Hello, my name is Katie. I hail from sunny England and I now live in Michigan. I make everything from traditional English scones, and shortbread to the American classic pumpkin pie, which I just adore. I am not a trained chef and I have never taken a cooking lesson in my entire life, I just love a cup of tea and a nice slice of cake.
Growing up my mum used to make some wonderful cakes – beautifully decorated birthday and Christmas cakes, fairy cakes, mince pies, an abundance of fruit cake and my personal favorite Christmas pudding.
Along the way she taught me how to make shortbread, cornflake cakes, jam tarts, along with decorative marzipan balls for the Christmas cake (although after an incident with a marzipan holly berry that quickly came to an end).
My mum taught me that there should always be time in the afternoon (around 3pm) for a cup of tea and a slice of cake (or as we like to call it ‘tea and bickie time’) a tradition I still carry on and something I look forward to every day.
Every Saturday morning when I was fourteen, I worked behind the counter at the village bakery, it was the best job I have ever had. Fresh Cream cakes, bread pudding, Chelsea buns, we just hoped there would be some left over at the end of the day to take home…and of course there always were (I wonder how that happened???)
Despite my early career in the bakery and the lessons from my mum, up until the age of 30 I couldn’t cook a thing. It would either end in a blackened mess or it was just easier to go to a grocery story and buy a box of Mr Kipling French Fancies.
I then got married, moved to Florida and suddenly I wanted to bake. Trust me this desire started very slowly and after several nightmare episodes with pastry (turns out the heat of Florida is not conducive to making pastry successfully) I focused my attention on mince pies and making my first ever Christmas pudding (my mums recipe of course).
To my surprise I was starting to get some good results and my desire to bake began to grow. I gathered together several cookbooks, I tried Paula Deen and Martha Strewart but I missed the cakes from home and so I switched to English baking royalty Delia Smith and Mary Berry.
The books, I soon discovered were easy to acquire (thank you Amazon) but some of the ingredients were not – stem ginger, black treacle and as for suet, no. There was also the difference between ingredients in England and America, who knew self-rising flour in the US contained salt and turned all my steamed puddings into gigantic salt bombs.
I did however overcome these little hurdles and here I am baking several times a week, turning out wonderful shortbread, date and walnut loaf and many other English goodies that go down very nicely with a cup of tea.
England has a fabulous baking history with some great recipes that I think you will enjoy making in your own home. Despite writing a short novel I would like to think what I have shared with you here, along with the content of my blog will inspire you to give some English cakes a go, and try some English Baking In America.