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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Oh God, that looks good!!!
Well done you and that cake for not crumbling under the pressure ; ) xx


Baking and Books – two of my very favourite things! And I cannot believe this was without a recipe book either…

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