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The Speldiburn Cafe, Bressay

by Elizabeth Atia -

Visitors to the island of Bressay, a short ferry ride from Lerwick, now have the option to enjoy tea, coffee, cakes and light lunch options at the new Speldiburn Café located in the former primary school.

The Speldiburn Café opened in June this year, set up by the Bressay Development Ltd, a not for profit company run by a volunteer committee following extensive consultation with the Bressay community.

In December 2015 Bressay Development Ltd took on the lease of the former Bressay Primary School with the aim of securing the building for the community and providing facilities including a café on the island.

With the help of funding from Shetland Islands Council and Awards for All from the Big Lottery Fund, the former canteen has been transformed with a timber clad counter and muted paint tones, converting it into a relaxed café with seating for thirty.

Billy and his Grant Morris, a father and son team originally from Edinburgh but who have called Shetland home for over 30 years, are employed to run the café and they produce tasty soups, paninis, amazing quiches and cakes every day with Aimee Labourne, an artist renting studio space in the school, employed as assistant and waitress.

The committee have been delighted with the support the new venture has had from Bressay folk as well as the many visitors to Bressay who have stopped to enjoy lunch or a coffee in the Speldiburn Café, named after the burn that passes next to the premises.

For opening hours and to see what they have on offer that day, visit their Facebook page. Visit Bressay.org to find out more about the island.

Billy and Grant have very kindly provided the recipe for the Danish Coconut Dream Cake recipe they make, on occasion, in the cafe.

I think it's great for the community - a great hub for Bressay - and I hope it continues from strength to strength. - Grant

Danish Coconut Dream Cake (Drømmekage)

Course: Main

Servings: 12-16 slices

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

for the cake batter
  • eggs - 4
  • caster sugar - 300 grams
  • vanilla extract - 1 tsp
  • unsalted butter - 150 grams (melted)
  • buttermilk* - 150 ml
  • plain flour - 300 grams
  • baking powder - 3 tsp
  • salt - 1/4 tsp ((unless using salted butter))
for the topping
  • butter - 200 grams
  • soft brown sugar - 200 grams
  • dessicated coconut** - 150 grams
  • full fat milk - 100 ml
  • vanilla - 1 tsp
  • salt - 0.5 tsp
  1. Preheat oven to 190 C and lin a 20 x 30 cm tin with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla together for five minutes with a mixer.
  3. Pour in half the melted butter, half the buttermilk and half the flour. Fold in and repeat with the remaining butter, buttermilk, baking powder and salt.
  4. Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes.
  5. While the cake is baking preparing the topping: Combine butter, coconut, milk, vanilla and salt together in a medium sized saucepan and simmer for a few minutes. It should have a slightly salty taste.
  6. Once the cake is done turn the oven up to 220 C and pour the topping over the cake. Bake for a further five to ten minutes, until the topping is a rich caramel colour. Take care not to burn the edges as it will taste bitter.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in the tin before cutting into squares.

* if you can't get ahold of buttermilk use 150 ml milk with 1 tsp lemon juice to acidify it. ** for those who love nuts you can substitute the coconut for toasted and finely chopped almonds or hazelnuts to make Toscakake

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