Tuesday, 30 July 2013



Hydrangeas.....one of my absolute favourites.
Usually quite 'purist' in my taste for these bountifully, beautiful, frothy delights......the length of our back deck area is underplanted with quite a number of Hydrangea 'Annabel' which this year have established in to a sea of stunning white, softening the hard landscaping and creating an uplifting glow at night.

However, I could not resist this beautiful pink and white Hydrangea 'Macrophylla' from our local farm shop at the weekend.  Large pale pink petals, delicately edged with darker pink....which almost 
look hand painted.  
I shall enjoy its loveliness inside for a while, before planting outside in the Autumn.

My route back from our local farm shop takes me past acres of beautiful cherry orchards, one of several fruit crops that Kent, the 'Garden of England' is well known for.  As with most good things, cherries made their way to England via the Romans (many a Roman road had cherry trees along its length, sprouted they say from stones spat by marching legions!), their cultivation was continued first by monks, then after the dissolution of the monasteries, by the large estates.  King Henry VIII ordered cherry orchards to be planted in Kent, where they enjoy well drained soil and a sheltered climate. These are a sight to behold in the Spring, with acres of stunning blossom.  Their fruiting season is short.....often only two weeks.....but a number of 'pop up' cherry stalls can be found at this time, on the edge of the road, or in the case of our local one down the lane.......set up in the orchard itself where it is always such a lovely seasonal tradition to drive in and pick up a punnet of these dark, delicious treats.

So sweet and juicy.....they rarely last long before being eaten...but if you can resist consuming the lot before even getting home.....then a cake seems a lovely way to capture the short lived 
cherry season!

This is a recipe form Rachel Allen's cookbook 'Bake'.....I love Rachel's recipes and have several of her books.....when it comes to cakes and puddings, it is usually to her that I turn to 
for inspiration.

Today, to celebrate the cherry season, I would love to share her 'Cherry Crumble Cake'......delicious, and perfect to double up as a dessert with creme fraiche or whipped cream.....


350g (12oz) juicy, ripe fresh cherries (weight after stones have been removed)
150g (5oz) self-raising flour
pinch of ground cinnamon
50g (2oz) caster sugar
1 egg
30ml (1fl oz) milk
100g (3.5oz) butter melted
Icing sugar, for dusting

For the crumble topping:
25g (1oz) plain flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
25g (1oz) caster sugar
25g (1oz) butter, cubed

20cm (8in) diameter spring-form/loose bottomed tin

Preheat oven to 180 degrees (350), gas mark 4.  Butter the sides of the cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.  Remove the stalks and stones from the cherries using a cherry pitter if you have one, to keep the fruit whole, otherwise cut them in half and discard the stones.  Set aside.

Sift flour and cinnamon into a bowl, add sugar, mix together and make a well in the centre.  Whisk the egg, milk and melted butter together in another bowl, then pour into the dry ingredients and combine with a wooden spoon or whisk.  Beat well to make a thick, smooth mixture, then spoon in to the prepared tin and spread evenly.  Scatter the cherries over the mixture and gently press them in with the back of a fork.

To make the topping, tip all the ingredients into a bowl.  Rub in the butter with your fingertips to make a crumb-like mixture and scatter the topping over the cherries. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the top is lightly golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Leave in the tin for 10 minutes until cool enough to handle, then run a knife around the edge and remove from tin.  Allow to cool and dust with icing sugar.

Yummy.......Bon app├ętit!

I hope you are having a lovely week....

Sophia xx


  1. Thanks for te recipe CHERRY CRUMBLE CAKE

  2. Sophia,

    What a lovely hydrangea. And so charming in that cache pot. I love its unusual form of wicker and zinc. Where did you find it?

    Kent is beautiful. We visit Goudhurst and Tunbridge Wells frequently. BTW, I like the Wagamama there :)

    Bye for now,