Saturday 22 January 2011

Baking Round-Up!

I'm sorry I've been AWOL for the past couple of days...I've been so busy with work and writing that I haven't found a minute to spare. BUT I did remember to take pictures, so I can now post a mammoth catch up from the end of the week!
Above is the Coffee & Walnut Cake I made...a real English favourite that always sells amazingly well.
The plain cake is made with ground walnuts, which mean that the cake is never dry and has a wonderfully deep flavour. When it had cooled I cut it in half...

and sandwiched it together with coffee buttercream...

making sure that there was plenty left to swirl on top. Then I finished with a generous sprinkle of broken walnut pieces..

I could actually do with a big slice of this right now
as we've just returned from a freezing but beautiful long walk with Alice and I'm having a cup of hot Earl Grey as I write. But, in fact, it's all been sold already...I'm pleased to say!
I also invented a new traybake (I think I invented it, at least I've never seen it before!)

It had a crisp, buttery polenta shortbread base, studded with dried sour cherries and topped with a light vanilla sponge cake baked with fresh cherries. So a sort of soft yet crunchy vanilla double cherry delight!

I did manage to sneak an edge as I cut it up (just to consumer test, you understand) & the sour/sweet tenderness was's now going in my book!
Another old favourite were Buttermilk Raisin Scones....first I rubbed the butter into the flour& sugar until it was well mixed and added the raisins...

then I mixed buttermilk & eggs, poured it over the dry ingredients and mixed lightly with a blunt knife to form a soft dough...

patted the dough out and cut into rounds which I glazed with more buttermilk and sprinkled with demerara sugar..

before baking in a hot oven until well risen and golden brown...

at The Coffee Tree they were served warm,with a little dish of softened butter to spread. Yummy!
So that's a round-up of the baking adventures.. I also splashed out and bought two new baking books. One that I've wanted for a long time...

Rose's Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum. It looks wonderful - a real encyclopaedia of cakes, which I sometimes need when I run out of inspiration. The other is one that was recommended to me by my dear friend Kary at My Farmhouse Kitchen who received a copy as a Christmas present

Sarabeth's Bakery, by Sarabeth Levine. I've only had a chance to have a very quick look so far, but it seems just my sort of thing and I can't wait to try some recipes out. Hopefully, Kary & I will ve trying out the same recipe on our blogs soon and comparing results in our posts, which will be so exciting!

So that's the end of another week. I'm looking forward to the next one already. I have my monthly stall on our Farmer's Market on Tuesday, which means a lot of work but is always fun (and cold!) I hope that you have a wonderful weekend. Thanks so much for reading, and for your lovely comments which mean so much to me xo


  1. You come up with the most yummy looking confections Rachel. So much fun imagining having tea and one of your delights.
    Can't wait for your book. You are such a hard working young women baking all the time and writing too! Hope it warms up soon so you won't be so cold at the farmers market. The markets here are all inside until Spring, then the outdoor ones open.

  2. It all looks delicious, Rachel. Oh your lucky customers at The Coffee Tree and Farmer's Market! I love to think that we both come to your blog with our cups of tea, you to write, me to read. Your cookbook is going to be amazing!

  3. Your coffee walnut cake looks delicious. It's quite a while since I've made one, maybe next week...
    Is there any possibility that I could contact you by email? I would like to ask a couple of questions about pricing and how to go about it as I have been asked to do some afternoon tea and birthday cakes. If so could you contact me at
    I would really appreciate your advice. I'm Hummus Boy's sister in law just in case you are worried about contacting in person.
    Thankyou Helen

  4. Rachel,
    Everything you make always looks wonderful! I am so looking forward to your cookbook. Will be such a treat!! I must say, your coffee and walnut cake looks DELICIOUS! Looking forward to seeing your farmer's market creations! Hope you stay warm out there! xoxo

  5. Oh gosh don't they all look wonderful--hard for me to choose but I think maybe I'd have a scone right now, maybe cause I just woke up. The new Heavenly CAkes is lovely--I enjoyed reading it cover to cover as I do all new cookbooks, tho haven't yet made anything from it. Sarabeth's began around the corner from my NY apt and I used to go there all the time. I learned my scrambled eggs with chives and cream cheese from her. Now she has several places in NYC much fancier than her first place--at least I think they're still there. Would love to see that cookbook--wonder if her sugar cookies are in it. Have a wonderful weekend reading them. In RLB Christmas Cookie book she has a dog biscuit recipe (think it's in that one) so let Alice know she's included too.

  6. Rachel....I can almost see you sitting there with your tea and writing. I hope you know how much your blog updates are appreciated!! Do you typically not frost the sides of the cake? I love it that way but was wondering if that is typical? I love the little round scones as well. I just purchased some of that sugar and will try it with my next scones to test out the flavor!! You are such an inspiration to me!! xx

  7. Everything sounds delicious, especially the walnut cake with coffee buttercream! A cup of Earl Grey sounds good just now!

  8. I don't want to have to choose, and don't feel I should have to. So I'm going to have a slice of walnut cake and a scone please, and a cup of Earl Grey! Wonderful wonderful as always xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


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