With all the excitement surrounding this weekend celebrations, there has been many a jubilee baking competition or challenge popping up over the past couple of months. I am entering this post into the Homemade by Fleur Jubilee Baking Competition - Homemade by Fleur is on of my favourite blogs and you can find out more about the competition here. It is sponsored by Appliances Online http://www.appliancesonline.co.uk.
I have seen many wonderful jubilee creations on blogs and twitter; red, white and blue cupcakes, macarons and even battenberg! I wanted to step away from the union jack theme however and focus on the ingredients - something that would scream 'British' in some way. Unfortunately when I started brainstorming I seemed to come up with a lot of fish and chips, roast beef and shepherd's pie! I had the idea of incorporating a traditional ingredient from each of British nations but in the end I decided to go with something a bit simpler.
My recipe is inspired by afternoon tea, the Queen herself and my own love of a good cuppa! As such it definitely represents England more than Britain but the Queen is English so that's ok right? I really wanted to make something that I'd never seen or eaten before. I love afternoon tea and really wanted to use that idea in some way so I came up with the rather cliched idea of Tea and Cucumber Cake. Obviously taken from our supposed love of tea and cucumber sandwiches and on this occasion and I happy to satisfy this stereotypical image of us!
This post and bake has been a long time coming and I did a bit of an experiment with the cakes - should they be sweet, minty, have a citrus twang? And how the get the tea flavour into the frosting?
Originally I didn't want to make cupcakes but once I'd settled on this recipe the only way to serve the cake was in tea cups! To keep the flavour of the tea I made the icing thinner than I would usually and poured int onto the cake to replicate a nice cup of tea - finished with a white chocolate crown and mini teaspoon!
So here is my recipe and final creation:
6oz caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large cucumber, peeled and grated
Preheat oven to 160C. Cream the sugar and butter. Beat in the two eggs and add the vanilla extract. Fold in the sifted flour. Drain the water from the cucumber by pressing it through a seive. Pat dry with kitchen paper and stir in until well mixed. Divide the mixture between well greased tea cups and bake for 30 mins or until golden on top.
500g icing sugar
1 tablespoon milk
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Add the loose tea and continue to heat for a few minutes. Seive the mixture in a bowl to remove the tea and allow the butter to cool. Using a different seive (or clean and dry the same one) sift the icing sugar into the butter and whisk. Add the milk and continue to whisk. Add tea/more icing sugar until you get the desired consistency and taste (can be quite running but the taste will depend on how strong your tea is)
White chocolate decorations
100g white chocolate
Break up the chocolate into sqaures. Melt half the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water until melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining chocolate until it is all melted. Allow to cool a bit but whilst it is still runny and pipable pour the chocolate into a piping bag with a small round nozzle. Pipe the patterns onto baking parchment (if it helps you can draw the patterns on the back and trace over them) and put in the fridge to cool and harden.
The cucumber was obviously not a strong taste but it made the sponge very moist and had quite a light taste. This was contrasted by the sweet tea icing which really made me feel I was having a cuppa! Overall I was happy with the cakes, especially as I created the recipe from scratch and was pleasantly surprised with how well the crowns turned out.