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Street Party Celebratory Bakes
The lead-up to Litha, Midsummer, marks the start of Summer fêtes, festivals, street parties and outdoor gatherings. In fact, today is the annual street party on our road, which is shut for the afternoon and evening for locals to meet and socialise outdoors. A lovely idea in an area where not everyone has their own garden. I’m shut up inside marking all weekend, but the sounds of games, merriment and the sight of the colourful signs from our window is reminding me there’s still fun in the world!
Here in the UK there is set to be a spike in street parties next weekend as the Queen celebrates her Platinum Jubilee and we all get a bonus bank holiday. I’m not a royalist but I do love any excuse for a celebration - and am known to commit to a theme. Regardless of your views on the royals, as May slips into June next week I thought it would be a timely moment to share some recipes fit for a Summer celebration or street party, with some contemporary takes on British baking classics.
Tap on each of the recipe titles to go straight to the full recipe on my blog where you will also find a new bake every Sunday - including a recipe tomorrow for a Summery strawberry trifle layer cake that’s really easy to make.
I first made this cake back in 2018 where I somehow spookily prophesied Meghan and Harry’s wedding cake, which ended up being the same flavours, made by the lovely Claire Ptak of Violet Bakery. This flavour combination practically sings of Summer, a modern twist on a lemon drizzle. And here’s a bonus recipe: lemon drizzle scones (pictured above).
These cupcakes really do taste exactly like the iconic British pud, first invented in the Lake District. Here, the dish is deconstructed: a moist, treacle-rich sponge filled with sweet butterscotch sauce, topped with vanilla buttercream and drizzled with more butterscotch. The recipe was kindly shared with me by iconic Edinburgh institution Cuckoo’s Bakery when I went to their Bruntsfield bakery opening a few years ago.
Biscuits and tea, does it get more British? Custard creams are surely a national favourite - and making your own is surprisingly simple! These biscuits have a seasonal elderflower buttercream filling sandwiched between crumbly custard cream biscuits. I adapted the recipe from the lovely Claire Thomson (@5oclockapron).
I just had to include a recipe with tea in too! This chocolate and Earl Grey torte (pictured below) balances deep, chocolatey richness with the aromatic, fresh notes of Earl Grey. Although it involves a wee bit of faff separating the eggs, it is well worth it for an impressive showstopper of a celebratory dessert. It’s basically a giant, tea-flavoured brownie, with a crunchy crackle topping covering the gooey centre below.
This rose and strawberry Victoria sponge is a twist on everyone’s baking favourite, with rose sponges, flavoured with rose extract, sandwiched with homemade jam and a light as air rose buttercream. You really can’t go wrong with a slice of Vicky sponge at a celebration - it’s a real crowd pleaser, and the rose in this recipe gives it a memorable lift.
Blueberry, honey and lavender Eton Mess combines a fruity, floral compote with the classically British cream and meringue Summer pud. It’s really easy to make - especially if you use shop-bought meringues. Plus, you can make it portable by serving it in jars ( you could even decorate them with coloured ribbons or name tags if you’re feeling fancy). Adapted from Gill Meller’s beautiful Root, Stem, Leaf, Flower.
Happy baking! Let me know if you make any of these recipes for a Summer celebration.