A Proper English Tea

May 12th, 2008
This is my friend, Liz.  Liz is from England.  She makes really good cakes. 
Liz lines her cake pans with parchment, because that is what the really good cake makers do. 
The really good cake makers also warm up their eggs in the microwave before they crack them into their cake mixes… which by the way DO NOT COME FROM A BOX!
Liz used self rising flour for this particular cake, which is a Victoria Sponge Cake…or you can also call it a Victoria Sandwich.  But it is not a sandwich… this is just English cake lingo.  
Here is Liz dividing her batter into two pans.  
After baking for about twenty five minutes, Liz’s cakes looked like this.  
Next Liz made a butter cream icing, which is comprised of butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk.  Liz just wings this recipe.  She has made butter cream icing so many times she actually fell asleep at the mixer.  Ethan was her sous chef.
While making the icing, one of Liz’s sons Miles brought in a frog to show us.

Then Miles spread some raspberry jam on one of the cakes.  
I have no idea what happened to that little frog.
Here is where the sandwich part comes in.  You see the two cakes with the butter cream icing and the raspberry jam “sandwiched” in between.  
Powdered sugar on top.  

While Liz was making her cakes and icing from scratch… I made this very, very, very complicated berry compote to serve alongside the cake.  To make this intensely difficult compote you open three bags of frozen berries.  Then you place the berries in a bowl.  Then you microwave the berries for about two minutes.  Then you mash them up a bit.  Then you wipe the sweat from your brow.  Then you put them on the table.  I hope this recipe doesn’t intimidate you too much.

Here is our Mother’s Day tea.
Here is our cake.

Here is Nicholas the sideways French student that is visiting Liz and her family for two weeks.  

Liz and I took our cake outside to celebrate ourselves as we were clearly the only mothers around.  The smudgy blur across Liz’s face is due to having a camera around eight children while baking, which is why we escaped to the deck in the first place.  Do you think my sunglasses are big enough?  Wait… don’t answer that! 
 Liz’s recipe for Victoria’s Sponge came from a book called Baking Really, Really Complicated Things That are Probably Too Hard for a Person Who Normally Uses a Cake Mix… or something like that.  For a recipe that is similar to Liz’s you can go here, however, I have no idea what a “knob” of butter is.     
Please do not feel badly if you are too intimidated to even try my berry compote recipe.  I recommend baby steps.  Baby steppin‘ frozen fruit.  Baby steppin‘ open frozen fruit bags.  Baby steppin‘ shove frozen fruit in microwave.  
Name that movie!  It is one of my all time favorites.  
Later this week – more on N., the sideways French foreign exchange student who visited our fake farm and  learned the art of American boyhood which involves guns, gasoline, firecrackers, bats, balls and did I say guns yet???  
Au Revoir!  
The Country Doctor’s Wife


  • Anonymous:

    It’s What About Bob? and it’s one of our faves, too! The cake looks yummy! Happy Mom’s Day!Denise

  • Marilyn:

    Yes, I was going to chime in with What About Bob? too. What about knob? Such lovely cake and tea! Happy Mother’s Day, Rechelle – and baby steps, always baby steps.

  • ShackelMom:

    Yes, what about Bob, did he like the cake too? Makes my mouth water!

  • casapinka:

    FUNNY post – love the name of the recipe book. Heating up eggs – who knew?!

  • Rechelle:

    NO WAY!!! I thought I was the only person in the world that memorized quotes from “What About Bob”. Doctor – “I am going to write you a prescription.Bob – No… no more drugs.Doctor – This is not a prescription for more drugs. This is a prescription to take a vacation from your problems.Bob – Take a vacation from my problems! Take a vacation from my problems! You are a genius doctor! This is really going to work for me. I can just feel it. I am going to take a vacation from my problems!

  • MUD:

    Once upon a time my dad thought that it might be nice to try to cook an egg in the shell in the microwave. It blew up with so much force that it cracked the glass pan in the bottom. I think you would be better served to take the eggs out of the icebox and set them on the counter for an hour or two than trying the dangerous experiment of warming your eggs in a microwave. Or, at least crack them into a glass measuring cup and heating them for no more than 15-30 seconds. The cake looks great. MUD

  • Kathy from NJ:

    A knob of butter is however much you want it to be. Since it was used to grease the pans, probably a tbsp., maybe more.I always use parchment paper; most of my pans are Magic Line brand with straight sides and true corners, the parchment makes clean-up a breeze.Did anyone end up having frog legs with their sandwich?When I bake if I haven’t gotten the eggs up to room temp in advance, I put them in warm water till they come up to room temp. Much less dangerous than the microwave.

  • Jenni:

    I see I’m not the only one who thought of exploding eggs. How about running them under warm water. Would that work? Then again, what do I know? I have been known to make a cake from a box.Now, tell me. Are you the one who also likes Groundhog Day? I’ve seen a blogger quote that before, but I can’t remember who. I think maybe I have a slight aversion to Bill Murray as I think these are two of the most annoying movies ever made. What About Bob, Groundhog Day and Napoleon Dynamite (which did not feature Bill Murray). I also didn’t think Stripes and Ghostbusters were nearly as amusing as everyone else seemed to think and I really resent practically being forced to watch Stripes ten times between middle school and my senior year. I think I need a prescription for that.

  • MaBunny:

    What About Bob!! Love it , too funny. And those cakes looked nummy! Hope you had a great mothers day!

  • Tracie:

    WHAT ABOUT BOB! Probably the best movie out there. I love when he talks to his daughter with the puppets!

  • Coffee Bean:

    LOVE the cooking advice from MUD! LOL! Looks like you had a lovely Mother’s Day.

  • Stephanie:

    Oh my! That looks so yummy! How long does she heat up the eggs and what does it do differently? Blessings, Stephanie

  • Rechelle:

    She warmed the eggs up for about 30 seconds. 15 seconds at a time. Liz firmly believes that having all your cake ingredients at room temperature significantly improves your rate of success. All I know is that the cake was fabulous and not even a tiny sliver left over! Dad Gummit!

  • MUD:

    I guess I am too sceart of the microwave after a bowl of Campbell’s potato soup blew up on me as I stuck a spoon in it to give it a stir. I had three burns on my face the size of a quarter and haven’t had canned potato soup since. Thank god I had my glasses on or I could have been blinded in one eye. MUD

  • Rechelle:

    Hey Mud – When I saw her sticking those eggs in the microwave I got a little sceart myself.

  • cndymkr / jean:

    So what ever became of the frog? Was it set free out side or has it taken up residency in your home?

  • Nicola:

    Um, I’ve never even heard of What About Bob. I need to get a movie rental package! Your berry compote is very impressive and quite delicious I’m sure. I made a Victoria sponge this weekend but I’m not a fan of butter icing so I sandwiched it with whipped cream/confectioners sugar with some stewed rhubarb folded through. Mmm, mmmm, mmmmmm. No exploding eggs or frogs, though.

  • Nancy:

    Hey, I want a slice of that fabulous cake sandwich! I think you should make that for book club next month!And, I awarded you an E for Excellent on my blog today.

  • Lotta:

    Delicious! I was an au pair in England for awhile and I miss those cream teas!

  • Miss Jean:

    Oh, my! The cake looks like a piece of cake to make! But that compote….I don’t know if my skills are up to it. Maybe I’ll just make the cake and see if I can buy the compote at the bakery!

  • Mom2Bean:

    Odd Question Time. Did Liz by any chance used to work at the Stowers Institute?