Sunday, 29 June 2014

tour: Wilton's Music Hall

Wilton's Music Hall in Shadwell is the world's oldest grand music hall. They run weekly history tours into the auditorium and back rooms which offer a unique chance to nose around the building when it is not being used and to find out more about London's music halls, in particular how Wilton's started and how it has managed to survive two world wars, redevelopment and dereliction.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

baking: Exit Pursued By A Bear Cake

In April, to celebrate William Shakespeare's birthday, the V&A ran a competition called Cakespeare for people to make cakes inspired by the Bard. There were some amazing designs; this is my effort. Obviously it didn't win. The cake, like everything I make, is an easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy sponge.

The Cake
275g caster sugar
300g butter
6 large eggs
300g flour
25g cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp baking powder 3 tsp milk

Cream half the butter and half the sugar, then beat in three of the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla and give the mixture an extra blitz until smooth. Finally sift in 150g of flour and one tablespoon of baking powder together and gently fold in with a spatula. Set aside. This will form the white part of the marble cake.

Next cream the remaining butter and the sugar, then beat in the last of the eggs one at a time and again blitz the mixture until smooth. Finally sift in the flour and cocoa powder together and gently fold in with a spatula. This will form the chocolate part of the marble cake.

To marble the cake, put one large tablespoon of white mixture into a greased and lined baking tray and then dollop one large tablespoon of the chocolate mixture on top of that and repeated over until all the mixture was in the bowl. Don't be tempted to mix it all together or spread it out, the weight of the mixture will do all the work itself.

The Icing
200g icing sugar
100g unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cocoa powder

Cream the butter and vanilla until thick but spreadable. Separate a quarter of the mixture and add the cocoa powder for the cake filling. Pipe the rest of the vanilla icing over the cake.

The Chocolate Shards
1 small bar of plain chocolate

Melt the chocolate, pour over a sheet of baking paper and cover with a second sheet. Using a rolling pin gently roll the melted chocolate between the two pieces of baking paper until thin. Put in a fridge to harden. Once hardened the chocolate should be brittle and easy to snap into shard shapes.

The Details
I used a few tubes of chocolate icing to draw the floor board pattern on the cake and floral pattern on the chocolate shard. The Bear is made from black royal icing sculpted into a rough bear shape.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

tea: Le Chandelier

Le Chandelier is a laid back, cosy cafe in East Dulwich. Inside you'll find an odd jumble of old lights, Alice in Wonderland paraphernalia and Moroccan tiling. They have a hearty take on Afternoon Tea. We were given nine finger sandwiches each and big, delicious tarts and slices of cakes and ate until we popped, then they offered us more. Their High Tea is an interesting choice that Stacey regretted makin; she got everything that comes with the standard tea plus a full toasted sandwich. Gut busting!