Afternoon tea is so elegant and always such a happy activity for the afternoon, I have never experienced an unhappy tea party, it must be a “girlie thing”! I love it because you can be creative with gorgeous colours, flowers, floral cake stands, beautiful teapots, and a mishmash of teacups on fabulous linen table cloths or even vintage trays.
It is a meal of sweet and savoury with tables laden with shortbread biscuits, pretty cupcakes with crystallized violets on top, stands with scrumptious Victoria sponge cakes and layers of fresh berries, rose petals and cream. How about strawberry mousse in mini shot glasses using your grannies favourite little teaspoons.
How do you make a good cup of tea? Try this one …………
Firstly, empty the kettle and pour in fresh water. Make sure that the water boils.
Rinse the teapots, cups or even mugs, if you are using those, with boiling water.
Add the loose tea to the pot. Pour over the boiling water and allow the tea to infuse for 4 minutes. Use a tea strainer for sieving out the leaves. If you are using a tea ball – make sure it is big enough to hold sufficient leaves.
Blackberry and Pear Cake with Hazelnut and Honey Topping
Serves 8 to 10
I can’t remember how many times I have said certain recipes are my favourite. This is my favourite of all favourites. It is a great one to serve when you have a few friends over and need a more substantial cake. Serve it with a spoon of cream or even as dessert for a casual evening when your good friends are over for supper.
For the cake
180g caster sugar
4 large eggs
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
120g natural yoghurt
½ orange, zest only
2 ripe pears, peeled and thinly sliced wedges
100g blackberries, washed
For the hazelnut topping
70g brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ orange, zest only
60g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
2 tbsp honey, for drizzle over
Mascarpone or cream, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Butter and line a 24cm spring form tin with baking parchment.
- To make the topping, melt the butter in a pot and mix in the brown sugar, cinnamon, orange zest, flour and hazelnuts and set aside.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, one at a time. Fold in the flour and baking powder and stir in the yoghurt.
- Spoon two thirds of the cake mixture into the tin and using a spatula spread evenly.
- Arrange some pear wedges and blackberries over the top and sprinkle with 1/3 of the topping.
- Spoon over the rest of the cake mixture and spread evenly.
- Arrange more pears wedges and the blackberries on top and the rest of the hazelnut topping.
- Bake for about 40 minutes or until the cake is cooked when a skewer is inserted in the centre and it comes out clear.
- While still warm, drizzle over the honey. Allow the cake to cool and slide out the tin.
- Serve with mascarpone or cream.