Afternoon tea was introduced in England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in the year 1840. The Duchess would become hungry around four o’clock in the afternoon. The evening meal in her household was served fashionably late at eight o’clock, thus leaving a long period of time between lunch and dinner. The Duchess asked that a tray of tea, bread and butter (some time earlier, the Earl of Sandwich had had the idea of putting a filling between two slices of bread) and cake be brought to her room during the late afternoon. This became a habit of hers and she began inviting friends to join her. – Historic UK
Afternoon Tea Recipes
I love afternoon tea – it’s one of those quintessential British traditions, and I’m all about keeping traditions alive! We went for afternoon tea in London a couple of years ago for our wedding anniversary, and had a wonderful time.
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Traditional afternoon tea consists of a selection of dainty sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam (my favourite!), as well as tasty cakes and pastries. And of course, this wouldn’t be complete without a pot of freshly brewed tea!
I’ve rounded up a selection of recipes – from my own blog, as well as from some fabulous bloggers, that you can prepare at home for afternoon tea. I’m sure there will be something here to tickle your taste buds. And if you’re not a baker or cake maker, don’t forget, it doesn’t hurt to buy some delicious treats from the shops to serve for this afternoon treat!
Cutting the crusts off is a must; cut into finger lengths or triangles. Dainty rolls are great to use, and turn flat breads into pinwheels for something different.
- Salmon & Cucumber Tea Sandwiches – Food Network
- Turkey Pesto Bites – Glorious Treats
- Lemony Prawn Sandwiches – BBC Good Food
- Ham, Brie & Apple Sandwiches – Food Network
- Mini BLTs – Country Living
- Just Egg Sandwiches – BBC Good Food
- Haloumi & Lounza Sandwiches – The Purple Pumpkin Blog
- Ham & Cheese Pinwheels – She Knows
- Coronation Chicken Sandwich – Good To Know
- Mini Steak Sandwiches with Horseradish – Food Channel
Cupcakes & Muffins
All the taste of a big cake, but in a perfect one-person portion.
- Carrot Cake Cupcakes – The Purple Pumpkin Blog
- Black Forest Cupcakes – Nobody Said It Was Easy
- Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes – The Purple Pumpkin Blog
- Victoria Sponge Cupcakes – Nobody Said It Was Easy
- Lemon Raspberry Muffins – Butterfly Crafts
- Pumpkin Pecan Muffins – The Purple Pumpkin Blog
Sweet & Savoury Tarts
Buy ready-made pastry to cut down on preparation time.
- Bakewell Tart – The Purple Pumpkin Blog
- Fruit Tarts – BBC Food
- Lemon Tart – Baking Inspiration
- Raspberry Truffle Tart – Joy of Baking
- Goats Cheese + Shallot Tart – Mary Berry
- Mini Savoury Tarts – Jus Roll
Instead of opening a packet, make a tray of them instead. Decorate plain sugar cookies any way you like.
- Malted Milk Biscuits – Kiddy Charts
- Homemade Custard Creams – Kiddy Charts
- Earl Grey & Lemon Teapot Biscuits – Afternoon Tea
- Almond Biscotti – The Purple Pumpkin Blog
- Sugar Cookies – The Purple Pumpkin Blog
Don’t leave out guests with food intolerances
- Gluten Free Banana Bread – The Purple Pumpkin Blog
- Gluten Free Almond Macaroons – The Purple Pumpkin Blog
- Dairy Free Chocolate Cake – Kiddy Charts
Cakes + Bakes
Display on a pretty platter; pre-cut for portion control, or throw caution to the wind, and let guests cut a slice as big as they like!
- Spiced Apple Loaf – The Purple Pumpkin Blog
- Fruit & Nut Banana Bread Mini Loaves – The Purple Pumpkin Blog
- Chocolate Cherry Cream Cake – The Purple Pumpkin Blog
- Sticky Ginger Cake – Crafts On Sea
- Super Easy Iced Buns – The Diary of a Frugal Family
- Ricotta Cake with Grano Padano – Chez Maximka
- Forest Fruits Ganache Drip Cake – Blue Bear Wood
- Mini Coffee Cakes – Nobody Said It Was Easy
- Coconut & Raspberry Loaf – Kiddy Charts
- Ginger Apricot Cake – Chez Maximka
- Coffee & Walnut Cake Shots – The Purple Pumpkin Blog
- Summer Fruit Swiss Roll – Blue Bear Wood
Don’t forget the clotted cream and jam for the sweet scones. Cream cheese for the savoury?
- Sultana Scones – Good Housekeeping
- Lemon & Poppy Seed Scones – Daisies & Pie
- Cheese & Chive Scones – Delia Online
Pastries & Patisserie
These recipes might require a bit more skill, but the end results are worth it.
- Macarons – The Purple Pumpkin Blog
- Mini Eclairs – Dr. Oetker
- Rhubarb & Custard Profiteroles – Good Housekeeping
- Mille Fuielle – Rock Recipes
- Lavender Madeleines – Blue Bear Wood
You might like to check out my Afternoon Tea decorations, made using the Cricut Explore. And also read about the book I reviewed by Eric Lanlard, which was filled with traditional, and more contemporary recipes, and well worth buying – if only to drool at the pictures alone!