I was thinking how fortunate it was that King George VI popped his clogs in the bloom of spring, to allow Elizabeth’s coronation to take place amidst lush blossoms and vibrant greenery of early June! How lucky for the street parties, crowds waving flags in the sunny streets, bunting merrily flapping in the breeze rather than slumped in the drizzling rain! How blessed to make trifle and Pimm’s with fresh fruit!
How astonishingly stupid have I been.
Of course, a coronation does not take place impromptu, days after le previous roi est mort. The new monarch takes reign but festivities on the scale of a coronation call for months if not years of planning, apart from the period of mourning that has to be observed. So naturally, the coronation directors and producers would pick a time when the trees are in leaf, the flowers bloom and the strawberries are luscious.
And also the best time when the street parties can be organised to celebrate the jubilee.
Street parties are the ultimate equivalent of American pot luck parties, when everyone in the community brings a dish for The Big Lunch, the more jumbled-up a selection, the merrier. I’ll offer recipe suggestions for those next week, and today it’s the cakes and desserts. My priorities are straight.
Caveat: I don’t do trifle. Make it if you like, using my sponge recipe from the blueberry and cream sponge cake, adding fruit, sherry and whipped cream but why ruin good sponge in a trifle if you can make the whole of the above cake instead? Trifle might be traditional but it really is dreadful.
Another fantastic cake option is strawberry and cream Victoria sandwich. Or, to put the third berry in action, bake the easy raspberry sponge cake.
Traditional and fitting, will be cream tea with homemade scones and perhaps homemade clotted cream? You could swap jam for fresh strawberries – that makes a gorgeous cream tea. Or you could bake a batch of mini pavlovas, whip some cream and top them with strawberries again.
Those who bring chocolate are always welcome: a batch of easy brownies, chocolate muffins or chocolate crack biscuits and your contribution will be a winner. And if you’re willing to put in a bit more effort, bake a classic English Bakewell tart or Battenberg cake. The latter was conceived to celebrate the royal wedding of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter to Prince Louis of Battenberg, so I can’t think of more fitting a bake!
Hope all this will help you come up with an impressive street party dessert contribution, so happy baking!