Anyone who knows me knows that I communicate using the little-known sixth, and most hyggeligt, love language: baking.
I LOVE baking for so many reasons – it’s therapeutic, it’s productive, it’s creative and it’s just plain fun. But what I don’t love so much is measuring out all the ingredients. If you’ve ever messed up a bake before, you’ll know how important it is to get all the measurements on the nose – after all, baking is a science, and if you have a little too much flour or too few eggs, it can throw the entire recipe out.
So when Tina (founder of Hoogly Tea) got in touch about Bake & Brew, her new venture with business partner Amanda, I knew I’d love it – and I was very happy to receive a box of my own to review! The premise is simple: it’s a subscription box dedicated purely to baking and tea. But the beauty of the box is how easy it makes everything, so even if you’ve never baked so much as a sponge cake before, this is a foolproof way to kick-start your baking career and earn your hygge chops.
All the ingredients come measured out in numbered bags (apart from fridge ingredients like butter and eggs – stock up before your box arrives), so it’s just a case of snipping them open and mixing everything together – no kitchen scales required. If you’ve ever faced the headache of converting a recipe from US cup measurements to UK grams (or vice versa), you’ll know what a hassle it can be, so having everything measured out for you makes it SO EASY to get it right. As someone who hates wasting food, I’m very happy to see pre-measured ingredients, as with recipe boxes like Hello Fresh, to ensure that you only receive what you need and absolutely nothing goes to waste.
There are also some little details that I really love about this box – having the baking paper cut into cake-tin ready circles for you is a real blessing. I HATE cutting baking paper to size, and normally either tear a chunk off and hope for the best or just go without (never a good idea). Even the laziest baker can manage this – pretty much everything has been taken care of already, so you just need to throw everything in a bowl, stir and put it in the oven, leaving you with plenty of time to hygge.
My box contained the ingredients and recipe for a cherry bakewell, along with smoky oolong tea (to complement the cake) and my choice of English breakfast tea. I’ll be completely honest – despite loving almonds and cherries, I’m not the biggest fan of cherry bakewell. Having said that… the Bake & Brew cake I made is genuinely the nicest cherry bakewell I’ve ever eaten, even if I do say so myself. It’s SO moist (sorry) and fluffy, even though it uses ground almonds (which can get a bit dense sometimes), and the golden sugar gave the cake such an appetising tan.
I also fell a little bit in love with the mini jar of cherry jam. I’m always happy to see a jam with big pieces of fruit, and this one is nice and tart rather than being too sweet. The addition of icing sugar and flaked almonds helped give the cake the finishing touch it needed, and I love how quick and painless it was to bake something that is genuinely delicious without the usual baking hassles. You can also keep the recipe card, which contains all of the ingredient measurements too, so you can remake your bake again in the future (sadly without the convenience of having all your ingredients measured out for you, but we can’t win them all!).
And if anyone knows tea, it’s Tina, so obviously the smoky oolong blend didn’t disappoint at all. I couldn’t find my tea strainer (maybe a little reusable mesh bag for tea straining would be a nice addition to future boxes for other idiots like me?), but I improvised with a sieve, and IT. WAS. DELICIOUS. It literally tastes like a bonfire, but in a good way. It’s smoky, spicy and very comforting. I’ve already decided that I’m going to experiment with using it in icing for an autumn spiced cake. I chose English breakfast tea as my second blend because it goes with absolutely everything, and being able to customise your box in this way is a really nice touch to help you stock up on your favourite blends or try something different.
Monthly subscriptions are £20/month (+£2.95 postage), or you can grab a yearly subscription for £220, giving you your first box free and another free gift of a teapot. Obviously it’s not the cheapest subscription box out there, but I haven’t seen anything quite like Bake & Brew on the market before, and for the sheer convenience of simplifying the baking process AND getting two generous bags of loose tea, I think that this is a really nice monthly treat. It would make a lovely gift for a hygge enthusiast, and it will remind you to take a bit of time out of your busy schedule for some weekend fika. I can wholeheartedly recommend Bake & Brew, and I can’t wait to see what recipes they come up with in the future (if you’re reading this Tina and Amanda: I definitely wouldn’t say no to a kladdkaka…).