Tag Archives: romantic

Black Cherry Chocolate Arctic Roll

There are so many traditionally English puddings. But there’s one that always seems to provoke a pang of nostalgia with the Brits whenever it hits the table, and that’s the arctic roll. This delicious dessert consisting of a layer of cake, lined with jam, and rolled around a frozen ice cream center, became wildly popular in the 1950s and is now quite trendy again. It’s also incredibly easy to make! So when we had a dinner party recently, I decided to give it a go.

Cherry Artic Roll Ingredients

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Get your ice cream from the freezer and allow it to sit out and soften. Spoon it onto a sheet of wax paper (or parchment paper) and shape into a log. Roll it tightly in the paper, secure with plastic wrap, and return to the freezer to set.

Cherry Chocolate Artic Roll Recipe Step 3 Ice Cream

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Whisk the eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl until smooth.

Cherry Chocolate Artic Roll Recipe Step 1 Eggs and Sugar

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder with a pinch of salt. Then gently fold dry ingredients into the egg mixture until blended.

Cherry Chocolate Artic Roll Recipe Step 2 Sift Cocoa Powder

Pour the chocolate batter into the lined baking tray, smoothing the top so surface is even. Bake for 10-15 minutes until springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tray for 5 minutes, then flip onto a new sheet of parchment paper lightly dusted with sugar. Gently peel off the lining paper.

Cherry Chocolate Artic Roll Step 4 Baking Sheet

Cherry Chocolate Artic Roll Step 5 Baked

Cover the entire surface of the cake with a generous layer of black cherry jam.

Cherry Chocolate Artic Roll Step 6 Spread

Cherry Chocolate Artic Roll Step 6 Spread Across

Remove the cling film and paper from the refrozen cylinder of ice cream and put in the middle of cake sheet, using the parchment paper to roll the cake around the ice cream. Wrap again in cling film and return to freezer.

Cherry Chocolate Artic Roll Step 7 Wrap up ice cream

artic roll wrap

Just before serving, melt the chocolate in a double boiler and drizzle over the roll. I sprinkled on some chocolate hearts and garnished with fresh cherries.

Cherry Chocolate Artic Roll Finished

Cherry Chocolate Artic Roll Serving

Slice, and serve!

Artic Roll

This version was such a success! It would be perfect for Valentine’s Day or even a child’s birthday. You can also experiment with different flavour jams to create endless varieties. It keeps in the freezer for up to two weeks – so be sure to save a slice for later!

Babington House

Babington House Drive

Miles from London, in a faraway land called Somerset, there’s a long tree-lined lane. It leads to a pocket-sized chapel, St Margarets, and just beyond it, the dour Georgian manor that is Babington House.

Part of the Soho House portfolio, I was expecting a snazzy English countryclub scene, but the other guests were mainly just local mums bringing the kids swimming, and a few other couples in for the weekend from London. But mostly, we had the place to ourselves.

Babington House St Margarets Sign

Babington House Lawn

Babington House Lawn Chapel

Babington House Cobblestone Path

We stayed in the Coach House, in a delightful room over two stories. Sweet touches were everywhere you looked – fresh flowers, vintage books with winsome titles, a silver tin of freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies.

Babington House Coach House

Babington House Do Not Disturb Door Soho House

Babington House Coach House Room Velvet Sofa

Babington House Room Coach House Dressing Table

Babington House Room Coach house Spiral Staircase

Babington House Room Coach House Loft Bed

Babington House Room Coach House Bed

Babington House Room Coach House Loft view

Babington House Room Cabbages and Roses Blue Velvet Dress Knit Bobble Hat

Babington House Room Bathroom Tub White Tile

Babington House Room Bathroom Clawfoot Tub

Babington House Room Robes Big Feet Little Feet

Babington House Room Coach House

Babington House Coach house room Flowers

Babington House Room Fresh Flowers

Babington House Eat Sleep Nap

Babington House Room Tea

Babington House Room Tea Treats

We couldn’t resist a spot of tea before heading outside for an afternoon of countryside pursuits – strolling the sprawling grounds, going for a bike ride, and then a swim.

Babington House Wellies

Babington House Walled Garden Green Grass

Babington House Walled Garden Cabbages and Roses Velvet Dress

Babington House Walled Garden Spa Cabbages and Roses Blue Velvet Dress

Babington House Pond Rear

Babington House Backyard Tree Pond

Babington House Bicycle Cabbages and Roses Velvet Dress

Babington House Bicycle Path

Babington House Bicycle Cabbages and Roses Blue Dress

Babington House

Babington House Chapel

Babington House Chapel View

The outdoor heated pool is a perfect warm-up for these chilly February days.

We raced to see which one of us could shimmy back into their hooded robe the fastest, thick clouds of vapor wafting off our poached bodies like a pair of Chinese steamed buns!

Babington House Pool

Babington House Pool Steam Sun

Babington House Pool Swim Bun

Back in the room, we opened a bottle of champers, but before you could say “Pop, fizz, clink!” I was already in a clawfoot tub full of bubbles, where I had a good long soak before dinner.

The bathroom was stocked with shelves of Cowshed products, so no shortage of goops and creams to daub on.

Babington House Bathtub Clawfoot White Tiles

Babington House Bathtub Bubbles

Dinner was A-OK. Candlelight, dainty flowers on the table, the universal Soho House playlist audible above the din of the orangery. It felt a bit like going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day, surrounded by other couples.  But we are far too diffident to canoodle publicly at the dining table. (As my husband likes to chide, “We’re English, not savages, Sarah!”)

Instead, we sipped our Babington martinis (amazing, with Noilly Prat, Tokaji and grapefruit oils, by the way) and nearly choked with laughter piling up a tower of mussel shells, a perilous house of cards of molluscs, which eventually gave way and sent a few shells toppling to the floor!

Most-meal pastimes, such as pool, were on hand, but we found we were happiest in the Study sipping Moscow Mules by the fire.

Babington House Lobby Mirror Flowers

Babington House Games Room

Babington House Study Fireplace Light

Babington House Study Fireplace Drinks

Yes, it’s a chain and not really a country club in the true sense, but Babington House is a great choice for a relaxing and romantic weekend.

I can say I was actually sad to leave. But London missed me, I had to get back! Lots more city adventures coming soon…