I’ve been a fan of Peyton and Byrne ever since St Pancras station reopened with one of their tea shops in it. If I’m with my mother it’s the first thing we do after getting off the train, if I’m on my own it’s my last stop on the way home - but I live in the provinces and am a little bit stumped by the idea of celebrity bakeries and tea shops (Magnolia, Hummingbird, Primrose, Bea’s of Bloomsbury...) we just don’t have that kind of thing up here, nice cafe’s certainly (Mrs Bridge’s Tea room is probably the best) but nothing anyone would buy a book about. Or have heard of. Because of this it’s taken me a while to warm to the idea of the Peyton and Byrne book which came out in March (I was convinced it had been around much longer and was so surprised to see it had a March publication date I’ve had to mention it).
I started to weaken in the summer after having a very nice slice of chocolate orange cake in the Mainstreet Trading Company (Excellent bookshop, excellent cafe) as we left I saw Peyton and Byrne propped up in the window. Then my friend C recommended it as did Paperback reader and it looked so reasonably priced on amazon so I gave in and ordered. Sadly (but I knew this before buying) the Chocolate and Orange cake isn’t a P&B recipe (it was good, good, cake) and when the book first arrived I was a bit ambivalent about it, which wasn’t a problem because I half had it in mind for a Christmas present to a sister (which another copy may yet be).
My problem with the book is that because it’s entirely my sort of baking I felt I already had a lot of the recipes covered, everything looked nice, nothing looked new. However the proof is in the baking and it seemed unfair not to give it a go (just as well I’ve decided to keep it, sister may not have been impressed with a butter spattered Christmas offering). I made the Marmalade loaf cake, and what would have been Lemon Semolina cake if I’d had almonds and lemons but I didn’t so used walnuts and marmalade which made it go a funny colour but tastes great.
Apart from the bonus of mopping up a whole lot of odds and ends in the cupboard (I have a mountain of marmalade to match the similar mountain of Seville oranges taking over the freezer – recipes that involve or can be made to include marmalade are at a premium) both cakes turned out impressively well. Both are still moist and generally splendid after a couple of days, they cooked in the stated time, the marmalade loaf especially has a great richness of flavour that keeps on developing, and the batter didn’t escape over the side of the tin and cover my oven in cake cinders (which happens more often than I care to share – these recipes really fit the tin size given)
Because of this (and the butter stains) the book’s a keeper, there’s always room for another version of a recipe if it’s a better version, and although it feels a touch sacrilegious there’s room too for a book that tells you how to make your own version of the mighty Tunnock’s Teacake (warning - these need to be eaten on the same day as making, but that’s probably doable...)