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Anne recently contributed to the 'Make History' programme on BBC Radio 4

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Anne Wilkinson - Author and Historian

British Cakes

This is work in progress

British Cakes
Just a sample of the sumptious cakes available from The Tea Room.
Occasionally served on Poole Twintone pottery plates!

My daughter and I started The Tea Rooms in Stoke Newington to try to revive an interest in traditional British cakes, scones and biscuits. Why are people now so ready to eat croissants, American muffins and cookies without question, when they are neglecting the delicious British equivalents? Is it because these have been so debased by supermarkets relying so much on preservatives and ready packaged products, that people have forgotten what freshly baked cakes and pastries are like? Also, with all the talk of food miles and the emphasis on eating locally produced food, why are they so happy to eat pastries and Continental bread made from dough imported from France?

I thought I would look at the origins of scones, which I realised I knew very little about. Then it occurred to me to find out what the origins were of so many well known British cakes. My mission will take me from Chelsea to Bakewell, Dundee to Bath, by way of Grasmere, Eccles, Banbury, Grantham and many more places that have given their names to cakes and pastries. If you have a favourite recipe, let me know, or if you’ve always wondered how the Swiss Roll got its name, or who invented the Battenburg, let me find out for you.

I have no idea when this book will be ready – it depends how long it takes me to do the journeys and bake the cakes. In the meantime, visit The Tea Rooms, if you get the chance, and you’ll find some of the best cakes, scones and biscuits in the British Isles.

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