Thursday 31 December 2009

Intrepid Cake Eaters

Barcomi's Mitte cakesIn Berlin, when the snow lays thickly on the ground, the temperatures are in the minus degrees and the wind whistles down wide streets biting into any part of you that's not wrapped in a military grade parka (a very welcome birthday present from my Mum & Dad), even going out for cake can be a big effort. Sometimes you just want to curl up with a book or a DVD box set and watch the snow through the window.

Monday 28 December 2009

Christmas Gingerbread Cupcakes

Gingerbread cupcake cream cheese frostingI have been going fairly cupcake crazy since my course last month but I've been struggling to find events to bake for. With my family coming for Christmas I had the perfect excuse to bake some Christmas Cupcakes. I had previously made some for Miss O's party that were like little mini Christmas cakes topped with fondant icing and florist paste Holly leaves, as well as some double chocolate ones decorated with stars, but this time I thought I'd try something different.

Sunday 20 December 2009

The Purple Palace

Tea Palace Covent Garden basement I was wondering through Covent Garden, enjoying the Christmassy buzz, recently when I decided to pop into the Tea Palace shop. Before their Westbourne Grove cafe and shop closed down I had a very enjoyable afternoon tea there so was keen to see how the new place compared. I have to admit I was really shocked that the previous place had shut. It was very busy when I went there and whenever I passed it seemed to be fairly packed. The afternoon teas on offer were also pretty pricey so I assumed they were making a packet. But given their decision to close, and subsequently open a retail shop - without a cafe - in the centre of town, I suppose I was wrong.

Thursday 17 December 2009

An Ulterior Motive

Cakes 4 Fun decorated cupcakesIt is a fact that Coffee Boy is an excellent present buyer. He always buys me really great gifts, and I never have to drop any heavy hints. I realise I am very lucky to have such a thoughtful partner but this year I suspect there was a fairly strong ulterior motive to the birthday present he got me: a cupcake making course. I was really pleased that he had not only come up with an original pressie but that he had done his research and found a highly recommended place that offered the course. Having finished my latest project recently I finally got a chance to go along to Cakes 4 Fun in Putney this week.

Sunday 13 December 2009

Review: The Wolsley, Piccadilly

The Wolsley afternoon tea Piccadilly
I've always heard people mention The Wolsley but have never really known what or where it is. I vaguely assumed it was a hotel and had an idea it was on Piccadilly. So it actually came as something of a surprise to discover I have walked past it thousands of times without really noticing it. Far from being a hotel it is actually a former car showroom and bank and only actually opened as a cafe and restaurant in 2003. It says something to its success that it was nestled in my subconscious as a grand old establishment even though it's only recently celebrated its sixth birthday.

Monday 7 December 2009

Mastering Pu-erh

Pu-erh tea leaves wood
I think I have finally cracked Pu-erh tea. I first tried it last year in San Francisco - I realise this sounds somewhat pretentious but it's true! Despite having a rather horrible cold which rapidly turned into sunstroke I walked across half the city in search of the famed Imperial Tea Court in Chinatown. Imagine my joy when I found the address only to discover it had closed down... or more accurately it had moved to the Ferry Building. I was pretty disappointed when I found the new branch as despite being in an attractive building devoted to good food and other lovely things it still felt pretty much a mall inside. I mean, I know malls are practical and all that, but it doesn't compare to being in a fantastically vibrant neighbourhood like Chinatown.