Cambridge: Baking up a Storm

6/23/2006 12:03:00 AM

On Wednesday afternoon (that is, the day AFTER the May Ball - hangover alert!), Clarice was holding a picnic at her house for her drinking society, the Scorps. It was initially supposed to be a "punt and picnic", but after realising that 40 people would be coming, and that 40 people would not fit on one boat, the party was relocated to Clarice's back garden.

All of the savoury food was provided by other Scorps, and we baked the sweets.

1. Free-form scones
2. Mini raspberry-topped cheesecakes
3. Coca-Cola cupcakes

The first two recipes are from Nigella's "At My Table" column in the New York Times, and the coca-cola cupcakes are from How to be a Domestic Goddess. I've made them heaps before.

We did a double batch of the cheesecakes, and quadruple batches of the scones and cupcakes. The advantage of all these recipes is that they can be done almost totally in advance, and require minimal or no last-minute preparation. We started them on Monday, and finished them off on Wednesday morning.

The scone dough can be made in the processor, rolled out and cut out, and frozen. You can bake the scones direct from the freezer.

The coca cola cupcakes are my usual coca cola cupcakes, which I made and iced all on Monday night.

As I was getting on with the cupcakes, Clarice made the mini cheesecakes. Again, these can be made in the processor, and are a pretty normal cheesecake mixture. The point of difference with these cheesecakes is that you bake them in mini-muffin tins. It's fiddly, but it's worth it.

Here we are preparing the cheesecakes and cupcakes in front of Rush Hour on TV.

I covered the cupcakes with hundreds and thousands, little lip-shaped sprinkles and silver cachous. Clarice has a fab stash of cake-decorating goodies.

That is a lot of scones!

On Wednesday morning, we split the scones and stuffed them with cream and jam, and Clarice decorated the mini cheesecakes with a raspberry each, affixed with raspberry jam.

Mini Raspberry Topped Cheesecakes

Free-Form Scones

The verdict on the recipes is that the cupcakes are fabulous (as usual), the cheesecakes are gorgeous and tasty, and that the scones taste good, but are quite difficult to work with. If you overwork them or bake them for too long (you must be vigilant), they turn quite hard and biscuity. Sadly, we did have to bin a few trays because we didn't keep a close enough eye on them. Nigella says to roll them 3/8 of an inch think, which seemed quite thin, but once they were sandwiched with cream and jam, they looked fine. And in fact, although Clarice and I were feeling a bit insecure about the scones, they went down really well.

Sangria & Beer

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