All you need is cake and best friends

There is no denying my love of CAKE. I love anything sweet and sugary – just like me 😉 I have been promising a long overdue catch up with my best uni friend who lives in London, so we finally got our diaries in sync and made it happen. As well as cake, I love LONDON. Not in a ‘want to live there’ kind of way, more in a ‘love going for a few days to have some fun’ kind of way. Two of my best friends live there so there is always a good excuse to visit and have some childfree me time. I don’t do things by halves and my friend said she knows when she comes out with me she will go home with a much lighter bank account. Finding time for friends is so important to me, best friends give you proper ‘belly laughs’, we reminisce, discuss the ups and downs in life and most importantly make new memories. Moments that in years to come will still make you giggle from a passing thought that bring you back to that time. Time is precious, so spend it well.

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Catch ups with friends normally involve alcohol so champagne afternoon tea seemed the perfect solution. I have tried various places in London for afternoon tea – The Dorchester, The Ritz, The Berkeley (fashionista themed) to name a few. Neither of us had experienced the pink room at Sketch so it was an easy decision to make.

Hop scotching our way in we entered the pink velvety room, buzzing with equally enthusiastic cake fans.

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We opted for the Champagne afternoon tea complete with a lovely glass of Pommery champers…this didn’t seem quite enough (and as it was a year since our last meeting) we ordered an extra bottle. These catch ups take time so we needed full glasses to keep our mouths hydrated for all the nattering.

First the tea master came round and introduced us to the collection of teas that “aim to span the world’s finest leaves and unique aromas”. I am usually just a breakfast tea kind of girl, splash of milk and one sugar (because I’m not sweet enough) but I was intrigued by all the interesting choices of black, white, Oolong, herbal and green teas. I chose the White Peony ‘deeply refreshing, pale golden green infusion full of sweet notes of honey, cucumber and melon’. It was a nice change but my palate was more in favour of the fizz.

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Next stop on our little culinary journey was ‘Egg and Soldiers’. Of course it was never going to be your usual dippy egg and soldiers but instead it was a yummy ‘Comte cheese mornay, 63 degree egg yolk with Comte sheese soldiers’. It was delish but in fairness I wanted to eat a whole bowl of the eggy stuff!

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While sipping our tea, suddenly a delightful gent appeared as if out of nowhere wearing a pink suit and a hat. He looked like he was off to watch the Henley regatta, he was ‘The Caviar Man’. The poor lad just wanted to serve us the tiniest morsel of Oscietra Caviar, say his bit then move on, however in true Maddie fashion I bombarded him with question after question, found out his entire life story and requested many comedy photos with him. He seemed happy to play along. Apparently the bowl of black fish eggs he was carrying was worth £1000 so I think he was hoping I would calm down soon and not knocked it over! Anyway, I am not a Caviar person, I have never really got the whole thing about it and assumed it was just something posh people ate to be…posh. I imagined the queen would sit on an evening watching Eastenders, wearing the crown jewels, eating Caviar with a silver spoon instead of Kettle Chips or Frazzles in Primark PJ’s like us normal folk. After a little lesson in eating Caviar we were told to ‘swirl it around our mouths with our tongue, then pop it to the roof of our mouths then pop the little eggs and swallow’. It was actually quite a pleasurable experience and as it is an aphrodisiac I thought best not to have too much more, otherwise my friend Sophie would be subjected to my wandering hands under the table!! 🙂

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Quick interval and a pit stop to the loo…where I was greeted with the weirdest and coolest toilets I have ever seen. Not ideal for claustrophobes but basically you do your business in an egg shaped pod, where a bird is nesting above you. Surreal but quirky.

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Back to afternoon tea…at this point I was desperate for CAKE. Finally our 3 tiered cake stand arrived with a selection of lush sandwiches and even lusher cakes. We were told that cakes and sandwiches were unlimited, which always seems exciting however when you are finally wading through another scone laden with clotted cream and jam, that you simply don’t need, you know you have to accept defeat and stop being a greedy pig! The saving grace was that we could take our left overs home.

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The sandwiches were a ‘tale of four loaves’. Of course they were never just going to be your usual ham and egg or turkey and stuffing…

  • Malted bread with corn-fed Coronation chicken with hints of coriander
  • Arctic bread with Scottish smoked salmon, dill, salmon roe and sour cream
  • Pumpernickel bread with tomato chutney, gem lettuce and tomato mayo topped with pickled turnip – this was the most moreish and tastiest sandwich I might ever have had in my gob
  • White bread with Norfolk goose egg mayo (apparently they have a stronger taste than chicken eggs), watercress and quails egg

    april-2017-1467Then the piece de résistance…CAKE time. After enjoying the obligatory scones with clotted cream and organic jam, we were onto the main event…

  • Malabar marshmallows (French bubblegum flavour) my least favourite on the plate but still quite fun
  • Lincolnshire rhubarb cheesecake
  • Chocolate and caramel gateau
  • Lemon and strawberry battenberg cake
  • Pistachio petit choux – the best bit!

I absolutely adore pistachio in any form so I definitely saved the best till last. Layer upon layer of pistachio, cream and chocolate. Pistachio heaven #pistachioporn.

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At this point (and we had already asked for seconds of sandwiches and cakes) we were pretty much done. However, there was still more to come! How can anyone possibly turn down more cake?!
“Cakes from the trolley Madame?”, well I wouldn’t or couldn’t be rude and say no so finally we had a tasting of a big old slice of traditional Victoria sponge with fresh whipped cream and a sponge that Mary Berry would be proud of and a slice of fudge and banana loaf. We were now in a cake coma.

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We left with a ‘take out’ of our favourite two cakes beautifully packaged up in a little bubble gum pink Sketch bag. It was definitely the perfect way to spend an afternoon with one of my lovely friends, and it’s true what they say “the best of friends can go long periods of time without speaking and never question their friendship, they pick up like they just spoke yesterday regardless of how long it has been”.

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Until next time…

Maddie-Signature

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