Sunday, February 28, 2016

Camellias and Chocolate Cake

Happy Leap Day!

We are experiencing spring like temperatures and I believe our gardens are confused. All of my daffodils have withered and the tulips have sprouted but not bloomed. While I adore the sunny days, it's not so lovely to experience this in the midst of a drought. We need more rain!

While we are on the subject of gardens, I have been fixated on my camellia bush. It bloomed profusely every December for the first three years we moved here. Last December we didn't have a single bloom. As you can see in the photo above, we have only one flower that bloomed last week. 
Gardeners, any ideas what is causing the lack of flowers? The bush itself is healthy with new glossy green leaves. Camellias are such a treat to enjoy in winter as they are my only cut flower.

Well, since I can't have camellias in vases I will enjoy them on a teacup. 




Come join me for tea and a piece of chocolate pudding cake.


Today's featured teacup is one that caught my eye on ebay. It is a signed Paragon called Reine des Beautes from the 'Camelia Series.' 







The large flowers have many details and I adore designs in the inner cup. After Shelley, Paragon is a favorite English bone china pottery of mine.

Paragon produced bone china teaware from 1919 to 1960 in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent. It was previously known as the Star China Company and was granted royal warrants by the British Royal Family.

 from Replacements.com

On a side note, Paragon was commissioned to produce the nursery china set for Princess Elizabeth now known as Queen Elizabeth ll. This pattern is called Two for Joy and features magpies. Legend states magpies were seen at the christening of Princess Elizabeth.

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Our tea wouldn't be complete with something sweet.
This weekend I made this cake for the first time and enjoyed its moistness. Reminded me of a molten lava cake. I found the recipe in last month's issue of Southern Living magazine. It's from a new Cooking Light cookbook titled Incredibly Decadent Desserts.

Chocolate Pudding Cake

4.5 oz (about 1 cup) all purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, divided

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup 2% reduced fat milk

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Baking spray with flour

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 1/4 cup of strong hot coffee

Cool Whip thawed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife.

3. Combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 Tbsp cocoa, baking powder and salt in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add milk, butter and vanilla, stir until just combined. Scrape batter into a 9x9 metal baking pan coated with cooking spray.

4. Combine 1/4 cup sugar, 2 Tbsp cocoa and brown sugar, sprinkle mixture over top of batter. Carefully pour coffee over top. Do not stir in.

5. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes or until just set. (Do not overbake.) Let stand 10 minutes, top with whipped topping.

**I don't have a 9x9 metal baking pan. A ceramic one of about the size worked just fine. 






Whether you are experiencing spring or winter weather, enjoy your tea times!
All the best,
Nora

Bring your favorite teacup to the following parties:















15 comments:

  1. Oh yes, tea must have something sweet with it {{smiles}} Thank you for the tasty recipe, my friend.

    Your tea cup is quite the beauty and I can see why it caught your eye on ebay. Have a lovely week, dear Nora. Hugs to you!

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  2. Your teacup is very pretty and the chocolate cake sounds very rich and decadent.

    Diana

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  3. I wish I could help you about the camellia bush blooming (or not) but other than saying it might depend on the weather you had in the fall, I'm not much help. I do love them, though, and your one flower is gorgeous - and I think I see another bud. And that cup and saucer - how lovely! I'd love to be able to join you for tea.

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  4. I dont know anything about camellias, Nora, and I'm sorry that I can't help. However, your teacup is a beauty on your table and that chocolate pudding cake looks divine. I've made a similar recipe, but mine doesn't have coffee. That must make really enhance the chocolate flavor. Yum!

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  5. Happy Leap Day, Nora! Is your camellia bush the same plant that produces tea? Paragon is one of my favourite china makers so I'm loving your pretty teacup. I totally agree with Ms. Hepburn's statement!

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  6. Hi Nora,
    That is a very pretty teacup! I do enjoy posies on china. Your cake sounds delicious. Who can resist chocolate? Not me! The coffee would give it a wonderful flavour too. Sorry about the one bloom. Sounds as though your bush is healthy though. I'm sure one of our many gardeners will be able to help you out. So nice to have you join me for No Place Like Home this week. Have a lovely day.

    Blessings,
    Sandi

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  7. I wish I could offer some comments on the camellia blooming. Will ask my gardener hubby!

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  8. Hi Nora,
    What a pretty Paragon teacup and your chocolate cake looks delish! Mmmmm... I do love blooming flowers in my garden too. Happy Tea Day! Karen

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  9. Hi Nora,
    What a pretty Paragon teacup and your chocolate cake looks delish! Mmmmm... I do love blooming flowers in my garden too. Happy Tea Day! Karen

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  10. We are in drought, too, so I do empathize! That cake looks so moist and yummm...

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  11. Hi Nora! Lovely flower (even if it is just one). Your Paragon set is very pretty...thinking about it, Paragon does have some lovely patterns. My favorites probably go Royal Albert, Shelley, and then Paragon. :) I'm sorry to hear about your daffodils! Ours are just starting to come up, which made me a bit nervous last week since it seemed a little early, but we appear to be holding steady at warmer temperatures for now.

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  12. Hi Nora! Your tea cup flower is just gorgeous.

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  13. That is beautiful. I love teacups and my Mom gave me her collection.

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  14. I love our pair of tea wares. It's like anything what in it, it will make it interesting.

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  15. Nice post Nora. Your tea and care sounds delicious.

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Thank you for visiting my blog today. I really look forward to reading your comments. Have a nice day! ~Nora