This is my Tea Party Recipes & Coronation Ideas page. Use me, a flame-haired Scot, as your guide to providing a template to which recipes would make a great tea party. The true authentic British recipes, which will also be perfect for a big or small, coronation party too. Do this on a budget, using what you have and no need for expensive, hard to get ingredients or decorations. Let's plan this tea party!!
Tea Party Recipes & Coronation Ideas
Recipes & Inspiration For Your Own Tea Party
What Is A Tea Party?
Tea parties are quintessentially British, or at least that is how it looks on tv. Some programs or websites you will see foods we don’t really have at tea parties. Things like a Charcuterie boards. Most countries have their equivalent of tea parties but here we are concentrating on a British tea party. Which is perfect for using as a template if you are having a party or celebration for King Charles III’s Coronation weekend (6-8th May 2023).
British Tea Parties
British Tea Parties were an extension of Afternoon tea and Cream Teas, (the former originating in Britain in the early 1840s). Usually held in the afternoon into early evening, these social gatherings, as the name would suggest, consisted of tea drinking, and lots of it.
Teas of many kinds, would be accompanying such classics as Scones, small or bite-sized cakes, biscuits, small pastries and some light sandwiches. (Examples of sandwiches would be crust trimmed, and cut into long slim rectangular pieces, and filled with examples like smoked salmon and cream cheese, egg salad & cress, Coronation Chicken (no pun intended), or dinky little cucumber pieces. But remember – not too many sandwiches or there won’t be room for cake and biscuits!!
Examples Of British Bakes
Scones are iconic to Britain too, and not to be confused with American biscuits (and biscuits being what we call our cookies too!). Same ingredients but different proportions result in a different texture inside the scones. A cheese version of the scones is also a good way to have something other than sweet foods at your tea party.
Traditional Scottish shortbread, is also a must for any afternoon tea, or tea party. Very simple to make, and with no decoration required, you could even use a crown cookie cutter to shape the biscuits for a coronation party.
For a little more fancy looking biscuit, go for a sandwich cookie, like a soft jam filled sandwich cookie or a version of Jammie Dodgers with the addition of a firmer buttercream with the jam filling.
Lots of British cakes you can pick from. Maybe iconic layer cakes such as Victoria Sandwich Cake, or a Genoise fruit and cream filled torte. Lemon drizzle is also very simple and extremely popular, and can be made in different forms – as a loaf cake, as a bundt cake, as mini bundt cakes, and try adding poppy seed to the batter for a nice twist. Carrot cake is also another popular cake, and can be make big or small.
With the bigger cakes, cut into smaller slices, or squares/rectangles, or make mini cakes, bundts, & squares, which will all fit nicely on a tiered cake stand.
If you don’t have a cake stand, don’t worry. If you have a shorter, but not too thin candle stick holder, you can make your own cake stand, by placing your chosen cake plate on top of the candlestick holder. Small pedestals or risers can also be used to elevate your cake plate. Alternatively, you can buy carboard tiered cake stands from most poundshops (Dollar Stores). But the cake stand is not essential. I have not used it in these photos.
Any pretty plates you have will be fine and do not need to match. Just go for a theme of colour or style. Here I have used several different blue and white pieces I purchased inexpensively from car boots sales and charity shops (thrift stores). Known as the Willow Range, they are not all identical, but I like it like that. Vintage style cutlery is also a nice touch. Just not too vintage to use to eat with. Everything is coming back in fashion!
We can’t forget the teapot and cups. These are the main stars of the show and should be on show, waiting to be used. (Unless if there are small children coming, in which case you could easily get some inexpensive plastic kids tea set. I think Ikea even still does a small cute little range).
Check the back of your cupboards, for things you don’t use everyday or were gifted. Check the charity shops, car boots sales and thrift stores. You want tea cups and some small saucers too, and a jug and creamer would be nice too (but not essential).
Other Tea Party ‘Things’
You don’t need fancy tableware or cutlery, something simple, like white crockery is just as good. Simply fill the table out with napkins, flowers (be then real or fake). Think small sized. A simple plain neutral table cloth (or even a disposable one), will all work well too. Adding some colour from the flowers and linen, will also brighten your table and make a great tea party atmosphere.
For a Coronation themed tea party, you can buy special tablecloths, napkins, and much more, from even the Poundshop or online, but really not essential. Any red white blue accessories will be fitting. And even then, all you need is maybe some red, white & blue fruit in the form of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries as examples and white, well I immediately think cream to go with the fruit and scones! But if your table cloth or napkins are white, you are good to go!
Traditional British Scones
No cream tea, afternoon tea, high tea or tea party is complete, without the addition of our scones. Here are my 3 recipes for you to try. The classic original scones recipe, that isn’t sweet or savoury, and you half the scone and spread on butter, jam, cream, all or a combination, depending on your taste. Lemon Curd or Fig Anise curd is also a nice accompaniment to scones. Kids also like chocolate spread. Or you could try my slightly flavoured version – Cranberry Spiced Scones, with dried cranberries and some complementary spices!
For the savoury, we have the cheese scones. My cheese scones have mature/sharp cheddar in the dough, but also on top, towards the end of baking. These scones recipes are tutorials in themselves, with all the tips for a great scone. And most importantly the ‘What NOT TO DO’, so you too can get a great rise on your scones. Almost real-time video included.
For the kids, you can get them making my ‘Tear-&-Share Cheese Scones’. No need to cut out the scone dough, and so makes a quicker savoury snack, that can also be changed up with some herbs.
Cakes, Cake & More Cakes
Cakes are a must for any tea party.
Iconic British layer cakes examples would be Victoria Sandwich Cake & Carrot Cake. Fill the Victoria Sandwich Cake with just jam, (raspberry being popular) and dust with icing sugar (powdered sugar). For something a little more fancy, fill with the jam and some whipped cream (heavy/whipping cream), and maybe add some berries like strawberries or raspberries to the centre. No need for buttercream in the centre or on top. This sponge cake pairs beautifully with cream and jam, making so light and easy to eat!
Another popular British type of sponge is a Genoise. For a Summer Berry Greistorte, fill 2 layers of Genoise cake with berries and cream, and cover completely with cream, before adding more berries. This would be a perfect cake to use for the British flag and the Coronation with the red, white & blue theme. Strawberries or raspberries, blueberries and keep the cream white (mine is actually slightly pink with some strawberry reduction).
Bundt cakes are loved by many, not just because of all the beautiful and detailed tins you can buy, but they often require minimal or no direction. So ideal for beginner bakers or busy people. And the bundt cake screams ‘crown’! Good examples of cakes that lend themselves well to a bundt tin are – Lemon Drizzle With Poppy Seed Bundt Cake, the popular Carrot Bundt Cake with a orange cream cheese frosting, Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake Bundt, Fig & Orange Polenta Bundt Cake Review, Lynn @ Tasty Bakes Kitchen’s recipe for Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake that I reviewed.
Got some pumpkin puree in the freezer or in the pantry, then try this Chocolate Pumpkin Bundt Cake recipe of Anna Olson’s that I reviewed. Some more examples of easy bundts are Apple Cinnamon Bundt or classic Pineapple Upside-down Cake in a bundt pan.
Have Trouble With Bundt Tins?
Does Your cake stick in the bundt in?
Do you not make bundt cakes because the cake sticks to the pan? Well here are my tips for bundt cakes. Try homemade cake lining paste/cake goop. Less expensive than cake release, works great for cakes and lots of cooking. For silicone bundt cases I always use Frylight cooking spray (anyone, including the 1 Cal version). This works great for baking too, and you can get it for less in the likes of B&M, Home Bargains, Aldi & Lidl, rather than the bigger supermarkets.
Mini Bundt Cakes
The mini versions of the bundt cakes lends itself even better for tea parties and celebrations, as these smaller sized cakes don’t need to be cut, and are ready to be grabbed and devoured. Mini bundt tins can be expensive, especially NordicWare. I recently purchased Tala Performance (black) heavy duty 12 cup Mini Bundt tray from Amazon. But I started off using individual, mini silicone bundt cases. And these are widely available. Tip for mini silicone cake cases – to hold their shape, place inside a cupcake or muffin tray, and then fill with your cake batter.
Perfect examples of mini bundt cakes are versions of those bundts above like – mini lemon drizzle poppy seed bundts, mini carrot cake bundts, mini chocolate orange bundts with surprise inside & mini gingerbread bundt cakes. Latest recipe fresh Cranberry Orange Madeira Bundt Cakes. More bundt cake recipes can be found on my Bundt Cake Page.
Cupcakes & Muffins
Cupcakes and muffins, and even mini muffins, are also ideal for a cake stand and a tea party. Mini muffin trays have 24 holes, providing you with 24 bite-sized cakes.
Vanilla & raspberry cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes with espressso buttercream, carrot cake cupcakes, fresh cranberry orange Madeira cake muffins, and lemon drizzle blueberry cupcakes, always go down well.
Other Iconic Cakes
The British fruit cake is not just for Christmas Cakes, Mrs D’s Boiled Fruit Cake, is also very popular, all year round. With a high proportion of fruit, this cake can last weeks at a time. (Which won’t be the case when having a tea party, haha!).
Madeira Cake is also a classic cake, similar to an American Pound Cake in texture, but slightly more open and with the inclusion of ground almonds (not almond flour). Try the original Madeira cake, that is a nice simple cake, spread some jam on a slice, or add some more flavour with an Orange & Cranberry version.
Traybakes & Squares/Slices
A traybake is just what we in the UK call single layer cakes that are baked in square or rectangular tins. Examples would be making carrot cake in a single layer – Carrot Cake Slices and just topping with orange cream cheese frosting. Brownies are a popular traybake type of cake, but not a typical Tea Party cake. But if your guests love brownies or chocolate cake and there are kids, then why not instead of cutting 16 brownie slices, chill the brownie (overnight if possible), and cut into small bite-sized squares. Think an inch (1″/2.5cm) squares. Try my chocolate orange brownies, or browned butter hazelnut brownies. You can also top and decorate the brownies for your theme. Brownies For All Occasions.
Some other super simple single layer cakes would be Lemon Curd Oat Bars, (that can also be made with apricot instead). Lamingtons are also very pretty little cakes for a Tea Party, and you can make what ever size you like. Coat in jam and coconut, or chocolate and coconut. My beginner cake recipe lessons starts with Raspberry Coconut Sponge Squares because it is so easy to make and enjoyed be all. Another coconut recipe is Paradise Coconut slices.
A Very Special Tea Party
Here’s a link to go to my friend Sally’s website, and her totally exquisite White Chocolate Raspberry Dome! On that post she also reviews Eric Lanlard’s Afternoon Tea recipe book.
Sally was on the American version of Great British Bake Off and has been blogging since 2009! That is her ‘hobby’ while working as a biochemist & teacher!!
Sally’s White chocolate raspberry dome would be perfect for your cake stand.
Sally is also our Macaron Queen in our Bake Off Group, and any of her macarons would be fit for a fancy Afternoon Tea table! Check our her blog with many many mac recipes, or this macaron video tutorial she did.
Scottish Shortbread is always to be found on the cake stand at a tea party! Made to a traditional Scottish recipe, this is an extremely popular recipe, and so simple to make. Don’t skip the chilling of the cut-out dough, and even make some different shapes to the standard shortbread fingers and petticoat tails. Try my cranberry orange pecan shortbread, or newer, half-dipped chocolate coconut anise shortbread version. Make small bite-sized squares or rounds, would also be nice.
A Very British Biscuit
Here is another classic British biscuit/cookie. I love Viennese Whirls and had a review on my old site. But here is a lovely recipe by my friend Tanya, who also appeared on The Great American Baking Show with Sally.
Tanya has the blog Global Bakes, where she shares her love of baking, travelling the world (especially Scotland), and teaching stunning piping work with her sugar cookies and cakes.
Special Diet Recipes
I have several ‘special recipes’, such as gluten-free, egg-free. Try my Egg & Butter-free Chocolate Layer Cake, that can also be Vegan and Lactose-free. (Cupcake version available too). Go the Gluten-free route with my Flour-free Chocolate & Cream Swiss Roll, or use the Christmas Chocolate & Orange Yule Log recipe. My Gluten-free Carrot Bundt Cake is also very popular. Make my Brownie recipe using regular flour, or with gluten-free flour and Xanthan Gum. The Classic Scones recipe above, has also successfully been made using Gluten-free flour, with Lactose-free Milk, and even using goats butter. Nadiya Hussain’s Potato Rösti Quiche is a great flour-free alternative to pastry in regular quiche.
Little pastry dishes would also fit in well at your tea party. Many appetisers & pies can be made from homemade shortcrust pastry. Try my Individual chocolate tarts. These can be made smaller, and ahead of time, allowing the chocolate ganache to set nicely. For a fancy top to your pie, but easier than a lattice top crust, try my Rhubarb Pie With A Twist recipe. Or make mini Lemon Meringue Pies.
Shop bought filo pastry, can used to make mini filo cups, that you can fill with cooked berries, salted caramel sauce, a chocolate ganache, lemon curd, pastry cream, or even just whipped cream and fresh fruit.
As well as these puff pastry savoury recipes with cheese just mentioned, there are some pastry-free recipes. Speedy Cheese Swirls as the name suggest, are quick to make cheesy yeast-free small snacks. (I have a sweet version too –Speedy Mincepie Swirls).
My Easy Peasy Smokin‘ Cheezee Squares (& Stars), are a cross between a cheesy little pastry & a cracker. Softer than both a cracker and a pastry. The easiest snack to bring together, in a food processor, chilling the dough is the longest stage in the recipe. But the fridge is your friend in baking. Bonus spicy version included – Cheespicy Smokin’ Squares.
2 Turkish savoury biscuits (cookies), are also on offer, easy to make, you can use any shaped cookie cutter you have or for a theme for your party. Try the original Turkish Savoury Biscuit that is basically a salted soft biscuit, or the Peynirli Kurabiye – Cheesy Turkish Biscuits. Both equally moreish!
Lots of these sweet bakes above, are served with some other tasty homemade accompaniments, such as jams and curd. Try my Plum & orange Jam recipe, easy lemon curd, or try the Fig & Anise curd. (This can be made so easily with frozen figs).
Pastry cream is not only ideal for filling little sweet pastries, but also can be used as a cake filling. Check my other lessons for making simple vanilla buttercream, lemon drizzle, a concentrated strawberry puree for baking, and finally an amazing salted caramel sauce tutorial. This pairs with fruit nicely but even better with carrot cake or banana bread.
Here are some recipes for your tea party or celebrations, that do not require any ‘baking’ in the oven. These are still a bakers’ job but without the use of the oven. So perfect in the warmer months.
Try Mrs D’s Nan’s mousse, it is a Cheat’s Strawberry Mousse dessert. No need to mess about with gelatine, as you use packets of jelly/jello and can pick any flavour you like. Make a large ring shaped mousse with a jelly/jello mould, like Mrs D. Or make individual mousse desserts in ramekins.
Less seen at Tea parties are things like truffles & fudge. These are can be small and bite-sized and easy to eat if everyone isn’t seated. Try my super simple and safer Microwave Chocolate Fudge recipe and add to it. Protein Chocolate Truffles are also easy to make from chocolate ganache & dates. Or use up left-over cake and cookies and make my Tropical Cake Truffles. With these you can incorporate red, white & blue colours and sprinkles for a Coronation party.
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