Sunday, 6 October 2013

A Taste of Britain: Cherry Bakewells for a British Bride-to-Be ♥

What a fun day!  I had the pleasure of being invited to a friend's bridal shower out in Hamilton today - somewhere I had never been although I have lived in Toronto for over 4 years now!  So off I went on a little mini adventure of my own, taking the bus and the train (with some quality book reading time to myself!!) and getting to spend the day with an old friend from England who also now lives in Canada - yey!

I'm super excited that I will get to share in their wedding day in November, and was so happy to be able to join her today at her English tea party themed shower!  What great friends she has :)  Everything was decorated with red, white and blue, with streamers, bunting and Union Jack patterned plates her sister even shipped from England for the party!  There were afternoon tea style sandwiches, scones and teacup cupcakes as well as lots of amazing tea cups and saucers for the tea of course.  Everything was delicious - I'm stuffed!!

For the party I asked if I could take something along, perhaps something English inspired.  And they said yes!  Yey!  An excuse to bake wahoo :-D

I knew the perfect item for the day - something I had baked just once before and included on my blog when I first started to write up posts before I made the blog live, and to be's a terrible post with terrible photos... so here goes take 2!  Hope you don't mind the repeat - but honestly, check it out and make the comparison - I hope you think this one is better hehe!

This Cherry Bakewell traybake definitely was the front runner while thinking about the best thing to bake.  I knew my friend had mentioned Bakewell Tarts whilst once talking about English treats we miss!  And I thought a traybake style would be a good one to cook, and then slice up each to eat in little pieces for party food.  I also love how these little squares look, the pure white icing flooded over the top, and then of course a cherry on top - literally!!

I got some really nice feedback from everyone - it was great to hear that they all liked the cakes - especially as they were something they hadn't tried before :)  I know I also got a big thumbs up from Jonathan too - he got a few of the extras before I left for the shower ~ Breakfast Bakewells!!  ... But it was nice to get the positive comments too from not my biased husband!!!

So, if you're also unfamiliar with Cherry Bakewells here's the breakdown of what makes it SO SUPER delicious!

First off, the bottom layer is a deliciously unhealthy sweet shortcrust pastry.  The original recipe stated to use the ready-made ready-to-roll kind... However not only is this sweet shortcrust not really available like that anywhere I have seen in Toronto, but also, where's the fun in that?!  I rarely get the chance to do much pastry cooking so it's fine by me to have the opportunity to do this.  But if you're in a country - like England where you can buy this ready-made pastry easily, it certainly would cut the cooking time down.

So bottom layer pastry, with a juicy layer of strawberry jam on top.  Next up is the almond spongey cake - a frangipane topped with a thick layer of icing, and sprinkled with toasted flaked almonds and of course, that cherry on top!

So it's a little of a Bakewell Tart (pastry, jam and frangipane topped with sliced almonds) and a little more of a Cherry Bakewell (my favourite is the Mr. Kipling brand!) which are baked in small tart shells and topped with the thick icing layer and a cherry on top.  These are some we ate recently brought back from my July trip to England :)

Mix those two delicious treats together and bake in a traybake and you have this Cherry Bakewell traybake that makes for a perfect sweet addition to any English tea party!

Recipe time!  I'll include the recipe for the pastry too if you want to try this out as well, let me know if you have any questions about any part of it :)  Would be happy to spread the cherry bakewell love ♥

For the pastry... This made 565g of pastry dough which covered the traybake pan (33x23cm) and had some left over.


300g plain flour
150g unsalted butter, chilled and chopped.
90g caster sugar (for the first time I actually tried using the Lantic dissolving sugar as I often cannot find caster sugar here... it worked!  I'll use it again for sure)
1 egg yolk
1.5 tablespoon chilled water


1.  Combine flour, butter and sugar in a bowl (or food processor) and rub between fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  I use my fingertips for the majority of this process, until the butter is soft and combined with the flour in the breadcrumbs, but then also use the pastry cutter just to make sure no lumps are left!

2.  Add the yolk and chilled water and combine until the dough just comes together.

3.  Turn the pastry onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.  Shape into a disc and wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

So 30 minutes to kill?!... Nope!  Time to get to work on the cake part of the traybake....(and also to kindly ask your VERY KIND husband to run to the shop to get some seedless strawberry jam, because the one in your fridge you thought was correct ACTUALLY was raspberry ... booo!!)

For the frangipane:


500g sweet shortcrust pastry
6 tbsp strawberry jam (I chose seedless as a personal preference for a smoother taste!)
200g unsalted butter
200g granulated sugar (I didn't want to risk the dissolving extra fine sugar here for this but if you have the real deal caster sugar go with that!)
4 eggs
100g ground almonds
100g self-raising flour
1 tsp pure almond extract
300g icing sugar (powdered sugar)
3 tbsp water
24 glacé cherries
25g toasted flaked almonds (2 minutes carefully watched in the toaster oven did it for me)


1.  Preheat the oven to 200°C/390°F.
2.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to fit the base of the traybake pan.  (Mine is a Wilton 33 x 23cm)

3.  Spread the jam over the pastry base.

4.  Place the butter and caster sugar in a large bowl and beat in mixer (or with a hand whisk) until smooth and creamy.

5.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding 1 tbsp ground almonds after each addition.

6.  Add the flour, remaining ground almonds and almond extract and stir well.

7.  Spoon the mixture over the jam, spreading to make an even layer.

8.  Bake for 35 - 40 minutes until well risen, firm and golden.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.

At this point, once the cake was cooled, I actually very carefully (and maybe too riskily) turned out the cake/pastry onto a chopping board as I didn't really want to be slicing the cake in the non-stick pan.  If you're not as weird about that as I am do just leave it in there and pour the icing over and cut into it no problem!

9.  When the cake is cooled make a start on the icing.  Sieve the icing sugar into a large mixing bowl and add 3 tbsp water to make a fairly thick icing.

10.  Spoon the icing on top, spreading evenly.

11.  Decorate with glacé cherries and flaked almonds and leave to set.

12.  Cut the tart into squares or rectangles, serve and enjoy :)

Like seriously enjoy... the crunchy flaky bite through the pastry, the juicy fruity jam layer and the spongey almond flavour with the added sweetness on top.  I'm about to enjoy one of the extras right now actually... YUM!

Happy Bakewell-ing!  
And HUGE congratulations to the bride-to-be ♥ 
I'm a big fan of British girl marrying Canadian boy and can't wait to share your special day :)


  1. Oh wow that looks good!!

    I have a giveaway going on and today is the last day to enter, would love for you to check it out!

    1. Thanks so much Jennie! Great to have you here :)

  2. It's a gorgeous and very unique cake!!

    1. Thank you so much Winnie! It is so delicious too, but so glad you like the look of it! I love the surprise cake in your picture too, I just tried one last week with a pumpkin design... the heart looks way cuter tho!! Thanks for reading :)

  3. Looks amazing! Super easy too.. Might attempt this weekend. :)

    1. I think it is amazingly delicious yes!! I hope you got to try it? Would love to see or hear about it if you did!! Thanks for stopping by :)

  4. Yummy and so pretty! I love anything with cherries. Pinning so I remember to make them!

    1. Wow thanks so much Marie! Love that you pinned it, hope you do get to try them :) Would love to hear about it if you do!

  5. Saying hi from Whatever Goes Wednesday. I'm your latest follower and those cherry bakewells look so yummy. I am British and have actually never made them but thanks so much for the recipe. I will try them out!

    1. Oooh yes! I do hope you get to try them :D I LOVE them a lot... too much so highly recommend them! Let me know if you do try it, I'd love to see pics!

      Thanks for stopping by to check mine out!

  6. I love bakewell tarts. I'm originally from England and moved to Canada 13 years ago to be with my husband. These are one of the treats I miss. I shall be trying this recipe! Thanks for sharing. :)

    1. Oh wow! I've only been here 5 years so you must miss thigns even more than I do!!!

      Hope you get to try these out, it's a bit of the homeland in our kitchen :) Would love to hear about it if you do!!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and reading about them!

    2. Ohhh I've only been here 5 years so you must miss things even more than I do!! I do hope you get to try them out, it'll be like a taste of the homeland in your kitchen, and they're so delicious!

      Would love to hear about it if you do :D

      Enjoy a taste of Britain!!

  7. Darlin'! These look amazing. I will for sure have to give these a try :) I just pinned them and you will be featured @ Great Idea Thursday's!

    1. Thank you SO MUCH Krista! I'm so happy you gave me a feature for these! Glad you liked them :D

  8. Another great recipe tutorial :) Thanks for sharing on Tutorial Thursdays Linky Party. Your post will be featured in the Recipe Round up this week.
    Marigolds' Loft
    P.S. Pinned :)


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