Afternoon tea review: Cocomaya

Cocomaya fine chocolateLast weekend for my birthday, I embarked on an afternoon tea with my girl mates at Cocomaya which is an artisan bakery and chocolatier in central London. I had tried out the bakery a few months earlier with my French friend and enjoyed the flourless chocolate cake, sitting outside in the warm sunshine. The afternoon tea was set in the chocolate shop next door to the bakery and it was adorned with plates of beautiful homemade chocolates, brightly wrapped chocolate bars and a cabinet full of trinkets and vintage china. It is a girl’s dream!  The setting was perfect and we sat down to a variety of teas and coffees and water flavoured by blueberries, raspberries and flowers. My friends had rose tea, Darjeeling, good old breakfast tea and earl grey. I was brave enough to try tea for about the second time in my life and had assam chai tea which was bearable for the non-tea drinker!

Cocomaya triangular sandwiches with cream cheese, salmon, ham and cheeseFirst up was a selection of sandwiches with a difference – they used a dark ryebread which was very tasty although rather filling and heavy for an afternoon tea. The cream cheese and chilli, salmon and cucumber and ham and cheese sarnies were tasty. We didn’t eat too many though as we wanted to save ourselves for everything else to come. We also ate cheese rolls which were in Mary Berry’s words ‘scrummy’.  The next course included a selection of three types of scones – fruit scones, chocolate drop scones with cranberries and plain scones. They were accompanied by homemade jam which I guessed was something like blackberry and damson jam plus clotted cream.

Cocomaya lemon and poppy seed cakes, raspberry and choc cakesThen came a selection of about 10 mini cakes – some to half, some to have all to yourself. I couldn’t believe such a large selection of delights! Firm favourites included mini chocolate flourless cake, lemon and poppyseed mouthfuls, raspberry and creme patissiere cakes, fudge brownie and blackberry mini loaf. There were also mini banana loaf and mini marble cake slices. What a treat!

We were starting to fill up and had to go rather slowly. We opened pressies, took photos next to the chocolates and vintage china and smelt teas! It was lovely to take the afternoon at a really leisurely pace and savour every mouthful. Cocomaya let us take little boxes home of all the cakes we couldn’t eat at the time so the afternoon tea memories carried on into the weekend….

choc brownies by Cocomaya

For £25 per person I think this was one of the best afternoon teas I’ve had – the atmosphere was fabulous, the food generous and varied and the service patient and not intrusive. When I say patient – we asked if I could smell lots of different teas before I plumped for the assam chai and our waiter also took lots of piccies of us too! It can sometimes be hard to get through to them on the phone but I can only think they’re putting the finishing touches on their cakes. It’s well worth persevering and booking that afternoon tea of yours.

Special thanks go to my friend Hannah Carmichael for taking the amazing photos in this post. You can view more of her work at: http://picasaweb.google.com/hannie20

KitchenAid Artisan Cake Mixer

KitchenAid mixer

For my birthday my boyfriend surprised me with the mother of all presents – a cream KitchenAid Artisan Cake Mixer. I had lusted after one in a nearby department store but told him it was way too expensive. He knew I loved it though and so he was really generous and gave it to me as an early birthday present on Wednesday! As you can see, the mixer had quite an entrance, standing between a sea of pink, cream and pearlised balloons.

The mixer is SO sleak and trendy and looks really swish on the kitchen work top. We had Chinese takeaway so I could get to the baking straight away and in no time at all I had whipped up a lemon drizzle cake. I couldn’t believe how quick it was to make in the mixer and I didn’t even read the instructions; the mixer is very easy to use. I took the cake into work as it is tradition to bring in cakes on or near your birthday. My colleagues said the cake was light and fluffy and was a great hit! Apparently, the deal with the mixer is I have to make cakes every week so hopefully I’ll be posting a lot more from now on! Whilst I was out at my birthday afternoon tea yesterday (another post to come!) my boyfriend also used the cake mixer and baked me a lovely red velvet birthday cake from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook with lashings of icing. I couldn’t believe he had made me a cake and I was bowled over!!

Lemon drizzle cake and KitchenAid artisan mixer

Hummingbird Bakery Chocolate Fondant Cupcakes

iPhone app Hummingbird BakeryFellow baking blogger Boom Bakery recently tipped me off about the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days app for iPhone. I had been on the look out for a decent cake app for a while so I was excited to give the app a try! The photography and layout of each recipe is great and I love being able to access the recipes even when I’m offline on a train. I think the split of recipes by summer, spring, mother’s and father’s day is a bit arbitrary though. Recipes I’m keen to try are the blueberry crumble loaf, summer fruit cheesecake, and summer berry muffins (you can read the recipe review on Boom Bakery’s blog).

Chocolate sponge cupcake with chocolate ganacheThe boyfriend was in the mood for something chocolatey so I found the most chocolatey recipe on the app – chocolate fondant cupcakes. It’s a simple choc cupcake recipe but once cooled, you have to cut out a 2-3 cm deep and wide part of the sponge. You then fill it with the chocolate ganache which is pure indulgence – 200g dark choc and almost a pint of double cream! I did follow the recipe carefully and ensured the cream came to the boil before I poured it on top of the choc pieces. However, the ganache was rather runny. I put a good dollop in the middle before adding the centre of the sponge. I then poured a lot of ganache on top. I found that you could see the top of the cupcake poking through the ganache which made it look untidy. Once set, the cupcakes are yummy. I’d def recommend leaving them overnight though as it takes a while to set. When I looked at the photo again on the app, it looks like they have actually used frosting rather than ganache. I think it would be worth experimenting with the ganache ingredients/method as it was too runny to decorate with. Nevertheless they tasted great! Not for the calorie faint hearted 🙂

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