A Very Modern Tea Room

Last weekend, as previously posted, a few girls and I took a delightful stroll around Clifton Village in pursuit of cake. I loved all the stops along the way, but the final stop at Cordial and Grace blew me away.

I really like tea, I really like cake, and I really like crafting. So its amazing to find somewhere in Bristol that not only does these things, but does them well. As so many of us mentioned, the cakes we tried were amazing -  I could only manage a few of the huge platter that was put together for us, but I would make the trek to Clifton for the peanut butter brownie alone – like a cakey Marathon (er, Snickers…showing my age there)

There’s a good range of teas and coffee available, or if you’re feeling a bit decadent/have something to celebrate/just like fizzy wine, there’s prosecco available too.
Downstairs, there are sewing machines and different fabrics, ribbons, etc for sale. Besides having the sewing machines available to hire by the hour, there’s also various workshops for all skill levels and ages.

I could tell you more about my favourite new find, but its so much easier to show you some photos…

Definitely one to visit if you’re in the Clifton area!

Tea and Cake

I like tea. I know, I’m just as surprised as you. I love baking as well, and have quite a few volunteers to “dispose” of my attempts. I thought I’d look at some new cupcake recipes to see if there was anything that contained tea flavouring. I’ve tried Earl Grey cupcakes at Swinky Sweets, but the bergamot flavouring was just too much. I thought I’d try this recipe from then top with a lemon flavoured icing. Mmm.

I can’t help it, I like getting all my ingredients together like this, even if I’m not taking pictures of the recipe. Maybe I just watched too much Blue Peter as a kid.

I think the follow-up to this quote should be “Isn’t it dreadful to go to a country where they have crap tea.” AMERICA I AM LOOKING AT YOU.

So the tea flavour in the cake comes from making the worst cup of tea ever. You take 3 tea bags and put them in a saucepan with half a cup or so of milk, then heat up to brew the milk. It smelt lovely, but looked disgusting!

You’re supposed to read the instructions properly and only mix the dry ingredients with the butter, then afterwards mix the milk with the eggs and add that to the main bowl. For some reason, I ignored this bit and mixed everything together which made a dough. I regretted my mistake later!

Well, I had to use these cases really.

So in this picture, pretend that in the saucepan is not just the tea milk, but also eggs, and in the bowl is just butter, flour and sugar. This is where it went a bit wrong, when I ended up with a giant lump of dough on the spoon splashing about in a pool of tea milk. Then I got the electric whisk out and thankfully, it turned out OK

Like this!

The before and after: I suspect that despite having a fan oven, we have a wonky heating thing in there, so some rose nicely and some did not.

This is, surprisingly, the first time I’ve made buttercream! I was surprised how well it turned out, and at how much icing sugar was needed (proportionally). I used the frosting recipe from the Earl Grey cupcake page but instead of brewing the teabags in the milk again, I just added the zest from 2 lemons (That’s, obviously, what the yellow flecks are in the photo)

And the final item! I, of course, had to have a nice cup of Earl Grey tea with the cakes – can’t quite bring myself to drink it without milk and sugar though!

This was the first time I’ve tried to do the icing like this as well – I think it worked OK, although after visiting quite a few kitchen shops this weekend, I now think I need a full set of icing nozzles (along with various other useless kitchen things: oh Lakeland and Kitchens, it was so difficult to not come home with most of your stuff)

And the verdict from my guinea pigs – I mean tasters? The tea flavour isn’t too strong, and goes well with the lemon. Hooray!


Disclosure: I recieved a payment for this post, but I didn’t really need much excuse to bake and feed my colleagues more sugary goodness

Tea in Bath

A few weeks ago, my friend Ally asked if I would like to go to a secret tea party in Bath. I heard tea, I said yes. What can I say, I’m predictable! I met Ally at Colonna & Small’s, a tiny espresso room just around the corner from the tea party venue, the 1805 Rooms at the Theatre Royal

The Secret Tea Party is a new-ish event held by Mrs Stokes, the one we went to was the second event. We were greeted with a glass of champagne – always a good way to start the afternoon!

There was hair stylists and make up artists from Pop Up Parlour available to provide vintage makeovers and hairstyles if you wished. I didn’t  get my hair done, but Ally had her hair put up in rolls and curls (not sure of the technical term!)

Inma from the Pop Up Parlour gave a demonstration about the style of makeup that was done in the 40’s, which was quite interested to me because this is the era that I prefer.

Ah yes, tea. The most important part! Ally and I were seated on a table with three sisters from Bristol – who’s names I’ve forgotten (I am USELESS with names, seriously) which was nicer than being on individual tables – this way you were forced (in a good way!) to talk to other people!

One of the ladies on our table had her hair done for a masquerade ball she had to go to on Saturday night. I loved this hair – its not the best photo (hair is always so difficult to photograph!) but her hair was put up and tied into a bow. Gorgeous!

Of course, there were lots of beautiful china sets available for sale – I was very tempted by the green set you can just about see in the top left photo but I would have been happy to have any/all of them!

There was only one dilemma on the day – is it clotted cream first, or jam?

I think the tea parties are going to be a monthly event, but for more info, head over to the Secret Tea Party Facebook page!

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