Thursday, 31 March 2016

Tea room exploration: Beas of Bloomsbury


44 Theobalds road, London. Open 7 days a week, Mon - Fri 8am - 7pm, Sat - Sun 12pm - 7pm | www.beasofbloomsbury.com

A delightful find nestled away from the usual tourist spots, one of the cosiest tea rooms you'll find in one of London's best kept secret shopping destinations, a place where you could happily hide away eating cake for a few hours.

Beas of Bloomsbury have been serving up delicious cakes at their Bloomsbury shop since 2008, home of the infamous Duffin and some of the tastiest baked treats you'll find this side of London. Their cosy tea room is a welcome stop off, a delightful intimate space to take in a spot of tea and cake after a bit of a shopping around nearby Lambs Conduit street.

Delightfully welcoming, their Bloomsbury shop is certainly cosy with intimate seated areas adorned with pillows and cosy seating. It's a wonderfully laid back tea room, with an open plan layout meaning that you can literally have a good old cake perve over their latest creations being baked, and well that's just a tasty bonus!

Well known for their baked creations, if you missed Duffingate you must have been hidden in a cave for the past year, what they don't bake here isn't worth munching upon, from delicious cupcakes to cake slices, pastries and wonderful baked hybrids. You can take away a selection of their treats if you can't quite find the room to over indulge on your visit. They also offer gluten free and vegan options, ask on the day to see what's available.

There's certainly a great selection of treats to choose from whatever time of the day you visit, whether you prefer a flaky breakfast pastry, an afternoon tea or a selection of cupcakes. On my visit I was really spoilt for choice with several cupcake and cake offerings to choose from alongside their signature duffins, townies and meringues. I opted to go for a cupcake being tempted by their vanilla nutella bake, I really wasn't disappointed, a delightfully light bake with a creamy nutella buttercream I could have happily sat and eaten a plate of just the buttercream... it was delightfully light yet creamy and delicious; a very delicate but extremely scrumptious cake.

To accompany my cupcake I opted for a classic, with a pot of earl grey tea, it was by far the most generous pot of tea I've had in any tea room with enough for a good few top up's of tea. The choice of beverages was certainly generous with teas, coffees and hot chocolates on offer.

A wonderfully cosy tea room with generous portions certainly worth a visit, if I wasn't visiting a few other places on my trip I've have gone back for seconds, then thirds.. If you can't make it to their Bloomsbury tea room why not visit their other tea rooms at St Pauls and Farringdon.

Cake score:
5/5 | Free from options also available.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

"Of course salad cream will work in a cake!", very unusual but surprising bakes.

The world of baking is certainly turning with more hybrids being concocted than you can shake a cake pop stick at, with inventive new ways of baking being created and somewhat unusual new additions being dreamed up for new bakes, bacon brownies anyone?!

Being ahead of the game in the baking world means inventing new and sometimes unusual creations, experimenting with new flavours and trying something different, so it seems slightly logical to take that experimental leap a step further by creating something truly unusual in the kitchen. How the idea for the bacon brownie came about initially I don't know, I can only imagine it was a wonderfully drunken baking experiment, but it's one of many unusual recipes that I've seen that surprisingly seem to work rather well.

The sweet and savoury combination of bacon and chocolate is one that unsurprisingly makes many gag at the sound of it but it's one that works rather well, we all saw the unholy union of bacon, chocolate and booze on The Great british bake off and it's a recipe that's actually been online for a while, this recipe at snapguide has set taste buds tingling, and with the addition of booze you know it'll be a good bake.

It's not the first time that bacon's been used in a sweet recipe either, anyone fancy an avocado, chocolate and bacon macaroon? An unusual combination that's said to work rather well, you too can try this unholy union with Supergolden bakes recipe.

Of course it's not just meaty bakes that are being concocted have you ever tried a salad cream cake? Yes even I thought this was a little unusual at first but think about it, you use sour cream for some bakes so why not salad cream? the flavours just a little different.. Created by Cake spy as a healthy cake recipe using a generous portion of the dressing to create a surprisingly moist bake, I'm not so sure on the buttercream topping just yet though..

Carrying on the savoury theme are these Sweet pea cupcakes with a sour cream frosting. Vegetables in bakes aren't exactly new but I've never come across a pea based bake before. Despite using peas in the bake its said to not taste like the green garden vegetable but instead having a sweet but fresh taste to it, and you certainly can't frown when your cake has something very healthy inside!

And to round off the unusual bakes this final one has actually been around for quite some time, the tomato soup cake has been doing the rounds since the 1920's but it's only recently made it's unusual comeback. Tried and tested by Cake spy this bake makes use of a can of soup for a somewhat spicy bake which isn't noticeably tomato-y at first.

They certainly beat your traditional bakes, I can't imagine that bacon laced macaroons and pea cupcakes will be doing the rounds at Harrod's food court any time soon, but they do make for an unusual and creative bake. Now we just have to wait and see what other unusual bakes are dreamed up in the kitchen.


Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Oh god I can see your... layers! : The naked cake.

Don't worry there hasn't been a growing trend for eating cake whilst naked.. no I'm talking about naked exposed cakes, cakes as nature intended without a slathering of pretty icing or butter cream on top, just left in their simple spongy layers with a bit of tasty filling to bond them together. Yes there's been quite a surge in the trend for naked cakes with many realising that a simple classic sponge cake is actually a pretty good thing and well you can't blame them!

The naked cake has risen through celebrity trends and wedding blogs with many opting to go for something a little more simple but still just as elegant for their wedding cake. The naked cake tends to feature generous layers of cream, fruits, jams and butter creams which are exposed much in the way of your classic Victoria sandwich, sometimes left in their constructed state with the filling oozing out of the sponge layers and sometimes neatened off, it certainly looks elegant and just as tasty as a fully iced towering cake.

There's still plenty of options to choose from with a naked cake, you could go for something that's even more on trend with an ombre layered cake, or you could choose to adorn the top of the cake with pretty decorations or just a simple layering of extra fruit, or go all out and drizzle a bit of caramel over the cake.

It's certainly a trend that's fitting with a turn towards more vintage and rustic inspired looks, why have a pretty iced cake when you can go for a traditional naked sponge cake that looks delightfully home baked and made with love. Besides there's something a little fun in telling people that you've been eating naked cake..

But I tend to think that naked cake shouldn't be confined to just weddings, why not make a naked bake a regular occurrence. Try leaving your Victoria sandwich as nature intended with a simple sprinkling of icing sugar, or why not leave that chocolate cake with a mere generous layering of cream in between the sponge, and why not pop a bit of fresh fruit in that sponge cake for a truly pretty naked cake. Besides naked cake should be for any day not just a celebration!

Left image: Say it with flours
Right image: Franelli cakes

Monday, 28 March 2016

Cake shop exploration: Hey little cupcake


3 Hardman Street, Spinningfields, Manchester. Open 7 days a week 11am - 6pm Mon-Sat, 11am - 5pm Sun | www.heylittlecupcake.co.uk

Nestled in one of Manchester's fancy new areas, Spinningfields is a haven for the cupcake aficionado, full of pink sugary sweet goodness that will certainly tickle the spot. Hey little cupcake is a wonderful little find choc full of cake.

A darling cupcakery with a very pink feel inside, so you're in no doubt of it's deliciously sweet contents inside. Tucked along the walkway as you enter Spinningfields it's a welcome haven amongst the cities shops and businesses. With it's pink and white theme throughout, nestled with vibrant pink tables and cake themed decor it certainly fits perfectly for a darling cake shop.

Hey little cupcake has been serving Manchester with it's delightful cakes since their first pop up shop in 2010, their permanent home in Spinningfields has certainly gone down a treat and made it a must visit cake shop to sample a spot of their delicious cake.

Their range of cakes goes beyond it's namesake of cupcakes to cover cakes, cake pops, ice cream and more, if you've got a sweet tooth it will most certainly be satisfied.. You can even partake in a spot of afternoon tea with quirky cupcake shaped sandwiches alongside plenty of cakes and tea.

A visit to their shop is a feast for the eyes, with a selection of seasonal cupcakes, cakes and other sweet treats adorning the counter, thankfully covered over to prevent masses of cake being covered in drool from cooing customers.. there's so much to choose from on their menu you'll be spoilt for choice.

On my visit it was hard to know where to start, should I get one of their new specialties or go for a trusty favourite and a cheeky spot of cake on the side? I eventually whittled my choice down to a rather fancy looking rocky road cupcake, adorned with mini marshmallows and chocolate. Incredibly delicious, soft, squidgy and sweet, as a cupcake should be, you could easily eat a dozen of these..

To top off the cupcake I went for a slice of red velvet cake, their red velvet is quite special it goes beyond mere red velvet with an exquisite topping of salted caramel, why have we not done this before on a red velvet bake!! It's a combination that works a treat and makes it a little more special.

To finish off you'll find a full selection of teas, coffees, hot chocolate and even home made lemonade to choose from, they have a great selection of tea pigs brews on their menu that go down a treat with their cake.

A pleasant visit it's a wonderful cake-y haven to stop off at when your in the city, you can even order take away and order online (oh dear.. this may damage a few bank accounts..), and if that's not enough you can also take part in baking and decorating workshops in store to fine tune your baking skills.

Image inside shop Carl Sukonik & TheVain.co.uk

Cake score:

4/5 | Free from options also available.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Baking hybrids : when two food groups become one.

We can't get enough of our favourite bakes, so much so that we seem to be merging two bakes to create one new, even more delicious baked treat. Like the duffin and the cronut there's a world of delicious baking hybrids out there but where do these ingenious ideas come from?

The one that started it all the Duffin was actually created longer ago than you imagined it's only thanks to 'duffingate', that the origins of the delicious donut muffin hybrid came to worldwide attention. A muffin baked with a delicious jam filled centre and dusted with a more than generous sprinkling of sugar, the duffin was born. London bakery Bea's of Bloomsbury is responsible for this delightful treat and they've helped pave the way for enthusiastic home bakers adaptations of the doughnut muffin (heck I've even tried it myself!).

Then there's the most recent publicized hybrid to top the trend the Cronut, a fusion of French patisserie and classic American snack, part donut, part croissant, naturally a treat of this proportion should only be created state side, Manhattan's Dominique Ansel bakery is responsible for this hybrid treat that's a little harder to come by over here but London bakery Rinkoff has created the Crodough with a little jam injected filling addition that certainly seems worth a try.

But it doesn't stop at those two, much like the former baking experiments it would seem that baked hybrids are still on trend, take the Martha Stewart endorsed Brookie created by Brooklyn's Baked bakery, a delicious fusion of brownie and cookie, or the Townie an exquisite brownie tart fusion by Bea's of Bloomsbury.

Much like the cronut there's the Crookie created by Patisserie et Cafe in Toronto, Canada, a gargantuan croissant stuffed with Oreo's and icing sugar, oh sweet flakey lord it sounds delicious! And if you think that topped off the hybrids you haven't seen the delicious Muffle, not to be confused as a 'ahem' pet name, the muffle is a fusion of muffin and waffle, created by using muffin mixture in a waffle iron, why not try the delicious recipe out for yourself, yes my taste buds were excited too!

Closer to home it would seem that hybrids are still on trend with everyone trying to get on the baked bandwagon, even Greggs have announced that they are turning their hand towards Cronuts with the subtly named Greggsnut (lawsuit easily avoided..) made using layered pastry in a doughnut shape.

It seems that there's still a world of possible baking hybrids out there to try, dare we go as far as combining bakes with other food groups like the Cake fries in Two broke girls, which already seem to be taking foodie sites by storm, well we're easily swayed by suggestions that involve frosting...

Images: Cronut by Dominique Ansel
Townie by Beas of Bloomsbury

Gorgeously gluten free chocolate almond cake


Who says that free from food can't be deliciously addictive, this chocolate almond cake is so incredibly stodgy, rich and dare we say it exquisite that you will be coming back for seconds, or eighths... Using the magic of ground almonds to replace flour giving this cake its wonderfully rich texture and yes, I'm very fond of this cake...

Ingredients
  150g dark chocolate
  150g butter
  170g Ground almonds
  4 eggs
  30g cocoa powder
  150g caster sugar


Pre-heat your oven to 160 degrees/gas mark 3, grease and line your baking tin.

Melt the chocolate in a doubler boiler along with the butter, when its down to a gorgeously runny texture take it off the heat and set aside.

In a separate bowl add the eggs, sugar, ground almonds and cocoa powder together and mix, then add the chocolate mixture to the bowl and blend together.

Add the mixture to the tin and bake for 30 minutes, leave the cake to cool in the tin then remove.

Best eaten: As soon as you remove it from the tin, no really you'll want to eat this when its warm and squidgy! To serve sprinkle with icing sugar.

Recipe adapted from Domestic sluttery | Images:Chiociolla/Dreamstime Stock Photos.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

A scrumptious twist : Chocolate and banana cake


A tasty twist on the traditional banana bread recipe with added chocolate for a soft yet rich cake that will surely go down well. Perfect for using up any ripe bananas, or simply when you fancy a spot of chocolate cake that you can pretend is a healthier option, I won't tell!

Ingredients
  175g plain flour
  150g caster sugar
  25g cocoa powder
  1 tsp bicarbonate of sofa
  1 tsp baking powder
  115g butter
  2 large eggs
  2 ripe bananas
  100g dark chocolate

Pre-heat your oven to 190c/170c fan oven/Gas mark 5 and grease a loaf tin.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a double boiler then set aside to cool down.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder together adding the sugar.

Mash the bananas in a separate bowl then add to the flour mixture. Take your melted mixture and add the eggs in to this mix, make a well in the centre of the flour mix and pour this mixture into it, mixing well.

Place your mixture into the loaf tin and even this out, then bake for an hour or until a knife comes out clean.

Leave to cool for an hour then remove from the tin and your tasty chocolatey cake is ready.

Best eaten: This cake will last well for a few days, the ripe banana helps to keep the cake soft so you can be sure of a tasty, squishey slice every time.

Recipe adapted from Baking mad

Friday, 18 March 2016

Tea room exploration : Zugers, Chester


St John street, Chester; open 7 days a week 9-5:30pm Mon-Sat, 10-4:40pm Sundays | www.zugerstearooms.co.uk

Tucked away down a sleek hidden side street in Chester you'll find a little slice of Swiss courtesy of Zugers tea rooms, a family run chain of tea rooms which has been serving residents of the Wirral and Chester for many years. Their Chester branch popped up a few years ago and has been luring residents and tourists in ever since it opened.

A charming little tea room on first passing you'd have to do a double take to realize that it is a tasty cake shop but their quaint display of Swiss patisserie catches your eye as you walk past the window. Not as obvious a display as some of the areas other notable tea rooms but it's what makes it one of the city's hidden gems, a place your more likely to find out about via word of mouth.

Zugers is well known locally for their baked goods and they certainly have a varied range of treats, never quite the same each time you visit so can be sure of a tasty surprise. Swiss being the serving of the day at this tea room you can be sure of a few Swiss delicacies on the menu, from tortes to gateauxs and strudels to mille feuille there's more pastry than you can imagine.

On my visit I found a tempting selection of pastries, gauteauxs and tortes adorning the counter, it's certainly hard to know where to start so I opted for their Swiss take on the traditional carrot cake. Their version of the classic is topped with a laced icing decoration and petite icing carrots giving it an extra bit of sweetness. A delightfully sweet bite which is certainly rather filling and goes rather well with their Earl grey blend as an accompaniment. Had I not filled up on cake I'd have certainly been tempted to try out one of their boozy coffees for 'ahem' second pudding.. with a Blackforest kirsch torte which looks quite simply addictive with it's layers of cream.

The service was rather quick once I'd selected my cake of choice and at no stage during my visit did I feel rushed, it certainly is a petite little tea room, during busier times it's often filled to the brim so it's best to visit outside of lunch time hours. Take away is also an option if you'd rather take your baked treats home.

Certainly a varied range of treats so you can sure of something different every time but staple menu favourites can always be found at the counter, their range of beverages is rather impressive although the tea drinker is limited to just 4 brews of choice compared to their vast coffee menu.

All in all a pleasant visit, certainly worth visiting again it's rather easy to fill up on cake for lunch here.

Cake score: 3/5


Thursday, 17 March 2016

A modern twist on a classic; the cherry bakewell cake

You can't beat a staple British classic when it's come to a spot of afternoon cake, for me the cherry bakewell is one of the first cakes I think of when you look to traditional cakes. The combination of almond, cherry jam, sponge, pastry and icing can't be beat when you fancy something a little special, but why not take a modern twist on the traditional cherry bakewell? This cherry bakewell cake is the perfect mix of traditional sponge cake and cherry bakewell, great for sharing, if you can bear to!

Ingredients
  200g Butter
  200g Caster sugar
  100g Ground almonds
  100g Self-raising flour
  1 tsp Baking powder
  1/2 tsp Almond essence
  3 large eggs

For the filling and topping
  1/2 jar cherry conserve
  175g icing sugar
  5 tsp lemon juice
  a handful of toasted flaked almonds
  a handful of chopped glace cherries

Pre heat your oven to 180c/160c fan oven/gas 4 and pre-line 2 round sandwich tins.

Beat together all of the cake ingredients until you reach a smooth consistency, then spoon the mix into your tins and level each one out. Bake for 30 minutes until golden & springy.

Leave your bases to cool, then tip each base onto a wire rack to cool down. When ready spread your conserve onto one of the cake bases, this will be the filling in the middle of your cake, once you've evenly covered the base sandwich the two cake bases together.

For the topping mix icing sugar with lemon juice to a fine watery mix, simply spread this evenly over the top of your cake, finish off with flaked almonds and cherries whilst the mix is still wet.

Best eaten: a couple of hours after your cake has set, the crunchy icing and almonds are a great combination with the sponge base and jam.

Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food | Right image Douglas_Freer/Dreamstime Stock Photos.

Cream cheese frosting or Buttercream frosting, which one is better?! There's only one way to find out...


Fret not I've decided to skip the frosting fight, as entertaining as it would be to cake porn connoisseurs but I didn't want to waste all that tasty cake topping... The modern cupcake is spoilt rotten with it's choice of toppings, decorations and 'fancy schmancy' cupcake cases to tart itself up with but when it comes to the final topping to whip on top what do you go for? A classic butter cream frosting or a sultry cream cheese frosting?

The difference between the two can be deceiving at first, butter cream toppings tend to have a lighter fluffier texture to cream cheese frosting's heavier, thicker consistency but they both have their pro's and cons. The traditional butter cream frosting has a sweeter taste and can be easier to use for decorating whereas cream cheese frosting does tend to be much softer when it comes to decorating, and has that slightly tangier taste compared to butter cream.

Cream cheese frosting's are quite simply put deliciously addictive on sweeter bakes like carrot cake and red velvet cake, have you ever tried
adding white chocolate to a cream cheese frosting, oh my, your in for a treat.. when it comes to a sweet bake cream cheese is the choice of topping to go for to counteract the sweetness overload of a butter cream frosting.

Whereas butter cream frosting works a treat on more traditional bakes like a layered sponge cake or fairy cakes. Any cake where you want to add a touch of sweetness, and of course some pretty fondant decor on top.

Of course the choice of frosting is down to personal preference at the end of the day, if you prefer to smother your cakes in cream frosting or drizzle a touch of icing over the top it all adds your own personal touch to your bake, and when it comes down to the crunch it's all delicious, moist, squidgy cake at the end of the day!

Images: Theresa Iovcheva via Free images.com & kaicho|Free images.com.

Why hello there!

Cake Porn, what's this?! Don't worry, I'm not here to taint your minds with lewd images of saucy cakes, no, I'm here to spread the joy of the cake. Whether it's through baking recipes, or sharing cheeky tips with my readers.

Originally a self hosted site, times have changed and I'm moving with them, making Cake Porn more mobile complaint for the future. It's took me some time to do it, but I've finally seen sense and I've set up this lovely mobile friendly version of the site here at blogger!

What can you expect to see, well over the next couple of months things are going to get really busy here, as I move the original site content over. But, for new followers that means an abundance of joyful content, from my cake explorations to cake shops around the UK, to lovely recipes and treats.

So, sit back, pour yourself a cuppa and grab a rather generous slice of cake (I won't scold you for eating an entire cake in one sitting..) and lets get acquainted!

Want to see what the fuss is about, see the current Cake Porn site here: www.cake-porn.co.uk