Afternoon Tea Recipes
At Home with Cíara Brimfield, the creative force behind the blog Tea & Toast.
As a family of tea and cake lovers, there’s one tea-related ritual that’s a firm favourite in our house - afternoon tea. And, whilst boutique venues and fancy hotels certainly make a real occasion of the old English classic, there’s something really special about creating afternoon tea in the comfort of your very own home.
Both my Mum and I are collectors of vintage china and teapots - I love a good teapot and mismatched china, so any excuse to brew up in a pretty pot is fine with me. And, not only are we big tea drinkers (it could be the Irish in us), we are partial to a bit of baking and love to create rustic-style cakes for birthdays and special occasions, or... just because.
In honour of good and proper tea, I've created some tea-infused bakes, including an Earl Grey infused sugar-free tea loaf, and an English Afternoon infused lemon drizzle cake (the drizzle, not the cake) to accompany plenty of Twinings tea. Oh, and not forgetting the scones. No afternoon tea is complete without scones, fresh cream and plenty of jam. But whether you opt for the Cornish or the Devonshire way is entirely up to you (I’m Devonshire all the way!).
One of my absolute favourite blends is the London Strand Breakfast loose tea. Twinings traditional loose leaf comes in these luxurious bags and the smell is heavenly. One thing I find quite hard is storing my loose leaf tea and making sure it doesn’t lose its flavour once opened, but Twinings have resealable tabs which are pretty sturdy, keeping your tea nice and fresh! And, brewing a nice pot of tea in my beautiful Alison Appleton Fritz teapot (in spring yellow, of course) makes drinking loose tea a dream. With a built-in strainer it means no more mess and no drips all over your cake! Let’s face it, no one likes soggy cake and sandwiches.
I always think it’s important to have a variety of different teas for guests, and when it comes to afternoon tea it’s definitely nice to mix it up. The Afternoon Tea Collection is perfect for this, as it comes with Earl Grey, Traditional Afternoon, English Breakfast and Peppermint; something for everyone. And the packaging is so pretty too - making it an ideal gift.
A Darjeeling has a really rich taste and, whilst it is a black tea, it’s a lot lighter than many other black teas, so it’s ideal if you’re drinking plenty of tea with your cake and sarnies. But, if you’re looking for something fresher then you can’t go wrong with a classic Earl Grey or Peppermint tea.
When it comes to table styling, I prefer a much more rustic looking table with lots of fresh flowers and pretty napkins and of course my mismatched china. But there are so many different ways to style your table - the key is to just have some fun and enjoy a good cuppa and cake with friends.