I’m an avid drinker of tea. Chocolate I can do without. Ice-cream, I’d struggle but I’ll live. Tea...nope. Not a hope in hell. I love tea. It’s hard to beat a good cuppa though isn’t it? Whether you need of a wake-up call first thing in the morning (try crisp Indian masala chai) or a relaxing warm drink before bed-time (chamomile tea), the versatility of tea means it can take on a range of flavours, colours and temperatures to serve purpose. Eat that, COFFEE. But my favourite time of day for a cuppa? That mid-afternoon lull at around 4pm. You know the one, half-way between lunch and dinner.. when you need a little something to stop you nodding off at your desk? That one. Even better than a lone cup of tea though? A cup of tea with some cake.
They say afternoon tea was first initiated by Anna Maria Russell, Duchess of Bedford, in 1841 when the Duchess requested a selection of teas, finger sandwiches and cakes to tide her over until her evening meal. I say it’s lucky she was born before me, because if she hadn’t thought of it I sure would have. Try this, and let me know what you think.
What you need
125g glacé cherries
200g self raising flour
125g spreadable butter
125g caster sugar
4 medium eggs, lightly beaten
a splosh of milk
What to do
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius and grease a 21 x 10 x 6 cm loaf tin. Line the bottom with baking parchment. Cut the cherries in half. Put the flour in a bowl and add the cherries to it, mixing them gently until they are well coated.
2. In a separate bowl, cream the butter with the sugar until very pale and fluffy. Then add the eggs a little at a time, beating well in between. Add the flour and cherries, with a little milk if neccessary to reach a ‘dropping consistency’, and stir gently.
3. Spoon into the loaf tin, level the top and make a slight dip in the centre.
4. Bake for 20 - 25 minute, then reduce the oven temperature to 160 degrees and bake for a further 30 minutes odd, or until the cake has risen and is beautifully bronzed and springy, and a knife inserted through the centre comes out clean.
5. Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool for a couple of minutes in the tin, then turn out and transfer to a rack to cool. Give it around half an hour and you can finish it off with a drizzle of icing (3 tbsp of icing sugar and 1 tbsp cold water) and some glacé cherry halves. I got as far as the icing, my family ate the rest of the cherries.