Cake, Sunshine and Good Times

Summer has well and truly arrived. With the hottest July day ever on record this week, we knew we were on for a weekend filled with sunshine.

Taste of Hampshire 2015

It had been a busy week of prep at Martha’s Tea Party HQ. A full wash and wax for our lovely little van was on the cards on Wednesday, ingredient shopping on Thursday and a Bake-a-Rama on Friday. It had been a year since we were last at Taste of Hampshire and we were determined to make it there in our van this time! This photo was spotted in the Southampton Airport Magazine a few weeks ago ūüôā
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Saturday started early, and our Sat Nav took us on some rather interesting roads through Leckford. Thankfully it was 7:30am so we didn’t pass a single a car.¬†We were on site by 8am and raring to go for 10am when the first visitors started arriving.

We had lots of yummy cakes on the menu:

* Victoria Sponge
 * Peanut Butter Goo Bar
 * Chocolate Nostalgia Cake
 * Peanut Butter Cup Brownies
 * Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes
 * Chocolate Orange Brownies
 * Lemon & Poppyseed Drizzle Cake
 * Rocky Road
 * Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Brownies

Our pitch was right by the entrance and we stuck a sign on the front of our van so people could see what we were selling without having to walk round to the front.

We’ll be checking the papers for coverage of the event during the week, but we already spotted this little write up on the Daily Echo online.

Our stand looked lovely with all the cakes in domes, the bunting and the fresh flowers, many people came and commented. Made the extra effort flower arranging the day before worth it.

We sold out of Victoria Sponge, Chocolate Nostalgia Cake and nearly out of Lemon Drizzle. The crowd were loving a slice of cake in the sunshine. We also nearly sold out of our Char Winchester Breakfast, think we’ll need to restock before the next event!

We had a truly brilliant day, thank you to everyone who came down to support us and say hello!

Lots of Love

Martha’s Tea Party x

Extra, Extra…

I don’t often blog from a personal perspective, but felt it was appropriate for a change. At the Sparsholt Food Festival I was approached by a photographer working with the local papers and asked to pose for some photos. No problem; any excuse to whack a smile on my face,¬†turn my head a little to the left (to showcase my best side) and get all my cakes in the frame. I never expected it to be the only photo used in the local press for the event!

Twitter is by far my least favourite form of social media, perhaps I was late signing up, or perhaps now being over 30 I’m just struggling to understand its purpose. Anyway, I digress. We were informed of our presence in¬†The Hampshire Chronicle¬†via Twitter and I only noticed this 20 hours after we’d been told.

Pretty much within 10 minutes I was in the car on the way to source copies of the newspaper.

Turns out I make quite a good alternative Page 3 Girl; that is if your into cakes, or women who bake cakes.

Hampshire Chronicle

Whilst rummaging in the newsagent, I discovered that my mug was even bigger in the Andover Advertiser

Andover Advertiser

The story has also been picked up by the¬†Basingstoke Gazette, though it doesn’t seem to have made the print addition. Still nice to be featured in my home town though.

From the moment that¬†Martha’s Tea Party became a reality, it’s been one hell of a journey. There have been highs and lows, fun times and not so fun times. To see our photo being used in print, in black and white (and colour), really does cement not only how far I have come personally, but it also shows that business is achieving in setting out what it wanted to do – bringing our unique take on cake to the masses.

So as we are starting to fill up our weeks with more baking, mechanics and tea making than you could shake a stick at, I’d like to thank every single one of you. Whether you are a friend, a family member or a cake addict I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting yet, you’re stars, each and every one of you. Thank you for your continued support.

Come and join us for a cuppa and piece of cake soon.

Love

Nicola x
Owner/Operator of Martha’s Tea Party

The Nostalgic Wedding Fair

Three weeks ago we were sitting at Heathrow Airport about to depart for Abu Dhabi when we got confirmation that there was vehicle space at The Nostalgic Wedding Fair (run by The Vintage Parade) at Winchester Guildhall. It meant we had to get our act together!

Following that email were a few weeks of hard graft getting the last few details of the van finished, a good deep clean inside and out all topped off with a coat of wax. All that was needed was some dressing up and some baking to showcase our offering to the Brides and Grooms of Winchester and beyond.

The night before was full of baking, writing up our new chalkboard (with bargain frame found on eBay) and colouring in cake labels when our printer ran out of ink!

chalkboard

We hit the hay about midnight knowing we’d be up early to get to the Guildhall and set up in time for opening.

Sunday arrived and the weather could not have been more perfect. Winchester is a glorious city to live in, but when the sun shines it draws out the crowds and it’s such a thriving place to be.

journey

We arrived about 10am and soon realised that all the other vehicles were there and we’d lost our spot behind the Vintage Fire Engine. This was actually a blessing in disguise as we didn’t fancy attempting a parallel park.

After parking and opening the hatch we realised that because we were parked on the road that the hatch was too low to be overhanging a pavement. The situation had head injuries written all over it. So we moved away from the curb and decided to head over to The Hambledon to pick up some¬†Honeycomb Paper Balls in Pink and Mint, as we had managed to leave the 6 we got in Sainsbury’s (¬£3 for a pack of 3!) at home. They were enough of an attention grabber to highlight the hatch opening to passers by and avoiding a paper ball was a much better idea than not seeing a metal hatch.

brandedhvan

It didn’t take long to arrange the Vintage China or the Cakes…

chinashowcasenostalgicweddingcakes2

We took along a load of our Mosser cake stands, our vintage pressed glass cake stands and an assortment of our finest vintage china to showcase what we have on offer.

Sweet treats¬†wise we had…

* A 4 layer Victoria Sponge topped with fresh fruit
* Merginues
* Mint Chocolate Chip Brownies
* Rocky Road
* Vanilla Cupcakes topped with Buttercream Roses
* Mini Vanilla Cupcakes topped with Vanilla Buttercream and Sprinkles
* 4" Pink Ombre Rose Cake

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Everything looked fabulous – the van, the cakes, the china, the staff. We had our new flyers and promo badges displayed on the counter too.
badgesflyers

Winchester was bustling with activity. Race for Life had taken place around the corner, the Farmers Market was in full swing and The Nostalgic Wedding Fair was drawing the crowds. We had a great day talking tea, cake, and all things vintage. Check out our Facebook page for the official photos from the event taken by the very talented Ash Darling Photography.

We hope everyone had a lovely day, and got lots of ideas for their weddings.

Lots of Love

Martha’s Tea Party x

Martha and the Chocolate Factory

This week has been all about chocolate. 1.1kg of deliciously dark chocolate to be precise.

First up was a birthday cake to celebrate 4 years in business at AFS CrossFit.

AFS CrossFit Chocolate Cake

We made 3 layers of moist Chocolate Sponge, sandwiched them together with Chocolate Buttercream and covered the whole lot in Chocolate Ganache. The cake was decorated with a variety of orange and white sprinkles to complement the logo and some gold stars for good measure. We finished it off with an icing logo from Eat Your Photo and 4 orange candles as it was a birthday cake after all.

Icing Logo

“#arterialdestructionaccomplished” was the feedback we received, so it’s fair to say that the level of chocolate involved did the job!

Next up was some Mint Chocolate Brownies for a networking event in Winchester. It’s the first time we’ve done the whole networking thing, so what better way to make an introduction than to give out edibles with business card details attached. We made our brownies with a mixture of plain and mint chocolate and added a chopped bar of chocolate for the chips.¬†After mixing¬†up the Brownies there was a real moment of internal debate about whether to sack off the¬†whole event and just sit down with a spoon and eat the mixture or to put them in the oven. Thankfully, we managed to get them into the oven without mishap.Baking Brownies

Once they had cooled down, we sliced them up into small squares, slipped them into bags and sealed with a branded card with our contact details on. The finished product was simple, but effective. These would work well for party favours or alternative place settings.

Promotional Brownies

We’ve got more bakes coming to the blog soon, along with the long awaited post about the interior of the van. Wishing you all a wonderful Bank Holiday weekend!

Lots of Love

Martha’s Tea Party x

Bank Holiday Baking Bonanza

We finally got back in the kitchen last week and we wasted no time cooking up an absolute storm.  We had lost time to make up for!

On the agenda for a wedding dessert buffet…

* Mini Vanilla Cupcakes with Pink Buttercream
* Mini Vanilla Cupcakes with Purple Buttercream
* Mini Vanilla Cupcakes with Mini Eggs
* Pink Swirl Meringues
* Purple Swirl Meringues

It’s always so satisfying to take cupcakes out of the oven and them be so level. Our secret to this is measuring the mixture in exactly and doing a test batch with varying amounts of batter in. Of course, once you’ve found that magic number you just need to remember it for next time. Our mini vanilla cupcakes take 10g of batter each.

Flat mini cupcakes

We whipped up a huge batch of vanilla buttercream, then divided it up for colouring. Mini cupcakes three ways…

Mini Egg Cupcakes

Pink Mini Cupcakes

Mini Purple Cupcakes

Each cupcake was a mini swirl of buttercream, topped with edible glitter, mimosa and Cadbury Mini Eggs. Yum!

Next on the list of bakes were the mini meringues. Theres something immensely satisfying about making them. We love watching how eggs and sugar completely transform from their raw form into something truly decadent.Whisking Meringues

Out of the oven and ready to go!
Purple MeringuesPink Meringues

They were boxed up, branded and delivered to Pitt Hall Barn along with a crate of Vintage Glass Cake Stands, ready for their wedding debut.

Pink Boxed cupcakes

Vintage Glass Cake Stands

We’ll hopefully get some nice photos of them in situ to share with you soon, so keep an eye on our Instagram.

With all that cake baked and delivered, we certainly earned our chocolate on Sunday. Hope you all had a lovely long weekend and made the most of the sunshine whilst it was out!

Lots of Love

Martha’s Tea Party x

Tea, Cake and Adventure

For those of you waiting for the news after the our last post, we’re sorry it’s been over a week since then! ¬†Hopefully the news that we have a new addition to the Martha’s Tea Party team will not disappoint.

Introducing our as yet un-named Citroen H Van! Citroen H Van

Born in France in 1958, she spent her working life in the¬†Sapeurs-pompiers (the French Fire Service). She boasts a recently upgraded 1900cc Petrol Engine, 45 brake horse power and a top speed of 50mph. Left hand drive, suicide doors, split windscreen, and unnamed buttons and levers galore she’s a real character.

Branded Hatch Citroen H Van She is kitted out with kitchen units in the back and has a side hatch fitted ready for taking orders and serving our delicious bakes. We were eager to get our new magnets on the side ready for the drive home, “any advertising is good advertising” as they say.

The journey home was rather long and a bit nerve-wracking. The gearbox requires double de-clutching, so it’s a bit different to the cars we drive today. Add on the reduced visibility with it being a left hand drive and the lack of power steering and it’s hard work! Thankfully, there were a few miles of country roads to get a hang of things before we hit the A303. Citroen H Van on the Road

As the sun was starting to set, we stopped for some dinner at the Cartgate Picnic Area. We’d only been on the road for about 15 miles, but it felt like an eternity‚Ķ and we still had 75 miles to go! Road Trip!

Now with her being such an old vehicle, many of the mod-cons we take for granted are not available. Things like a petrol gauge, oil dipper and temperature gauge. At the moment these things feel quite daunting, but we’ll soon be pros!Branded Citroen H Van

After so many weeks of grey skies and not much sunshine, the day was beautiful and was ended with the most colourful sunset we’ve seen in a long time. But this also signalled it was going to get dark and we were just over half way home. As the sun dipped behind the horizon, it was time to try out the lights. Someone pointed out that she looks a bit like Darth Vader in this photo, we have to agree.¬†Citroen H Van Lights

We finally pulled up on the driveway of HQ at about 8:30pm, weary from the drive but excited about the future.

We’ve got to make a few alterations to the set up in the back before we’ll be ready to start trading, and we’ll also have some hoops to jump through for the Local Council. So watch this space and we’ll do some updates as we go to keep you informed.

Lots of Love

Martha’s Tea Party x

One Of Your Five a Day!

So we can’t actually vouch for that, but this carrot cake is packed full of carrots, sultanas, walnuts and orange zest and topped with pecans for extra punch. What’s the occasion? Well it’s Happy Friday of course!

This may or may not have been our breakfast here at HQ this morning…

Carrot Cake Close UpCarrot Cake and Milkshake  
This week we’ve been busy working on ‘secret’ business again. If all goes to plan (and keep your fingers & toes crossed that it does), we’ll be able to share our news after the weekend. It’s been an exciting and stressful journey just to get to this stage… and theres still two more days to go! *deep breaths*

In preparation though, some new signage has arrived. Currently living on the kitchen fridge, where it looks quite at home.

Pink Fridge Sign

BrandYou may have been wondering how the branding of Martha’s Tea Party originated. We have a very clever and talented friend who did the design for us, based on a load of collaboration work pulling out elements of other brands we admired on Pinterest. The final result was exactly what we were after and we can’t wait to see it in situ at the weekend.

On the thrifty finds front, this beautiful grey and pink Duchess China tea set arrived along with a pressed glass cake stand. All washed up and ready to be hired ‚̧

Vintage China

The last batch of cupcakes for the week are due to come out of the oven soon, we can’t wait to decorate them. We’ve been in fits of giggles all week! We’ll tell all next week. Until then, enjoy the weekend!

Lots of Love

Martha’s Tea Party x