Chocolate Covered Viennese Fingers

Makes several dozen Viennese Fingers

220g Butter at room temperature

100g Icing Sugar or fine caster sugar

2 egg yolks

2 Vanilla Pod seeds or 2 tsps Vanilla Extract

300g Plain Flour

50g Cornflour

100g – 150g melted  Dark Chocolate

Caster sugar for dusting (Optional)

Plastic Disposable Piping bag with a star piping nozzle. Do not use a paper bag as it will burst due to the firm nature of the Biscuit dough.


Cream the butter with an electric mixer until soft and creamy.

Add the icing sugar and beat until well combined.

Beat in the egg yokes and vanilla seeds

Add the sifted Flour and Cornflour until a firm dough is formed.

Put a small amount of the dough into the Nozzled plastic piping bag and carefully pipe out the dough onto a baking tray covered with baking parchment. Continue doing this until all the dough has been used up.

This is a very firm dough, so it is essential you use a plastic bag. If you use a cloth bag the butter from the mixture will seep through the cloth and ruin the dough mixture. If you use a paper bag it will burst.

Bake at 170 deg fan assisted oven for around 12 – 15 min until a pale golden colour.

When baked, take them out of the oven and dust with caster sugar. Leave the biscuits to cool completely.

In the mean time melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water and dip the cold biscuits into the melted chocolate and lay them back on the baking parchment until the chocolate has set on the biscuit. Remove from the parchment when completely set.

As an alternative you can pipe the dough mixture into bun cases and make Viennese Whirls, fill the centre with a spot of jam. These will take an extra 5 mins or so to bake.


Afternoon Tea, #ChallengeMark, Courgette & Chocolate Cake

No matter how many Courgettes you add to a cake mixture, you still won’t be able to taste them. This I found out when I made 2 x 6 ins cakes the other day. I used my guests at The Secret Tea Room yesterday as guinea pigs. I used 2 medium Courgettes with some cocoa, covered the cake with chocolate Ganache and coated the outside with crushed Nuts. The result was a moist chocolate cake, with no taste of  Courgette. I was hoping for a cake similar to a Carrot cake in appearance, but carrots have that wonderful Orange colour that stands out from the vanilla sponge but Courgettes, unless you leave the skins on, are really colourless. Yet they do add lots of moisture to a cake, so when in season why not add a couple to your cake mixture, no one need know. When I text my daughter to say I’d made a couple of Courgette and Chocolate Cakes, her reply was ‘Are you mad’ no I’m not and in fact many people bake cakes with courgettes in them. If you’ve never tried it, I suggest you give it a go while they are in season.

Combined with yesterdays Afternoon Tea, Mark O’Brien was working his way through August by visiting places suggested by readers of Culture Vulture and twitter. I was asked if there was a place for afternoon Tea, but as I was full, I suggested Mark work front of house, serving the tea as a way of earning some Tea and Cake. He did a grand job, greeting guests, hanging coats up, taking the Tea Orders and generally chatting to guests about what his #ChallengeMark was all about. He also did a great job keeping two pretty young ladies company in my front room who found themselves on their own due to some guests not showing up – an email stuck in their ‘out box’ meant I never got the cancellation. These things happen but I’m sure Mark had a lovely time talking to these young ladies and getting to know further places to travel in August.One of my guests, from Dinner at the Manor, a new Supperclub in Leeds, brought me some Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb and Stem Ginger Jam. This I have to try. Rhubarb and Ginger are some of the best combinations of flavours. Apart from enjoying this on toast for breakfast, I can see  it also being used as a filling for a future sponge cake. I can’t wait to visit their first Supperclub event in October.

Celebrations were also the order of the day as some guests did a BYO.

As is the order of the day, guests get to take cake home and I took my spare Courgette and Chocolate cake up to a friend’s house, to find that she was having guests later that evening so the gift of a cake was, I hope, a nice surprise for them.

My next Afternoon Tea isn’t until Sept 17th and with a few Clandestine Cake Club events in between, plus a few a few ‘close to my chest’ projects, I’m still going to be kept busy.