Monday, 14 July 2008


vanilla bean cranberry english scones

cold cubed butter is vital to a flaky scone
dried cranberries are a deliciously slightly tart addition to this scone mixture
the scone dough looks good enough to eat raw!

I made some delightful scones the other day to go with the huge batch of strawberry jam I have. I used Yard's recipe for traditional English scones. I concur with Yard about the size of scones. In North America, they're obscenely huge and taste kind of dry and doughy. I like them small and with clotted cream (if you can get it) and homemade preserves. I adapted her recipe and added vanilla bean seeds to the dough and kicked it up with some dried cranberries.

I'm kind of pressed for time, so I won't post the recipe today. If there's significant interest out there, just leave a comment and I'll do it.


Today is Day 1 of my challenge to complete Bebe's 5th birthday cake.

I foolishly opened my big trap and promised her I'd bake her any kind of cake she wants.

Bebe, in her princess stage still, asked for the Cover Page cake on the Wilton 2008 magazine we saw at Michaels. My mouth dropped. I offered to make her one of those character-shaped cakes instead.

She shook her head and said I could do it. She was adamant that I make her the Romantic Castle Cake. She wanted the cake itself to be chocolate and she wanted some pink in it too. So I used as many coupons as I could over the course of 2 months preparing for this day. I purchased the cake kit with the coupon, bought fondant premade because the cake itself was daunting enough without having to make fondant too, and started collecting all the elements I would need to complete this humongous 2-tiered behemoth of a kiddie cake.
I wanted to do much of the decorative elements in advance and so, with one week to go, I will be starting the over 285 mini fondant flowers that I have to make by hand. Yup. you read right: 285 PLUS additional in case of breakage. I'm sure breakage will 11pm with my eyes crossed, hair covered in confectioners' sugar, fingers crusted with the sticky fondant and my whole kitchen a mess of dirty bowls stained with pink, green and blue food colouring.

I may try to take pictures tonight of those flowers...we'll see what kind of a mood I'm in. I really can't start making any of these things until both kids are asleep. So I'll start some time after 8pm I think.
August 8, 2008 update
This is for Kassandra:
As requested, I'm posting the recipe I used for these mini scones!
(adapted from Yard's "Traditional English Scones" in Desserts by the Yard
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling (optional)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 oz (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon grated orange zest [i omitted this from my recipe]
1 vanilla bean pod: scrape out seeds and set pod aside for alternate use (vanilla sugar!) [Yard doesn't use vanilla at all]
1 large egg
1/2 cup heavy cream, or more as needed [Yard uses half cream and half milk]
1/3 cup dried cranberries (craisins) [Yard uses raisins...I don't like raisins but craisins are great!]
milk for brushing
  1. Place racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two 12 x 17 inch half sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and zest if using and vanilla seeds and mix on low speed for 1 minute, until the butter and flour are broken down into pieces the size of walnut meats. Use your thumb and forefinger to flatten the "walnuts". Then take up the mixture and rub briskly between your hands.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and cream. Add to the flour mixture along with the craisins and blend at low speed just until the dough comes together, about 10 seconds. If it seems dry, add a bit more cream, a tablespoon at a time
  4. Line your work surface with parchment, dust the parchment with flour, and scrape out the dough. Shape into an 8-inch square, about 1 inch thick. You can use a rolling pin for this. Cut the dough into 2-inch squares. If making triangles, cut the squares in half on the diagonal. [in my recipe i cut 32 mini triangles] Flip the scones over and place on the parchment-lined pans. Brush with milk (or cream) and sprinkle with sugar if desired.
  5. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, until dark golden brown and puffed.


Lori said...

that looks so good! i love cranberry, and vanilla bean would be a nice change of pace from the usual orange. yum!

RosieTulips said...

I'd love to eventually see the scone recipe.

Good luck with the birthday cake! It sounds like it's going to be absolutely FABulous!

Manggy said...

Dough looks good enough to eat-- agreed! I have a few scone recipes here, I'm not sure which one I should trust. Maybe Claire Clark's 'cause she's English, heh :)

Good luck! I'm praying for no breakage! You can do it!! :)

giz said...

I have this vision in my head (as warped as it is) of these scones cooling on a tray by the window and suddenly and rather mysteriosly, the begin disappearing - can you guess who'd be waiting by the window?

Zen Chef said...

This is EXACTLY what i need. I made a ton of sour cherrie jam today. I NEED SCONES!!! :-)

Clumbsy Cookie said...

You are right! I would eat that dough raw!

Katrina said...

Been in the food blogging world for a few months and LOVE baking (mostly cookies), but just found your blog via a comment on Clumbsy Cookie and wanted you to know I love your blog. Everything looks SO great! You have a talent. I've marked it to check your blog out often.

Kassandra said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! :o) I can't wait to try them! Hopefully I'll get to them by the end of this week. :o) I'll let you know how mine turn out! Thanks again!

Laurina said...

This looks good!! Could you also do a blog for cheese scone please?


Cakebrain said...

Hey Laurina,
thanks for the comment! I won't be getting around to cheese scones for a while, but you can easily adapt this recipe for cheese scones. Just eliminate the sugar, zest and vanilla and incorporate some shredded cheese in the dough instead of using craisins.


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