In my case, they pegged me for a milk-and-one-sugar kind of gal, which I am not. But perhaps my choice of Lionel Ritchie mug made them think I was a bigger softie than I am. Hello?
We had booked a morning visit to the Whitney Museum of American Art, but I wanted to grab a quick bite to eat. Enter Gansevoort Market, an industrial food hall in the meatpacking district, brimming with coffee, baked goods, ice cream, pizza, lobster, macarons … just about everything you could imagine.
I went for a Bruffin – part brioche, part muffin – which could be ordered in a variety of flavors. I got the British, made with bacon and sharp cheddar and topped with a Union Jack flag. They reheated it so wasn’t as amazing as I’m sure it is when it’s fresh out of the oven, crisp and buttery. I’d get a fresh and hot one next time.
Then we stopped at Meyers of Keswick for a cup of tea. The Brit who took our order made a great cup of builder’s tea made with Yorkshire tea with the perfect amount of milk. It’s rare to be able to order a good cup of tea in the U.S., but this was the real deal.
Ages ago — ages and ages, long before kids, the Kardashians and the invention of cronuts — I loved Nigella Lawson’s cookbook, “How to be a Domestic Goddess.” It was a great cookbook, filled with recipes for breads, cakes, cookies and puddings.
And then I made her Victoria Sponge recipe and it made me rethink everything that I once believed to be true. I don’t actually remember why it was so bad. I just remember not even eating it and throwing it away. I made a small note at the top of the recipe “BAD 😦 ” and haven’t tried making this cake again.
Fast forward all of these years and my daughter wanted to have high tea at home so a cake was in order. I looked for a recipe – so many British recipes were still in British measurements and I didn’t have the energy or inclination to do the conversions. So I found one on Food.com that got nearly 5 stars and took a gamble.
As it turned out, then gamble paid off. The cake was so moist and delicious and ridiculously easy to make. The only adjustment I made was to double the recipe since my cake tins were larger than 8 inches (how large? I have no idea – again, I didn’t have the energy to measure them).
VICTORIA SPONGE CAKE
3 large eggs, weighed in their shells
butter or soft margarine
raspberry jam (or jam, jelly or curd of your choice. I used Bonne Maman’s Four Fruits preserve)
powdered sugar to dust on top
The measurements for this recipe are equal amounts of sugar, flour and fat to the weight of the eggs. Weigh the eggs first – if the eggs weigh 8 ounces, you will use 8 ounces of sugar, 8 ounces of butter or margarine and 8 ounces of flour. If the eggs weigh 6 ounces, all the other ingredients will be 6 ounces – easy!
Set oven Gas 4 160C (fan oven), 180C or 360F: grease and base line the bottom of 2 x 8” sandwich tins – cake tins.
Cream margarine or butter together with the sugar, until light and fluffy.
Beat the eggs, and then add them to the mixture, gradually and beating well after each addition.
Sieve the flour and fold into the mixture with a metal spoon.
Divide equally between the 2 prepared tins and bake for 25 minutes in the middle of the oven.
Remove and allow to cool for 1-2 minutes.
Remove from the tins and fill with raspberry jam when cold, to avoid the jam seeping into the sponge.
A light dusting of powdered sugar on the top will finish it.
Place on an attractive cake stand or plate, and serve in dainty wedges with freshly brewed tea.
If you use butter remove from the fridge to soften before using. This is not necessary with soft margarine.
If large eggs are used they may weigh 7 ½ ozs/210g. If so make sure you use this weight for the other ingredients.
A smaller sandwich cake can be made with 2 medium eggs. Weight about 4 oz/55g. If so, use 2 x 7” sandwich tins and the cakes and the cakes will need less time in the oven – probably 20mins.
I’ve stumbled upon a monthly tea delivery service called Steepster. Have you tried Steepster?
They provide a collection of five premium, loose-leaf teas from around the world each month (enough for 30 cups of tea). The shipment also includes tasting notes and expert brewing instructions to make the perfect cup of tea.
It’s normally $24.95/month but Living Social is doing a Steepster deal for $13, if you purchase in the next 17 days!
Love Buzzfeed.com’s “How British are you?” quiz and really chuffed that I ended up with “As British as Stephen Fry walking a corgi outside Buckingham Palace.”
You’re awkward. You’re easily embarrassed. You’re sickeningly polite. You’re as British as they come!
How about you? Take the quiz and post your status!
Nudo Darjeeling has a sweet little offering that could make a perfect holiday gift for the tea lover in your life (or could be a treat for yourself)!
You can adopt one of their Darjeeling tea gardens for a year and receive the finest quality, first flush, loose leaf tea straight from their garden!
It starts from £18 and includes an adoption certificate and a spring delivery of a 125g tin of organic, first flush, loose leaf tea!
If you’re already on Team Tea, you probably already know that tea is an elixir that can help you cope with bad breakups, zombies and urinary infections. But if you’re still on the fence, Yorkshire Tea has launched an incredibly catchy tune called “The Tea Song.”
I fancy a cuppa right about now. How about you?