English Afternoon Tea

It’s been a week of baking and spring cleaning, which culminated in afternoon tea at my flat in Camden, North London for five girlfriends and me, accompanied by piles of dog-eared books we had all bought to talk about. Normally, I wouldn’t forensically clean & tidy for tea, but this wasn’t a casual get together: it was being photographed and filmed by my friends at Red magazine for a really lovely collaboration we are doing together with Wedgwood to promote women and books – and, of course, the way women like to gather to talk and eat cake.

So that’s the reason why I’ve been a little bit in absentia this week on the blog: the flat needed a proper top down tidy, so Emily & I took the opportunity to clear out every single cupboard, drawer, nook and and cranny. And, of course, when you take everything out, you have to put it all back in again. *sigh*.

And then there was the baking.

I made scones and biscuits (cookies) and brownies and tartlettes, as well as two kinds of sandwiches…

I am a little bit (actually VERY) smug about both having made my first ever triple layer cake, and succeeding in my first ever attempt at Swiss meringue buttercream. I was super duper nervous about cutting into it in front of my friends AND the film crew, but oh I could have cried with relief/joy when it didn’t collapse…All I can say is thank you to my mama (hands down the best cook I know) for giving me the confidence in the kitchen that means I don’t get scared and can wing a cake like this without a recipe book.

So here is my Blackberry & Lemon Layer Cake on its lovely Waterford cake stand. I made a Blackberry and Creme de Cassis jam the night before, inspired partly by an old American Country Living magazine recipe, to fill it, and used some of the deep purple juice to colour the Swiss meringue buttercream which was both filling and frosting.

Blackberry & lemon layer cake

(You’ll be able to read the story I wrote on women and books in Red‘s November issue, out shortly and see the film at Red online.)

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21 comments

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Hats off to you Sasha. I can’t believe you made that without a recipe book, that’s incredible. Yum yum yum!

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@annie: Neither can I?! LLGxx

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That Cake looks incredible :), your so talented

http://haideeandco.blogspot.co.uk

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Oh my, that cake looks amazing!

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Check you out missus! Look forward to reading the article.

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Your cake looks delicious. Recipe please!

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@Lucy: It’s basically a Victoria sponge, but will post the jam recipe shortly. (I’m keeping back recipes for the book at the moment!) LLGxx

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@LLG: I can’t wait for the book! Crap at cooking but the visuals, oh the salivating 😉 xx

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What a tableau! Gorgeous.

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Gosh, the cake looks just amazing – I really need to master the ol’ meringue buttercream.

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@KSalty: It is SO easy, I promise. That was my first ever attempt and it just worked like a dream. LLGxx

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What a beautiful spread and cake! The fact that you made it without a recipe is…inspiring, for one thing! Swiss meringue buttercream sounds delicious. I will definitely check out the film.

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@CW: Thank you! I’ll post a link when it goes up. LLGxx

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Red is ones of my favourites so I cannot wait to read your article.
My family are complete bookworms and this has certainly been passed onto me.
My friends and I have created our own book circle, passing books on once we have read them and after we have all had a read they either get passed onto a wider circle, such as my mum in Devon and her friends, or donated to the local charity shop.
I for one could not live without the written word as I find so much pleasure in reading and I feel so sorry for those less fortunate than ourselves who cannot read and write; to me is is something so basic and yet to many in the wider world it is still a luxury; food for thought indeed.
PS – your cake looks totally divine, honey x

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@Hannah Chan: Oh I know exactly what you mean. Reading is my absolute pleasure and I just can’t imagine life without it. And thank you. LLGxx

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Looks like a slice of heaven – do you have a recipe for Blackberry and Creme de Cassis jam? When is your cookery book coming out? I feel i want to cook a whole month’s worth of your recipes!!

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@Penny: Crazy lady – and I love you for it! I don;t know is the simple answer, but it’s en route! And jam recipe coming up soon. (It’s dead simple.) LLGxx

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