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Hummingbird Bakery

15 Dec

Did you enjoy a cupcake today? I visited London’s Hummingbird Bakery, the branch on Wardour Street, and treated myself to a scumptious red velvet cupcake to celebrate National Cupcake Day. Glorious.

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National Cupcake Day

14 Dec

Now Beatrice, before you start, I know that cupcakes are an American treat and that the English version is our own traditional butterfly cake. However, that doesn’t stop one enjoying snacking upon several when the time comes, especially when they are still warm from your AGA. And now that you’ve perfected the cake, I can happily say that I will continue to relish your cupcakes. Indeed, I enjoyed the perfection trials immensely!

Tomorrow, December 15th, is National Cupcake Day in the U.S. What a fantastic day to have! It’s just as well I don’t reside across the pond as I fear that this Algenon would be far too fat to fit into his braces. However, just because our American friends will be enjoying the experience doesn’t mean that we can’t either. Of course, I won’t be able to revel in the fantasticulously lovely Magnolia’s Bakery cupcakes, as seen on screen in Sex and the City, but that doesn’t put an end to my plan. London has a number of fantastic outlets, including Lola’s available in the Selfridge’s food hall and the famed Hummingbird Bakery. So, one way or another, I will be breaking from English tradition and enjoying an American holiday for one day. Please don’t scold me – and don’t tell Lady Shropshire, she’d be horrified

BEREMEAL APPLE SULTANA and HONEY CAKE

5 Dec

Leonora dearest. I thought I must let you have my recipe for the beremeal cake which we shared last night with Algenon and Bunny. I have adapted the recipe from one I was given in a delightful shop The House of Beauly, in Beauly Scotland, just north of Inverness. This was where I first encountered this wonderful cereal which tastes so good and is so marvellous for entertaining friends on a wheat free diet.

I love the way you use the whole apple, core and all. You need to use butter (not margarine) and good dark molasses sugar. It does work best with separate cream of tartar and bicarb- but use baking powder (2 teaspoons) if you don’t have the separate ingredients. I use an 8” cake tin, well buttered- there’s no need to line with paper.

Sultanas 2 oz

Butter 2 ½ oz

Molasses cane sugar 3 ½ oz

Eggs 1

Beremeal  6oz

Cinnamon  1 teaspoon

Bicarbonate of soda 1 ½ teaspoon

Cream of tartar ½ teaspoon

Sea salt  ½ teaspoon

Desert or Cooking apple 7 oz –to the nearest whole apple

Honey about 1 tablespoon- less if using a sweet desert apple

First soak the sultanas for about 20 mins (or more) in warm water or apple juice. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and whisk in the sugar until it dissolves.  Chop the apple into chunks, add the butter/sugar mixture and whiz up in a food processor or blender- to a liquid, then blend in the egg. Mix together the beremeal, cream of tartar, bicarb of soda and salt and add to the liquid mixture with the drained sultanas and the honey. Give it a quick mix to turn into a soft dough then put into the cake tin.

I use the top (roasting) oven of the aga, so I put the cake tin into the aga cake baker but you can use a conventional oven at gas mark 4, 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C.  It takes about 1 hour 15 mins to cook- it should feel quite springy when its ready. After I take it out of the oven I warm a little honey and drizzle it onto the top.

I am so looking forward to hearing about the cupcakes you making for your friend’s baby shower- I don’t suppose you’ll have any over, but if you do Algenon  and  I will be most happy to taste them.

Bea

Wheat-free Baking

1 Dec

Leonora dearest I am distraught.

I have nearly finished the beremeal I brought back from my jaunt to Scotland this summer with the  gun dog. I found this wonderful flour made from a type of primative barley,  just perfect for Bunny and her wheat allergy. I’ve been making this lovely recipe with apple, a sort of  sultana fruit cake. I am going to make one of these cakes for the weekend but then my stock will be gone and I have just gone on the website for Barony Mills in the Orkneys and they don’t seem to supply it on the internet and the other supplier Golspie Mill in Sutherland is “out of stock until further notice”. What am I to do?

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