How to Throw a British Tea Party

8:30 AM


One of my all-time favorite TV shows is the Great British Bake Off on PBS. A few weeks ago, the Season 3 finale aired here in America. Before watching it, I threw a little tea party, complete with pretty tea cups, tea sandwiches, and traditional English Madeira cakes, to celebrate! It turned out to be really fun and I love how it turned out, so I thought I'd share it here!

I had the incredible opportunity to actually have tea at Harrods in London last summer and it was so fun! (See pictures from the trip here.) This tea party is decidedly less grand, but still very enjoyable.

What's a party without decorations? I kept it relatively simple, but I think it did the job. The tablecloth, for example, completely changed the appearance of the room. I used a sheet that I bought really cheap at the thrift store. I also hung up this DIY fabric bunting and put a few freshly-picked flowers from the backyard in this DIY bud vase. The little British flags stuck in the sandwiches and cakes were just printed out from the Internet and taped onto toothpicks. I also printed out little labels for each type of sandwich using this free, downloadable font, then bent them in half so that they stood up.

First of all, you have to use tea cups at a tea party. No exceptions! For plates, I used plain white dishes, which looked nice against the patterned "tablecloth". The cakes were baked in pretty brioche molds. Madeira cakes aren't usually mini, so to bake these, I halved the recipe and poured the batter into the four brioche molds. The cakes cracked a bit, but the candied lemon peel helped hide it and they definitely still tasted good.

Now for the fun part, right? I made a total of three different tea sandwiches. I used these recipes: cucumber tea sandwiches, tomato feta tea sandwiches, and egg salad tea sandwiches. Tea sandwiches are traditionally made with white bread, but I changed it a tiny bit by using sprouted grain white bread, which is a little healthier. For the mini Madeira cakes, I used this recipe and topped it with candied lemon peel made with this recipe.

I had to alter all the recipes slightly (except the one for candied lemon peel), since I was only serving four people and each tea sandwich recipe made a lot of sandwiches! To make it easier for you, I wrote out the measurements I used below. I also used one whole loaf of bread to make all the sandwiches.

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
2 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 cucumber
a pinch of garlic powder, salt, and pepper
1 tsp dried dill

Tomato Feta Tea Sandwiches
2 oz feta cheese
2 o cream cheese
1 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 tbsp fresh basil
1 roma tomato

Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches
5 eggs
no celery (I just don't like it, but use it if you wish!)
4 tbsp red onion
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp lime juice
1/4 cup mayonnaise

Mini Lemon Madeira Cakes
1/2 cup butter
3/8 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
grated zest and juice of one lemon (I kept this the same because I love lemon so much!)
1 1/2 large eggs (To measure 1 1/2 eggs, just whisk two large eggs together in a bowl, then pour about 3/4 of the whisked eggs into the batter, judging it by eye. I've used this method before with other recipes and I've never had any problems.)
5/8 cup self-rising flour and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

So there are all the details from my British tea party in case you want to throw your very own! It was lots of fun and definitely a worthy celebration of the Great British Bake Off finale. Cheers!

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