IMG_5466We have made sponges before, but they were large sponge cakes.

This time I made some sponge drops, individual sponge cakes.




You will need the basic sponge mixture:

  • 2 eggs
  • 4 oz caster sugar
  • 4 oz sifter self raising flour
  • A few drops of Vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon hot water

Oven  200 C 400 F Gas Mark 6

Whisk the eggs lightly and then whisk in the sugar, vanilla essence and finally the hot water until thick and creamy.  Gently fold in the flour until well combined using a figure of eight movement.IMG_5468

IMG_5474Place small spoonfuls of the mixture well apart of a baking tray and cook for about 5 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.  When cold sandwich together with jam and cream.  -JAB

teatssc1000021025_-00_cadbury-advent-calendar-dairy-milk-3-17-oz-90gOnce Halloween is over, the holiday season begins to quickly creep faster and faster upon us! With Thanksgiving being nearly forgotten about thanks to the anticipation leading up to “Black Friday” and people’s impatience go shopping for Christmas gifts so early, it adds more excitement to the holidays. While new traditions are born as the years go by, some will stay the same for generations to come.

Advent is a Christian tradition, which begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and begins the church’s year. It is closest to the Feast Day of St. Andrew the Apostle. It is believed the word Advent is derived from Latin, which means “the coming”. Advent Calendars generally do not follow the Advent waiting period but instead begin on December 1st and ending on Christmas Eve.

Before the Advent Calendars, people would count down to Christmas by lighting candles or crossing days off their own calendars. The calendars everyone knows with the chocolate originally started in Germany back in the 1800s, when one opened a small door and revealed a picture which were based from the Hebrew Bible, from December 1-24 (sometimes til December 31st, for New Year’s). This tradition soon spread throughout Europe and North America and now there are different kinds of Advent Calendars. While they still conceal a picture, there is usually a small surprise inside, like a piece of chocolate or other sweet.

Advent Calendars are still popular gifts to give to loved ones, big or small and teaches children to be patient when it comes to waiting for the big day when Santa Claus (or Father Christmas in the UK) makes his stop!

IMG_5343Remember all those recipes we did using egg whites?  Well now is the time to use some egg yolks.  Custard tarts are easy to make and very tasty so here goes.




You will need:

  • 4 oz sweet short crust pastry,
  • made with 4 oz flour, 2oz butter and 2 oz sugar.  Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs and stir in the sugar.  Add enough cold water to combine the ingredients together and leave the bowl clean.
  • 2 eggs and one egg yolk
  • 1/2 pint milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Or buy some ready made pastry!  Roll out the pastry to fit inside a 7 inch flan tin and blind bake for 10 minutIMG_5344es at 190 C 375 F Gas 5 .  Remove from the oven and then reduce the heat to 180 C 350 F Gas mark 4.

Prepare the custard filling by heating the milk and sugar to almost boiling point then allow to cool a little before adding the whisked eggs and egg yolk.  Strain the liquid into the pastry case and, if liked, sprinkle the top with grated nutmeg.  Bake inside a roasting tin half filled with water for about 20 minutes until set.   Allow to cool before removing from the tin.  This can be served warm with cream or cold with a nice cup of tea. -JAB

IMG_5337 (2)No, not the fishy type…the cream bun type!  Oysters and a variation on Maids of Honour which we made some time ago.

It is a pastry base with an almond flavoured cake on top and a jam and cream filling.  In order to put the fresh cream in we need to bake the cakes first and then remove the cake bit and add the jam and cream.  Yes a little messy but it can look good in the end.

You will need for 18 buns: 6 oz sweet shortcrust pastry – made or bought.


  • 3 oz butter
  • 3 oz sugar
  • 3 oz ground almonds
  • 1 egg
  • A few drops of almond essence
  • Jam and cream

Oven 190 C, 375 F Gas mark 5

Roll out the pastry until quite thin and use a cutter (3 inch) to make 18 rounds, re-rolling the pastry each time.  Line each patty hole with the pastry.  MeanwhileIMG_5338 cream together the butter and sugar and stir in the almonds, egg and essence.  place a small spoonful of the mixture into each case and bake for 20 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack and only when cool carefully remove the cake mixture using a sharp knife and fill each case with a spoonful of jam and some cream then replace the cake on top, tilting to one side.  Enjoy with a cuppa.  -JAB

Halloween may be over now and there may be that sad feeling that the festivities are over with (at least until Thanksgiving), but it’s just getting started in the UK! November may be all about Thanksgiving in the United States but for the British, it’s about Guy Fawkes and bonfires!

Now, who was Guy Fawkes, you ask? Guy Fawkes had a large role in the the Gunpowder Plot as he and other British Catholics wanted to use gunpowder to blow up the Houses of Parliament. The then monarch, James I, was not a supporter of the Catholics. In fact, he was unempathetic towards them. He even evicted Catholic priests which angered the Catholic population.

FPUD_TAT_BTP_-00_Tate-and-Lyles-Black-Treacle-454gFawkes’ motive for the plot was because he wanted to help re-establish Catholicism in Britain by blowing up Parliament once it was opened. James I’s daughter was his successor and a strong Catholic, who would help put faith towards the Catholics once again if she were in power. Fawkes was put in charge of guarding the gunpowder placed underneath the House of Lords. He was to set off the gunpowder, subsequently blowing up the cellar he was hiding in. Unfortunately, he was caught and taken to the Tower of London where he was tortured until he gave the names of his fellow plotters. All of them were executed.

Ever since November 5th, 1605, bonfires were lit to celebrate the safety of the King and is now a tradition. This day has been known as Bonfire Night ever since. People in Britain celebrate with fireworks and burn effigies of Guy Fawkes, being placed on top of or thrown into a bonfire to burn. When the Guy Fawkes effigy is made and not yet burned, villagers and townspeople usually wheel him around shouting, “Penny for the Guy!”, collecting money for fireworks.

The night(s) before, usually November 4th, is known as Mischief Night. Children and teenagers are usually known for playing practical pranks like putting treacle on doorknobs or tying up gates (usually harmless).

Bonfire Night is not just known for fire and fireworks, but also for traditional food! While people munch on hot foods and drink like hot chocolate, mulled wine, tea, toffee apples, and soup, but everyone has to have their Parkin cake! Parkin is a slightly sticky sponge cake made with oatmeal and black treacle, either bought in shops or made right at home.

If you or someone you know plan to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day, please be safe and warm!


(c) English Tea Store – Julia Briggs

Traditionally eaten on Bonfire Night which is November 5th, Parkin should be made a few days before to give it time to mature. Yorkshire parkin contains oatmeal some other parkins do not.

Set your oven to  160 C,  326 F gas mark 3. Grease and line a 7-inch square or 1-lb loaf tin.

4 oz self raising flour

4 oz fine or medium oatmeal (I used Scott’s porridge oats)

4 oz soft brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground ginger

4 tablepoons black treacle

2 oz butter

5 tablespoons milk

1 egg (beaten)


(c) English Tea Store – Julia Briggs

a pinch of salt

Warm the treacle, butter, sugar and milk together and meanwhile mix together the dry ingredients.


(c) English Tea Store – Julia Briggs

If using porridge oats you may want to whizz them in the blender to make them a little finer.  Combine all the ingredients together with the beaten egg and pour into the tin.

Bake on the middle shelf for about 50-55 minutes until firm to the touch.  Now cool on a wire rack and when cool wrap in foil and store in an airtight tin for two or three days.

To be eaten outside whilst watching the bonfire and fireworks!  JAB


finishedBakewell tart is good but Cherry Bakewell is so much better! (If you like glace cherries!)

A Bakewell tart is a sweet pastry case with jam on the base then covered with a cake mixture, usually made with ground almonds and / or ground rice and then baked in the oven.

With this recipe glace cherries are put on the jam before the sponge.

So you will need:

  • 6 oz sweet short crust pastry (ie: 6 oz flour, 3 oz butter, 2 oz sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons of jam (any flavour you like)
  • 4 oz Glace cherries
  • 3 oz butter
  • 3 oz Caster Sugar
  • 4 oz ground almonds
  • 2 oz ground rice
  • 1 egg
  • A few drops of almond essence.
  • Oven 190 C, 375 F, gas mark 5.  A greased  7″ flan tin.

If you are using a mixer then put the butter and sugar into the bowl and mix until light and fluffy.mixture

Meanwhile line the flan tin with your pastry and spread the jam onto the base, cut the cherries in half and place over the jam, cut side down.​

untitledNow either finish off making the cake mixture in your mixer by adding the well beaten egg and almond essence, then fold in the flour, ground almonds and ground rice with a figure of eight movement.

Or make your sponge mixture by hand using a wooden spoon to beat the butter and sugar together, then beat in the egg and almond essence and using a metal spoon fold in the flour, ground almonds and ground rice.​ddd

Spoon the cake mixture into the flan tin being careful not to move the cherries.  You can now sprinkle either blanched sliced almonds or chopped almonds on top at this point. Then bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.​

You can enjoy this either hot with custard or cold with a nice cup of tea.

IMG_5335Coffee Kisses, melting moments or chocolate shortbread kisses.  Whatever you you want to call them they are delicious.

I have made plain ones with chocolate on top and I made them rather large so they would photograph better.



You will need:

  • 6 oz Self Raising Flour
  • 3 oz Caster Sugar
  • 3 oz butter
  • 1 medium egg
  • 2 teaspoons of instant coffee dissolved in a tablespoon of hot water if you are making the coffee kisses.  Or vanilla essence.

Oven 180 C, 350 F or gas mark 4.  A greased or lined baking sheet.

Soften the butter and mix with the flour and sugar, stir in the beaten egg and either the coffee or  vanilla essence and mix well.  Divide the dough into 24  balls the size of a walnut and place on the baking sheet. Cook for about 15 minutes.  When cool sandwich them together in 12 pairs with either plain or coffee flavoured butter cream.  Melt some chocolate for the top if you have any!!

  • Butter Icing is made with:
  • 2 oz butterIMG_5334
  • 4 oz sieved icing sugar
  • Coffee flavouring

Mix everything together.

Try to sandwich them together just before serving as the butter icing tends to make the shortbread soft.

teacozy1000025722_-00_cape-cranberries-snuggie-cozyWith the colder weather beginning to fall upon us, it’s becoming a bit harder to keep our tea hot. Not just in our teacups but in our teapots! Not only is it important to keep yourself warm but your tea as well! And how do we keep our tea warm outside the kettle? Tea cozies!

The first known use of tea cozies date back to as far as the 19th century, in the 1800s around the time the Duchess of Bedford, Anna Russel popularized Afternoon Tea. With the tea parties always in full swing, it becomes easy to forget about the hot pot of tea. By the time someone went to pour another cup, it had already gone cold. And when tea has to be reheated, it’s just not the same.

Tea cozies were purchased in shops but over the years, people have begun to craft their own. The tea cozy is usually made with cloth, usually wool, although some have been made with recyclable materials in recent years. Patterns to make your own tea cozy are sold in sewing and knitting shops in many locations. Tutorials to make your own cozy are often given online or in person.

There are many kinds of tea cozies. There are the dome styles that you must remove in order to use the teapot, and then the snuggteaaccz1000030013_-00_gray-chateau-dome-cozyie ones that are made more intricately. They have a drawstring and have two slots, one for the handle and the other for the spout. This makes it convenient for the user to be able to use the teapot without having to remove the cozy. The knitted cozies also have the same holes for the spout and handle.

Yes, tea cozies come in many shapes and sizes! While they come in a more traditional form, there have been ones that are customized to look like characters, animals, or items like houses or beehives! It’s all up to you! As long as the tea stays warm.

What kind of tea cozy do you have? Are there ones you collect? Much like teapots and teacups (or in my case, mugs), people have collections of cozies. The hardest part is deciding which one to use.



(c) English Tea Store- Julia Briggs

A Madeira cake is what we call a rich cake even though it does not have any fruit in it.

It is a plain cake with a close texture and is delicious sliced and spread with a little butter.





You will need:

  • 5 oz butter
  • 5 oz caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, whisked.
  • 8 oz Self Raising Flour
  • A few drops of lemon essence


    (c) English Tea Store – Julia Briggs

Oven 180 C, 350 F or gas 4  Either a 7″ round cake tine or a one pound loaf tin, greased.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy then beat in the lightly whicked eggs with a little flour.  Add the lemon essence and fold in the remaining flour in a figure of eight.

Place the mixture into the tin and bake for about 1 and a quarter hours.  If you have some thinly sliced candied peel this can be placed on top of the cake after it has been in the oven one hour.  When it is firm to the touch take it out of the oven and leave in the tin until a little cooler.  Then place the cake onto a wire rack to finish cooling.


Explore our content:

Find us on these sites:

Follow Us!     Like Us!     Follow Us!     Follow Us!     Plus 1 Us!
Follow Tea Blog on

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Tweet This!    add to    add to furl    digg this    stumble it!    add to simpy    seed the vine    add to reddit     post to facebook    technorati faves

Copyright Notice:

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Blog Affiliates

blogged - The internets fastest growing blog directory

Networked Blogs

%d bloggers like this: