Wednesday, 29 May 2013

My Tea Room at the Sunday Art Salon & a recipe for my favourite Carrot Cake

My first ever Tea Room.  In a little kitchen and dining room, way up in the eaves, overlooking the glorious Hilly Fields in Brockley.  A whole day spent serving freshly baked cakes, tarts and tea and chatting to some wonderful people as the sun streamed through the windows.

The Sunday Art Salon is the perfect place to spend a lazy couple of hours on a Sunday.  Browsing contemporary art, vintage paintings, collectables and antiques.  Meeting and networking with artists, locals and collectors.  Listening to music.  Relaxing with the papers over a light lunch or tea and cakes.

At the very top of this beautiful home, studio and exhibition space in my little tea room, my first day as host was a whirlwind of antique teacups, boiling kettles, warming teapots and (ever glamorous) washing up.  For lunch there was a Stilton, Potato & Caramelised Onion Tart with salad.  On the cake menu were Carrot Cake, Blueberry & Almond Tart and Coffee & Madeira Marble Cake (made with locally roasted Volcano Coffee).  All washed down with big pots of Flint & Co tea served in teacups hunted down in local charity shops and very kindly donated by Sara Smith who designs stunning teacups and saucers here in SE London.

My next Tea Room will be on Sunday 2nd June 2013 at the Sunday Art Salon at Hilly Fields Studio in Brockley from 11am to 5pm.

There was a lot of love for my carrot cake so I thought I'd share the recipe.  It is based on a Family Circle recipe for Passion Cake which was published back in the 1970s, but has evolved a little over time.  It is probably my most baked cake ever.


For the cake: 

4 large eggs
225g caster sugar
225ml sunflower oil
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
280g carrot, finely grated
225g plain flour
1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1.5 tsp baking powder
150g sultanas
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground mixed spice

For the cream cheese frosting:

120g full fat cream cheese
60g unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g icing sugar, sifted


Grease and line two 23cm loose based sandwich tins.  Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Beat the eggs, caster sugar, sunflower oil and vanilla extract for 2-3 minutes until well emulsified.  Stir in all of the other cake ingredients until just mixed.

Divide the cake mixture evenly between the two sandwich tins and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 35-45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Leave to cool in the tins for 5-10 minutes then carefully remove the cakes from the tins and leave to cool completely on a wire cooling rack. 

Whilst the cake is cooling, make the cream cheese frosting by beating all of the ingredients together until smooth.

Place one of the cooled cakes onto your serving plate.  Cover with about a third of the cream cheese frosting.  Place the other cake on top and then ice with the remaining cream cheese frosting.  Decorate with toasted, chopped nuts.

Serves 12


  1. Appearing soon as a gluten free version in a kitchen near me :)
    Looks fab. So wish I could be there....

  2. ... pop up tea room! What a great idea!!!