It’s so sad that the popularity of afternoon tea has gone down massively over the years. It’s a great way of entertaining people as cakes, pastries and scones can all be made well in advance and are all far less expensive than a dinner party! Here are a couple of ideas for summer tea parties that you might like to try – let’s keep the tradition alive!
This is a recipe of my mother’s and, although there are no nuts in the cake mixture it nevertheless tastes very nutty and delicious! It is also economical to make.
To make a 17.5cm (7in) cake, you will need:
- 100g (4oz) margarine
- 100g (4oz) sugar
- 100g (4oz) self-raising flour
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 15ml (1 tbsp) cold water
- 10g (2 tsp) instant coffee granules
For the Squirrel’s Cream:
- 425ml (3/4 pint) double cream
- 45ml (3 tbsp) Tia Maria liqueur
- 45ml (3 tbsp) chopped hazelnuts, plus extra for decoration
Grease and line two 17.5cm (7in) sponge tins. Cream together the margarine and sugar until white and creamy. Add the beaten eggs a little at a time and beat well (no cheating with an electric mixer – the results are much better by hand!). Using a metal spoon, fold in the sifted flour and add the cold water until a soft consistency is reached. At the very last moment fold in instant coffee granules.
Spoon the mixture into the two sandwich tins and spread evenly with a palette knife. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 190ºC (375ºF), gas mark 5, for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven when they are cooked and turn out onto a wire rack to cool. When cold, sandwich the two cakes together with the Squirrel’s Cream (see below).
Whip the cream and add a little sugar if you wish. Fold in the Tia Maria and the hazelnuts. Use as a filling and decoration on the top of the cake. Sprinkle the top of the cake with extra hazelnuts
Lemon & Mint Cooler
Old-fashioned lemonade is delicious and much better for you than the commercially available varieties, so do try some.
You will need:
- 2.5 litres (4 ¼ pints) water
- Juice of 8 lemons
- 75g (3oz) castor sugar
- Large handful of mint leaves
- Extra mint leaves for garnishing
Chop the mint leaves coarsely and place in a large bowl with the sugar. Pound the two ingredients together well so that the sugar takes up the flavour of the mint leaves. Heat the water to boiling point and pour over the mint and sugar. Add the lemon juice and leave to cool.
When cooled, carefully strain it through a fine sieve and chill in the fridge. Serve in the prettiest glasses you can find, garnish with ice, slivers of lemon and sprigs of mint.