won’t regret it!

Photo credit:

The Delaunay Counter – http://www.facebook.com/DelaunayCounter