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So here’s the overview of the mammoth table of buffet food – we had about 20 people in all, so we didn’t want anyone to go home hungry! We nearly ran out of sandwiches, but other than that, we beat the stomachs and ended up eating leftovers for a couple of days…
We had a variety of sandwiches – smoked salmon and cream cheese, Belgian ham and dijon mustard with salad and baby tomatoes, caramelised onion chutney and cheese, egg mayonnaise, and of course, cucumber (boring). I love a good sandwich!
We also made Jamie Oliver’s mackerel pate from his British Picnic menu from 30 Minute Meals. People went nuts for this, but I really wasn’t keen. I thought I’d love it, but it sort of made me squeamish!
We also bagged Heston’s special royal trifle from Waitrose. It was incredibly pricey, and wasn’t a real trifle. All in all, it was a bit of a miss for me – vastly overshadowed by a family classic called Rennie’s Pudding, which I’ll talk about in a minute.
Heston’s trifle was really pretty though! Caramelised nuts, freeze dried strawberries, rose petals – lovely! Only trouble is, because it was topped with meringue, sitting on cream, it was pretty much destroyed as soon as you tried to take a spoonful.
I don’t know where this pudding came from, but we’ve always had it in our family and it’s blimming delicious – and so simple! It’s just fresh fruit, covered with cream, and then topped with sugar caramel.
I also made a gin and tonic jelly from the delicious Nigella Lawson – how English can you get, right? I’d never made jelly before, although I have made panna cotta, so it was an interesting experience. But it uses a remarkable amount of gelatine – more leaves than they even sell in one pack from the supermarket I shop at. Wowza. Maybe because it contains A QUARTER OF A LITRE OF GIN? That’s right! That’s a lot, I think. This jelly also made me realise I actually do like gin and tonic as well. But I’ll always be a Pimm’s girl at heart…
It looks very innocent, but you should not attempt to drive or operate heavy machinery after eating this jelly…
Sitting proudly on top of the most expensive cake stand I have ever, and hopefully will ever, buy in my life is a Victoria sponge – a real classic. It was spruced up with some chantilly cream and blueberries and strawberries, just to give it patriotic colours. To be honest, we could have done without it, because it’s sort of, shall we say, restrained, compared to some of the outrageous puddings on offer, but I HAD to use my cake stand. This sucker cost me about £50! I’ve had my eye on one ever since I saw it on a blog somewhere – I think it was Bakerella’s, maybe. But I recently suffered a tragic loss in my life after every single damn cake stand I owned fell off the top of the fridge and smashed. I was gutted. The whole collection, gone at once. So I had to replace them, and this cake stand will hopefully last longer. I spent the whole day before the party, and the day of, shrieking at people ‘DON’T BREAK THE CAKE STAND. DO NOT TOUCH IT. IT WAS VERY EXPENSIVE’. It didn’t really create the atmosphere of relaxed, casual and classy hosting that I wanted to project, but you know, it’s still in one piece, so it was worth it.
This was also a new purchase just for this party (I know, ridiculous – I am still literally paying this off) – a cute cake stand from Cake Stand Heaven. You may remember me drooling over these before – LOVE them! I bought this one in green to match my nan’s china, which I inherited from her last year. Unfortunately, I also had to shout at people about this too, as you are expressly NOT supposed to pick it up using the handle on the top, as it can smash the china plates – it’s not a weight bearing handle. So of course, anytime anyone wanted to move this baby around, they used the handle on the top. Tsk.
My mum added these beautiful flowers to the cup right before we ate – a really nice touch! She’s also responsible for the pretty flower display on the table, she did an awesome job!
So, that was our buffet! Do you guys have any memories, photos or blog posts to share to do with your Royal Wedding party?
- Heston Blumenthal creates Royal wedding trifle (telegraph.co.uk)
- The ultimate sandwich ideas for a royal wedding watching party (distractedgourmet.wordpress.com)
- Sweet treats for your Royal buffet (distractedgourmet.wordpress.com)
- The definitive list of Royal wedding party food to buy (distractedgourmet.wordpress.com)
There have been loads of new products on the market to cash in on the Royal wedding! I’ve been trying to keep up with them but it’s a fair struggle to list them all. Here are the ones I’ve managed to track down, listed by supermarket/seller. If you spot anything, comment below and I’ll include it!
Saffron-infused cream, strawberry compote, meringue, and crumbled Amaretti biscuits soaked in Marc de Champagne, topped with rose petals, caramel almonds and dried strawberries.
Cute little gingerbread couples – the groom even comes with a cool Union Jack waistcoat!
Poached pears, rum and chocolate – yum!
MARKS AND SPENCERS
Royal Wedding Celebration Collection, £65 for 12 bottles
This huge case contains two bottles of Brut Cava Prestige, two of Bellante Sparking Rose, two Pinot Grigio 2010, two of Vouvray Domaine de la Pouvraie 2009, two classic Claret 2009 and two Nebbiolo d’Alba 2006. Now that’s a party…
What could be more romantic than a pie? Beef, wine, bacon, pearl onions, mushrooms and brandy make this a bit of a treat – although I can’t really see it being served at a party!
Wedding Cake Icecream, £3.39
If you like wedding cake, but you don’t want to go to all the bother of going to a wedding to eat it, compromise with this wedding cake icecream, which features a spiced fruit flavour, along with almond ripple, royal icing drops and sponge pieces.
Kiss Me Kate beer, price TBC
Brewed by Castle Rock in Nottingham, this beer is sold in 500ml bottles.
Five sandwiches: chicken and stuffing, ham, cheese and pickle, tuna and cucumber, prawn mayo and cheese and onion. Available from 11th April – 3rd July.
Royal Windsor Red Cheese, £9.99/kg
Cheddar with port and brandy, layered with blue stilton. Made by Long Clawson dairy. Available from 11th April – 8th May.
Prince William Royal Wedding Cuvee, £19.99 for 75cl
A special French champage specially developed to celebrate the Royal wedding
FOREMAN AND FIELD
Poire William Truffles, £5.95 for four
Developed especially for the Royal wedding, these are white chocolate truffles infused with poire william spirit.
Royal Wedding Hamper, £120.11
A hamper for six, this contains Royal Fillet of London Cure Smoked Salmon, Palace Earl Grey Tea, a homemade Victoria Sandwich cake with Royal blueberry, Mrs Kings’ Pork Pie, Alderton ham, Colston Bassett Stilton and a sensational sparkling wine from Sussex.
FORTNUM & MASON
Royal Wedding Tea, £7.50 per tin
This tin contains 125g of a special blend of large leaf Assam tippy golden flowery orange pekoe 1 and Eastern Kenya orange pekoe leaf tea. Assam is a traditional component of Fortum’s royal tea blends, and the Kenyan leaf is a nod to the country where the happy couple were engaged. What a thoughtful choice!
Royal Wedding Marc de Champagne Truffles, £8.00 for three
Presented in a beautiful white box, these truffles are certainly indulgent given the price!
With milk and dark chocolate, these novelty shapes are perfect for a leisurelywedding watch – when served with a cup of tea!
Royal Wedding Rose Petal Jelly, £12.95 for 340g
Made with rose petals from Oxfordshire, which are supposedly picked at night when they are at their most fragrant, this jelly is housed in a limited edition jar studded with Swarovski crystals.
Royal Wedding Shortbread, £13.95 for 400g tin
Formed into traditional petticoat tail shapes, these crumbly biscuits are a great way to celebrate the wedding whilst keeping a long-term memento in the cupboard!
Royal Wedding Marc Demarquette Chocolate Heart, £25.00 for 100g
Some extraordinarily nice sounding flavours lurk in this beautifully designed box – all of them handmade in England. The flavours include Devon strawberry caramel, Kentish cobnut, Cornish sea salt caramel, and English rose.
Union Jack Box, £14.99 for 200g
A selection of various flavours designed to celebrate the Royal wedding: pink Marc de Champagne, sea salt caramel, orange and lemon, praline and passion fruit.
Great British Pudding Bars, £2.49 each
Not specifically Royal wedding related, but I had to include these because I thought it was such a cool idea! The 100g bars come in three traditionally British pudding flavours, Apple Crumble (Venezuelan Milk Chocolate with Apple and Biscuit), Spotted Dick (Venezuelan Milk Chocolate with Raisins and Hazelnuts) and Eton Mess (Ecuadorian Dark Chocolate swirled with Creamy White Chocolate with Strawberry & Meringue).
Twinings Royal Wedding White Earl Grey, £5.00 per caddy
In a commemorative tin, this light Earl grey tea blend has the flavour of rose petals to give it that floral, romantic touch.
Walkers Royal Wedding Shortbread, £10.00 per tin
Plastered with a photo of the happy couple of the day of their engagement announcement, this tin contains 450g of shortbread, and is limited edition.
McVities Royal Wedding Tin, £5.00
A selection of classic McVities biscuits, with another engagement photo on the front.
Country Life Great British Butter (price varies)
A pat of British butter, swathed in the Union Jack and available at all good supermarkets for the month of April.
- Heston Blumenthal creates Royal wedding trifle (telegraph.co.uk)
- How to theme your royal wedding party menu (distractedgourmet.wordpress.com)
- A quick Jamie Oliver menu idea for your royal wedding party (distractedgourmet.wordpress.com)
- Gingerbread Royal Wedding? (kerrycooks.wordpress.com)
- Get a slice of the Royal wedding (thesun.co.uk)
Yesterday, I dangled the promise of a delicious recipe in front of you, and I’m not about to go back on my word! Whilst I’m not claiming that my idea to swap buttercream with real cream on a butterfly cake is really revolutionary, I have to say it makes a huge difference to these cakes. Okay, they won’t keep as long and they’re not as immune to standing around for hours (days?) not being eaten, as with traditional butterfly cakes (like the one below), but to me, they are a million times nicer, and a special treat of epic proportions. Just right, in other words, for serving at your royal wedding watching party!
This is hardly a ground breaking recipe, but I personally had a hard time trying to sort through the many recipes for butterfly cakes I found online for a good one. There were some interesting variations but not a lot of simple, good old fashioned recipes. So, rest assured that if you want to make plain, no-nonsense butterfly cakes, the sponge recipe below, from Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess, will do you right. Then, you only have to follow the directions for the dulce de leche buttercream and omit the dulce de leche, and you’ll have butterfly cakes the old fashioned way in no time.
But life is short, why not try yours with sweet vanilla cream?!
For plain sponge cakes:
125g softened butter
125g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
125g self-raising flour
2-3 tbsp milk
Icing sugar, for dusting
For the sweet cream and dulce de leche topping:
Small tub of double cream
1 tbsp (or to taste) vanilla caster sugar
Tin of Nestle Carnation dulce de leche
For alternative dulce de leche buttercream
125g icing sugar
2 tbsp dulce de leche
Preheat oven to 200c or gas mark 6.
Cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.
Mix the eggs in one by one, adding a large spoonful of flour in between each addition.
When mixed, add the rest of the flour, then mix to a smooth dropping consistency using the milk.
(Alternatively, if you’re one of these super duper posh types what has a fangled machine, simply add all the ingredients except the milk to a processor or food mixer until blended, then add the milk until it reaches the correct consistency. I’m not bitter or jealous at all, honest.)
Line a 12-bun cake tin with cake cases, and pour in the mixture. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden on top.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
While the cakes are cooling, you can make your sweet vanilla cream! Simply add vanilla sugar (or sugar and a hint of vanilla extract) to your double cream, and whisk until it forms soft peaks. You need it to hold its shape when you spoon it onto your cakes, but be careful you don’t overwhisk – I am the worst at over-enthusiastically churning my cream into a grainy mess, so I can talk…
Once you’ve created your sweet cream, you only have to wait for the cakes to cool before assembling.
To make a butterfly cake, simply cut a round circle in your cake, tipping the knife inwards so you form a circular well inside as you do so. Fill to the top with your dulce de leche. Then, finish with a swirl of sweet cream – you can make a jaunty tip simply by using the end of your spoon and lifting off in the middle. Then, cut the piece of cake you excised in half and turn those pieces into the wings of a butterfly, and finish with a dusting of icing sugar.
Here’s what those beauties will look like inside:
An additional thought – if you reckon dulce de leche is too forrun for a patriotic national celebration such as the wedding of Kate and William, why not turn it into a tribute to a classic Victoria sponge by adding a spoonful of jam to the middle instead of caramel?
My tip for these is that the cream should be still chilled when the guests eat (why? Because it’s DELICIOUS that way, try it!), and that they really should be assembled last minute, just because the cream will wilt and spoil if you leave them sitting around for too long.
But, if you want to make your classic butterfly cakes with buttercream, simply cream your sieved icing sugar and very soft butter together until the mix is creamy and white, then add in dulce de leche until you have a still-stiff yet caramelly topping. Finish as above to make your butterfly wings.
Just one thing though…
Don’t forget your icing sugar!
It is absolutely vital for optimum uh, prettiness…
Also, patriotic napkins are optional. (I got mine from Tesco’s.)
- A right royal treat: butterfly cakes! (distractedgourmet.wordpress.com)
In case you haven’t noticed, around here I’m still gearing up for an epic Royal Wedding Watching Party, which will have an afternoon tea theme. I’m trying to assemble a crack team of really British-themed dishes to go with it, and when it comes to afternoon tea and delicious sweet treats, you can’t get much more nostaglia from your calories than with a butterfly cake.
Butterfly cakes have been sadly neglected in recent years for their more ostentatious American cousin, the cupcake. Alas, I am guilty of this as well – you only have to check out the cupcakes section of this blog to see some towering, buttercream topped monstrosities. But here’s the funny thing about me and cupcakes – I love to make them, but I’m not so crazy about eating them. Here’s a frightening confession. I don’t actually really like buttercream all that much.
You forgive me, right? I hope so. But, after all that, some of you are probably thinking – ‘hey, you idiot, fairy cakes are filled with buttercream! That’s the point!’ To you, I say ‘ah hah, I already thought of that.’ So, stay tuned for something that’s going to curl your hair – my recipe for sweet vanilla cream and dulce de leche butterfly cakes, fit for serving at your very own royal wedding watching party!
- I’m in Cake Stand Heaven! (distractedgourmet.wordpress.com)
If there’s one thing your royal wedding watching party (or afternoon tea) should be, it’s stylish. Think sundappled table settings, gorgeous china sets, dainty cakes and even dantier sandwiches. If you’re like me, you probably only dream of owning a proper tea set, and one look at retailers like John Lewis, where they sell aforementioned ‘proper’ tea services, will probably push that dream even further away. It’s actually surprisingly difficult to find really nice tea sets (unless you have mega bucks, in which case EVERYTHING’S easy) as I discovered once I started actually looking for some. But then, I found it… Cake Stand Heaven…
This gorgeous website specialises in selling really beautiful china sets in quirky colour schemes and styles. Last year, I inherited a pretty partial set of glade green china from my nan, and was at a bit of a loss to know what to do with it, until I saw this, a beautiful set of gold and green mismatched china which pulls together the gilt and green elements of my nan’s beautiful set. Alas, that one has already been sold, but here’s a similar one:
By simply picking a couple of colours out of your favourite china trio, you could built up your own – or purchase one ready made at the reasonable price of around £95 for the entire set.
Whoever styles these and puts them together is my new guru of the art of afternoon tea. Check out this amazing Mad Hatter’s Tea Party set:
I just love their range of quirky cake stands which come topped with cups, milk jugs and even teapots!
Can you imagine that top cup filled with some pretty country cottage flowers to compliment the colour scheme? I certainly can…
Cake Stand Heaven even offers a bespoke service to find products in your colour scheme, but there’s so many delightful sets on their site you’ll probably more than enough to browse through… And, if you check out their site and follow them on Facebook, you could even win your own cake stand! Now, that’s pretty neat!