Category Archives: Cakes & Bakes

Pearl & Groove
The Flourless Bakery on Portobello Road

Pearl & Groove Portobello Road

The way Alabama is staring at her cake, is exactly how her mum Anoushka and I stared at ours when we first arrived at Pearl & Groove on Portobello Road –  with total, unadulterated love.
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Burlington Arcade Pop Up
Afternoon Tea

Lauren Perrier afternoon tea with Cuisson

I do love a pop up, but this pop up might just be the pinnacle of all pop ups. Pop up Mecca.

Champagne Laurent-Perrier have teamed up with luxury gastronomy company Cuisson to create an unforgettable afternoon tea experience at Piccadilly’s Burlington Arcade in association with Wedgwood. There is  so much about that sentence that I love… and I haven’t even mentioned the fact that the tea is created by Hideko Kawa – former Head Pastry Chef at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck….

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Crosstown Doughnuts

Crosstown Doughnuts

Matcha Tea Doughnut, Creme Brûlée Doughnut – filled with vanilla custard

Last week, Crosstown Doughnuts opened their newest doors on Broadwick Street in Soho, and have pretty much sold out every day ever since.

If you’re not already familiar with them, Crosstown Doughnuts are a London gourmet artisan doughnut brand, who hand-make their hybrid sourdough & fresh bakers yeast  doughnuts every night, so they’re ready and waiting for you, gleaming in their glazes, just in time for your breakfast. And your late morning doughnut run. And afternoon tea. And dinner. (Don’t judge me.)

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Tea & Cake at
Drink, Shop & Do

Red Velvet Cake at Drink, Shop & Do

Tea and cake are two of my utmost favourite things. They are up there, on my ‘what makes me really happy’ list, along with bubblebaths, marmite, mugs, Sunday mornings and winning at Connect 4. So you won’t be surprised to know that I know some tea and cake haunts in my city, that are SO GOOD, you’ll want to woot and toot and do handstands. Even if you can’t.

(Do I need a disclaimer here? *If you do a handstand after going to Drink, Shop & Do and hurt yourself I am not to be held responsible. But I will come and play Backgammon with you in hospital.)

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A Festive Afternoon Tea
at Lanes of London

Lanes of London - festive afternoon tea

Last week I had a very special afternoon tea with my very special dad. For those of you that don’t know, my dad runs an amazing charity out in Uganda called Red Earth Education – they are working to increase life chances for the children of rural Uganda, through bettering teacher training.. and I couldn’t be prouder. (And if you’re looking for a worthy cause to donate to this Christmas, I know this little charity would be over the moon to receive a few pounds!)

He’s home for a couple of months now and to celebrate, I took him to Lanes of London by Hyde Park, for a very special and very festive afternoon tea….

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Cute Christmas Cookies
to make you smile

Christmas bunny cookies


Last week, I rediscovered my Enchanted Forest Biscuit set, which I had completey forgotten about.

I had so much love for these bunnies over on Instagram, that I thought I’d better let you all know how I made them! I didn’t just stop at bunnies though.. ho (ho ho) no…

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Sunshine on Leiths

Title - Leiths Brownies 4

I love baking. I know you know this, but I’m telling you again. I love baking. Cakes, cookies, muffins, meringues.. I love it all. However, I wouldn’t call myself a super duper top notch baker. I’d call myself the kind of ‘cross-your-fingers-and-hope-for-the-best-but-you-know-I’m-going-to-eat-it-anyway’ kind of baker. So, Saturday was a bit of a treat for me. On Saturday, I baked my little socks off at Leiths Cookery School of Food and Wine.

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National Chocolate Cake Day
and a heavenly flourless
chocolate cake recipe

Poppy Loves Chocolate Cake

Chocolate cake with buttercream – found on Pinterest; originally
from Half Baked Harvest


Oh thank goodness. Thank goodness it’s National Chocolate Cake Day today. I had no idea this day even existed, but thanks to me eye spying Kate Spade tweeting about it on Twitterdom last night, I am very pleased to announce that it’s true.

And not a day too early as far as I’m concerned, seeing as I had a superiorly rotten day yesterday. Cake is the answer. Cake brings friends together, it makes sure tea is brewing.. and magically, it heals wounds.

Gem brought me chocolate cake yesterday – she’d made it herself. She’s clever. This recipe is not for the cake above (you can find that recipe here) but its for an amazingly easy, delicious, rich and luxuriously chocolatey Nigella recipe. There are 5 ingredients and 4 stages. When I say easy, I mean easy, with a capital peasy.

Flourless Chocolate and Almond Cake

5 eggs
200g butter
200g sugar
200g plain chocolate
200g ground almonds

1. Melt the chocolate and butter together, then mix in the almonds. Set aside to cool a little.

2. Separate 4 of the eggs. Mix 1 whole egg and 4 yolks with the sugar. Blend this with the chocolatey mixture.

3. Beat the 4 remaining egg whites until they are stiff. Using a metal spoon, carefully fold the egg whites into the chocolatey mixture.

4. Pour into a non-stick spring-form baking tin and bake at 175-180 for 45 mins.

That’s all there is to it. If you make it, please let me know how you get on.. and of course, feel free to post me a slice…

One more thing, if you love the gooey deliciousness of the picture above as much as me, you can see the rest of the chocolatey pics I’ve been dribbling over here on my Pinterest board.

For now, I wish you a very happy National Chocolate Cake Day and a tip-top-tastic Monday.



Cheesecake Mince Pies from A Handmade Cottage

Lucky me to know such lovely bloggers who make such yummy things. I’m so pleased to be able to introduce you to the gorgeous Jodie May of A Handmade Cottage, unless of course, you’ve met her already… You may have seen her in the first issue of Blogosphere Magazine back in October, (of which yours truly is the Lifestyle editor – ding!) or maybe you found her browsing tinternet for warm and cosy and lovely things to make and do… but either way, here she is and I’m very proud to have her in my little corner of the webbynet.
Message from Jodie May:
Those that know me, know I’m not a great cook. I start out with good intentions … I don my pretty apron and hum along to Billie Holiday whilst prepping my ingredients but more often than not, it will all end with Ralphy (my Jack Russell) running for cover and yours truly swearing like a sailor. However, I can bake, and since it’s Christmas I want to give Poppy’s readers a real treat. This recipe has been handed down to me by my lovely mother-in-law, who really is a master-chef. 
A Handmade Cottage’s  Cheesecake Mince Pies
These are simply the most delicious mince pies you will EVER eat. They have sweet cream cheese inside and the pastry is yummy, crisp and not at all stodgy. I know this because I’ve eaten 5 today. I can’t stop. Make them and you’ll see why.
For the pastry
225g/8oz plain flour
50g / 2oz golden caster sugar
140g/5oz butter (cut into small cubes)
Grated zest of one orange
1 egg yolk
For the filling
200g/8oz decent mincemeat
125g pack full fat soft cheese
2 tsp caster sugar
Finely grated zest of lemon.
And at the end
1 egg white, lightly whisked
Golden granulated sugar for sprinkling!
1. Preheat oven to 200C/Gas 6/Fan oven 180C.
Make pastry: Put flour, butter, orange zest and caster sugar in a food processor and whizz to form breadcrumbs. (NOTE: I don’t have food processor, crumbling with fingers works just as well).
Add the egg yolk and a tablespoon of water and pulse (squidge together) to form a dough.
Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 mins.

2. Make filling:  Beat the cheese until soft, then mix in the sugar and lemon zest and set aside. Roll out just over half the dough, fairly thin and stamp 12 rounds with a fluted cutter (NOTE: I don’t have a fluted cutter so I used a small teacup! worked perfectly.) Pop these into your bun tin.

3. Fun bit. Put heaped teaspoon of mincemeat in each pasty case (don’t overdo it though) and top with a teaspoon of the sweetened cream cheese. Roll out the remaining dough and stamp out 12 slightly smaller rounds (NOTE: I just used a slightly small cup) Put these lids on a press gently to seal.
‘top with a teaspoon of sweetened cream cheese’
4. Fun bit. With the left over pastry stamp out 12 stars ensuring they’re not too thick. (NOTE: I didn’t have a star cutter, so using a teaspoon I made holly, birds and stars : ) Brush with egg white and stick your bits on top. The pies can be frozen at this point for up to 6 weeks. To finish brush the tops with egg white and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 12 -15 minutes until golden. Let them cool for 10 mins then remove and rest on a wire rack.
‘..sprinkle with granulated sugar…’
Make a cuppa and enjoy!
Merry Christmas Poppy Loves readers..
From Jodie May, AKA Fairy baker at

Tea for two at The Landmark

We all know that I like a good afternoon tea. But this afternoon tea was truly one of the best afternoon teas I have ever had. I was in afternoon tea wonderfulness. Floating on an afternoon tea cloud… all the way to afternoon tea heaven.

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Chocolate Chunk Sour Cream Scones

Hello hello from me (Poppy) to you (you). I’m still upside down in NZ… having big fun but not having lots of time to blog it up, so once again I am saying a big thank you to another fellow blogger, who has let us in on one of her best kept cakey secrets… chocolate and sour cream? Yes indeedy and I intend to have a go at making these myself as soon as I can figure out how M’s oven works. Please do pop over to have a look at all the other delicious things Sian has on her blog – Fishfingers for tea, (love that name!)
I’ll be in touch again soon..
Hello! I’m Sian from Fishfingers for tea and I’m delighted to be sharing these chocolate chunk sour cream scones with you here at Poppy Loves today. I’m the first to admit that these aren’t the delicate scones that you may associate with afternoon tea; rather they’re chunky satisfying things that are perfect with a cuppa in your favourite mug and a sit down on the sofa.
It took me a while to decide what to bring with me today. I contemplated flapjack, cupcakes and biscuits but decided to stay true to my more rustic form with these. They’re soft inside with the richness of dark chocolate in each bite. There’s a slight tang from the sour cream and everything is contrasted by the not overly but just sweet enough crunchy top.


These aren’t scones that you cut in half and top with butter or jam, these are scones that you break apart in chunks and eat like cake. They don’t keep well and are at their best on the day that they are baked but to be honest it’s no hardship to make sure there’s no waste. 

I hope you all have a great weekend and that it’s full of cake, lovely things and (hopefully) a bit of sunshine. Thank you Poppy for letting me loose on your gorgeous blog whilst you’re off on your travels in New Zealand.
Chocolate chunk sour cream scones
450g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
75g light brown soft sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
115g butter, cold and cut into cubes
200g dark chocolate, broken into chunks. A rolling pin comes in handy at this point.
300ml sour cream
Preheat the oven to 190c and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Rub in the butter using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Stir in the chocolate chunks and then add the sour cream. Mix until it forms a dough but working it as little as possible, scones benefit from a gentler touch.
Once the dough has formed and is holding together, tip out onto the baking tray and shape into a round, about 1 inch thick. Score the round into 8 wedges using a butter knife, making sure that you don’t cut all the way through. Sprinkle with extra light brown soft sugar and bake for 35-40 minutes. Cover the round with baking parchment if you feel that it is getting too brown towards the end of the baking time.
Once baked (it will still feel a little soft) transfer to a wire rack, using the greaseproof paper to slide it across from the baking tray. Leave to cool for 10 minutes and then separate out into the individual wedges. Serve still slightly warm or cold.
As with most scones, these are best eaten on the day that they are made. 


Plum, Raspberry & Blackberry
Bakewell Slices

As you know, I am now upside-down in New Zealand and will be here for a couple of weeks. It’s so wonderful to be back and I look forward to showing you my pics when I’m home! While I’m away I won’t be writing as much, however I am very lucky to have a few wonderful baking bloggers babysitting my blog (alliteration alert) for me while I galavant around the South Island. Today’s post is from the super duper Kate, whose blog The Little Loaf gets my tastebuds tingling every time I nip over to have a peruse. Lucky me for having her here today!
Lots of love from me to all of you over there and I’ll bore you silly with my tales when I return.
Hello, I’m Kate aka The Little Loaf. 
As my nickname suggests, baking and bread are hugely important to me, so when Poppy asked me to come up with a recipe for this post, I agonized about what to make. Would it be boring to bake a loaf of bread? What about some simple biscuits? Was caramel too complicated, cupcakes too twee and chocolate too obvious?
In the end I plumped for exactly what I felt like eating this weekend, which is usually a pretty good place to start. These fruity Bakewell slices are a riff on the traditional British tart, layered with sticky jam and topped with toasted flaked nuts. The almond sponge is lovely and light, sitting on top of crisp, crumbly pastry and studded with pockets of sweet, juicy fruit.
As the evenings get lighter but there’s still a definite chill in the air, these little slices are both comforting and bright, providing the perfect transition from winter into spring.
Big thanks to Poppy for letting me post here and I hope you all have a great weekend, full of lovely things to eat! 
Plum, Raspberry & Blackberry Bakewell Slices
For the pastry
60g unsalted butter, cold, diced
60g icing sugar, sifted
1 large free range egg yolk
120g plain flour, sifted
Pinch salt
For the filling
75g unsalted butter, room temperature, diced
110g golden caster sugar
3 medium free range eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
Pinch salt
180g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder, sifted
200g plum jam, divided
Handful each fresh raspberries & blackberries
35g flaked almonds

To make the pastry, cream together the butter and icing sugar in a stand mixer or food processor. With the machine running, add the egg yolk then the flour and salt. As soon as the dough comes together in a ball, switch of the machine, wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for 2 hours (or overnight).
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease your baking tin with a little butter. Lightly flour the worksurface and roll your pastry into a thin square to line the base of your 23cm tin. Drape any excess pastry up the sides of the tin but don’t worry too much – you’ll be trimming this once baked anyway.
Line the case with baking paper, weight it down with baking beans (you can substitute rice or dried pulses if you don’t have any) and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes until lightly golden. Once cool, trim any excess pastry from the edges so that it just covers the base of your tin.

To make the filling, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly incorporate the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract and salt. Add the almonds and baking powder and continue to cream until combined.

Use 180g of jam to cover the pastry base, spreading evenly and into the corners. Scatter with your raspberries and blackberries then spoon over the almond sponge mixture, taking care not to mix it with the jam. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until golden and risen then remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin before removing.
While the sponge is cooling, place the flaked almonds on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Heat the remaining 20g jam in a small saucepan (or a little bowl in the microwave) then brush over the top of your cake. Scatter with toasted flaked almonds then cut into 12 thick bars or 24 bite-sized pieces.
Because of the almonds, these slices stay moist for several days in an airtight container, although the pastry is most crisp and delicious on the day of baking.  


Cherry Jam Muffins

I’m very excited to be sharing with you my very first guest post on my blog. Kaboom. Today’s recipe is brought to you by the ever so talented Sophie Hunter, creator and author of The Cake Hunter – please do pop over to her lovely site and take a peek at all her delicious wares…

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do – I know what I’ll be baking this weekend…

Thank you Sophie!

Hi! I’m Sophie from The Cake Hunter ( I’m really excited to be writing my first guest post for Poppy. I’ve never done a guest post for another blog so I was super pleased when Poppy e-mailed me about this. I picked these cherry jam muffins because they are delicious, really easy to make and I wanted to share them with all of you for the weekend.


The basis of this recipe came from The Back in the Day Bakery cookbook. It’s a superb cookbook full of beautiful recipes. I’m pretty rubbish at reading fictional novels, there’s about a month every year when I can work through a couple of good books (the last one was The Hunger Games, not particularly high brow fiction but really good read) and the rest of the time I read cookbooks as though they are works of great fiction. The Back in the Day cookbook is one I return to time and time again.

I’m off work today and spending a lazy afternoon working through episodes of ER, drinking good coffee and (most probably) eating more than one of these muffins. I hope you have a great Friday and that you enjoy this recipe. Thanks again to Poppy for letting me take over her blog for the day.

Cherry Jam Muffins
(adapted from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook)
Makes 15 muffins

125ml whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
340g plain flour + 2 tablespoons corn flour
200g caster sugar
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
pinch of salt
100g unsalted butter, cubed and room temperature
2 large eggs
170g morello cherry jam

1. Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F. Line a muffin tray with cases and set aside.
2. Mix the milk and vanilla together and put to one side. In a stand mixer, whisk the flour, cornflour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Add in the butter and mix until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.
3. On a medium speed, add the eggs one at a time. Turn the speed down to low and add the milk and vanilla mix. Mix for 1-2 minutes until well combined.
4. It’s quite a thick batter so you can use an ice cream scoop or a heaped dessert spoon to place the mixtures into each case – about two thirds full.
5. Place a heaped teaspoon of cherry jam on top of each muffin. Using a cocktail stick, swirl the jam through the batter.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes before removing from the tray and placing on a wire rack.

Poppy’s Friday Bake Off
If you would like to write a guest post for Poppy’s Friday Bake Off, please drop me a line at 


Sweet talk: Wharf Road Bakery

Think you’ve had macarons? Pah. You have NOT.

And I say this with confidence. Oodles of it. For I (Poppy) have had macarons from Wharf Road Bakery and LET ME TELL YOU, Poppy Lovers, there is no going back.

The wizard behind Wharf Road Bakery is the Very Clever Miss Giselle Richardson, who makes all the macarons herself, using her very own top secret recipe..but I can tell you that they are gluten free, made from the freshest British ingredients and are ridiculously melt-in-the-mouth-delicious. *Sigh*

Lady Richardson began her mission to make the BestestMacaronsInTheWorld because she discovered that most of the top-notch macarons were being shipped over from Paris. Oui. So although they may taste good (bon) and often delicious (délicieux) they are not ever going to be as super duper fresh as those from WRB. (That’s Wharf Road Bakery). Nor will they be made purely from seasonal ingredients straight from our lush British soil.. e.g. beetroot, pumpkin and apple in Winter… and strawberry, cherry and plum in Summer. Ho hum.


Her delectable flavours are second to none and include favourites, (when I say favourites, I don’t mean mine personally as all of them are my favourite and that would take up too much room to write. Much like this sentence) which take their cues from our charming British heritage, such as Earl Grey, Lavender, Roasted Rhubarb, Cucumber, English Rose and Chocolate Orange…

WRB is leaping from strength to strength, so if Giselle isn’t manning her exceptionally popular weekly stall (there are queues) at Cabbages and Frocks Market in Marylebone, or delivering new scrummy stock to Spitalfields’ A.Gold or The De Beauvoir Deli Co in Islington, then she’s boxing up her macarons for lucky people’s parties, weddings and events. And at £1.50 a go, (or less if you order more than 10) there’s no reason in the world why we can’t all treat ourselves. Or our friends. Or ourselves, again. 

They are, in all seriousness, (serious Poppy) some of the most delicious things I have ever tasted. They are so beautiful, delicate and light that I’m sure that fairies made them.**

So, I say it again. Think you’ve had macarons? Pah. You have NOT.


**Disclaimer: This is not me saying that Giselle is lying when she says she makes them. (Except I think she might be.)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Wharf Road Bakery macarons are currently available every Saturday at Cabbages and Frocks Market, Marylebone, 11am – 5pm.

All orders can be placed via the website:

WIN a box of 20 macarons from Wharf Road Bakery!

All you have to do to win this super duper prize is one of the following, (the more you do the more chances you have.) Please leave me a comment below for each step you complete:

1. Sign up to my mailing list (Completion of this step is compulsory to be entered – please look out for the confirmation email in your inbox, otherwise you won’t be registered!))

2. Become a fan of my Facebook page and share the post

3. Leave a comment on this blog post
4. Follow me and Wharf Road Bakery and RT the competition on Twitter 
5. Follow me on Blog Lovin’ 


Open to the UK only.
Competition ends Friday 22nd February. Good luck!

Poppy’s important terms and conditions:
Entrants not meeting the above requirements will be deemed invalid and therefore not included in the draw. Signing up to my mailing list is compulsory and all the other steps are optional and are additional chances to win, however they will be deemed invalid if the entrant has not completed the compulsory step of signing up to my mailing list. Entrants are to leave a separate comment below for each step they complete. The competition will run from 9am on the 14th February 2013, through to midnight 22nd February 2013. I will contact the winner within a week of the competition ending. If the winner doesn’t respond or accept the prize within 2 weeks of notification I reserve the right to draw a new winner. 


Trick or Treat

Ooooooooo! Halloweeeeeen!

Ghosts and ghoulies and children so high on Curly Wurlys they can no longer see straight. Hurruh!

Call me crazy, but when the weeny witches come-a-knocking on my door, yelling ‘Trick or Treat!” (Translation – “Give us a KitKat or we’ll pelt you with raw eggs”) I tend to hide behind the sofa. (This new technique has been developed since living in central London.) 

On the upside, Halloween is still a massive excuse to overdose on naughties and experiment with all things pumpkin, so I wanted to share with you this rather yum recipe from the very yummy blog American Cupcake Abroad. And boy oh boy are they yum. 

These are soft and fragrant and melt-in-the-mouth-pumpkinny-heaven…

Trick or treat? What a daft question.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies – Recipe


p.s. This recipe makes 36, (Uh huh – go gather pals) and if you have no idea what a ‘cup’ is in cooking, Nigella has a great little range to sort out this problem right here.