Easy Afternoon Tea Sweets Bites and Teacakes
Delicious and easy recipes for an afternoon tea sweets course or dessert course. These beautiful desserts will make your next tea something to remember.
Outside of scones and tea sandwiches, an afternoon tea sweets course is always a favorite.
There’s something extra special about bite-size, dainty treats.
And china teapots, and teacups, and friends, and, of course, tea!
But today, it’s all about the Afternoon Tea Sweets Course. Which traditionally follows the savory and scone courses.
The sweets course is usually placed on the top of a three-tier tea tray. For more ideas on tea service, visit our post on How to Serve an Easy Afternoon Tea.
Afternoon Tea and High Tea: the Difference
Though the term is sometimes used interchangeably, if you’re hosting a tea party, it’s good to know the difference.
“High tea is not a fancy tea, as many people assume. Delectable scones, tea sandwiches, and cakes are the hallmark of an afternoon tea, which is served in midafternoon. A high tea, however, includes much more substantive fare, such as meat, fish, and egg dishes, as well as bread and desserts, and is offered in the early evening. Think of it as a light supper served with tea.”
Teacakes From One Side of the Pond to the Other
photo credit: bbcgoodfood.com
A teacake in Britain is a light, yeast-based sweet bun containing dried fruit, like these Earl Gray Teacakes. In the U.S., teacakes can be cookies or small cakes. In Sweden, they are soft round flat wheat bread made with milk and a little sugar and used to make tea sandwiches.
Pro Advice for Making Ahead Afternoon Tea Sweets
A reader at BBC Good Food asked for advice on which tea sweets were easiest to make ahead. Here is some great pro advice.
“Brownies work well, cut into little squares and freeze, then place in little cupcake papers and dust with cocoa to present on the day.”
“I second the suggestion for freezing brownies. Un-iced cakes can usually be frozen. Or freeze plain vanilla cupcakes and make fairy cakes.”
“A tea date loaf is my all-time favorite recipe at the moment and it’s super easy. You soak the fruit in tea. It is best left to cool in the tin and I think tastes better the next day. It freezes really well and gets rave reviews from young and old.” (See a recipe below)
“You could make and freeze a rectangular banana cake for example, and the night before, take it out of the freezer and put it into the fridge to defrost overnight. In the morning, ice it with nice passionfruit icing, cut into squares and arrange on a platter.”
Sweets Course Recipes
These delicious finger foods are perfect for an afternoon tea sweets or dessert course.
Easy Afternoon Tea Sweets Bites and Teacakes
Mini Coconut Cakes
"Scrumptious coconut cake topped with beautiful buttercream rosettes creates an impressive dessert in Mini Coconut Cakes."
Strawberry Jam Cakes
“Strawberry Jam Cake utilizes strawberry jam in the fluffy cake and cream cheese frosting. It’s a quick go-to recipe to celebrate strawberries any time of the year.”
Coconut Cream Tartlets with Italian Meringue
Serve these delicious Coconut Cream Tartlets with Italian Meringue as a welcome sweet treat at your next tea party.
Strawberry Bread with Lemon Icing
Strawberry bread is an incredibly moist and tender quick bread recipe that takes minutes to prep. Filled with fresh strawberries this lemon-glazed strawberry bread is an indulgent, delicious treat.
Orange Cake with Orange Buttercream Frosting
"A decadent Orange Buttercream Frosting crowns a deliciously tender Orange Cake to create an impressive and oh-so-satisfying dessert for a celebratory afternoon tea or birthday party."
Chocolate Mousse in Chocolate Cups
"Minutes to make, these Chocolate Mousse in Chocolate Cups are delectable treats chocolate lovers will appreciate."
Mini Lemon Pudding Cakes
Mini Lemon Pudding Cakes are a refreshing, melt-in-your-mouth, lemony dream. Simple and quick to make, this dessert magically forms two layers when baked. A light and airy cake on top with a lemon pudding custard on the bottom.
Egg custard tarts
"Our irresistible custard tarts take just 10 minutes to prepare. Who could resist that slight wobble and golden sheen?”
Chocolate Ganache Mini Tarts
These Chocolate Ganache Mini Tarts are a chocolate lover's dream. A tender toasted almond shortbread crust is filled with an irresistible chocolate ganache that's so easy, you won't believe it.
Chocolate Biscuit Cake
“Chocolate Biscuit Cake, a simple confection made with tea biscuits and chocolate ganache, is a modern-day favorite of both Queen Elizabeth II and her grandson, Prince William. The queen always made sure it was on the menu whenever her grandson came for tea at Buckingham Palace. Prince William likes it so much that he requested it as the groom’s cake for his 2011 wedding to Kate Middleton.”
Earl Grey panna cotta tarts infused with tea
“Serve panna cotta with berries and fresh fruit, granola, milk crumbs, and simple cookies. You can also drizzle panna cotta with chocolate sauce, jam, or caramel. Really, anything goes!”
Lavender Tea Bread
This Lavender Tea Bread is a moist and sweet tea loaf, perfect for afternoon tea or simply to celebrate when the lavender blooms. Delightfully rich with butter and lavender cream, and unforgettable with the vanilla flavoring.
Shortbread Tea Cookies with Lemon Curd
Shortbread Tea Cookies with Lemon Curd, topped with fresh blueberries, are tiny bites of perfection. Petit and perfectly sized for afternoon tea, they are melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
Quark Mini Cheesecakes with Fresh Blackberries (German Käsekuchen)
Surprisingly easy, these Quark Mini Cheesecakes or German Käsekuchen are delightful and perfect for afternoon tea. Top with fresh seasonal berries.
10 Minute Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes in Filo Shells
This skinny, light dessert takes 10 minutes to make. Perfect for afternoon tea, any time of the year.
“Blueberry-Basil Tartlets filled with juicy blueberries and fresh herbs.”
Berries and Cream
“This fresh and fragrant Berries and Cream delight mixes strawberries and raspberries with whipping cream spiked with raspberry liqueur.”
Blueberry Banana Bread
This recipe for Blueberry Banana Bread is a tender, delicious quick bread filled with blueberries. Perfect for the season, made with Greek yogurt and seasoned with cinnamon.
Date And Tea Loaf
A simple recipe made with dates, pantry ingredients, and brewed English Breakfast tea.
Blackberry Coconut Cupcakes
“Tropical Coconut and fresh blackberries come together beautifully in these light and dreamy cupcakes! You’ll love the combination of flavors, along with the sweet cream cheese frosting.”
Carrot Pound Cakes
"Made simple in a mini Bundt pan, these Carrot Pound Cakes are a perfect sweet treat for afternoon tea."
Make Delicious Macarons Every Time
“This easy macaron recipe is a basic one, with a few extra tips to help a beginner on their way.”
Iced Almond Petal Cookies
"Beautiful and delicate Iced Almond Petal Cookies make an elegant dessert to serve for the sweets course of afternoon tea."
Easy to make cheat's chocolate biscuits
"These chocolate biscuits are great for an impromptu afternoon tea.”
Strawberry-Orange Thumbprint Cookies
“Thumbprint cookies are a great teatime sweet to have in your repertoire. The flavors of the cookie and filling can be mixed and matched to suit your event, but this Strawberry-Orange Thumbprint Cookie recipe is one of our favorites.”
Glazed Lemon Cookies
“These Glazed Lemon Cookies are full of zesty citrus flavor.”
Butter Lemon Tea Cookies
Butter Lemon Tea Cookies are a delightfully simple, sweet and soft wafer-like cookie with a beautiful lemon flavor. All you need is a cup of tea and your afternoon just became a bit brighter. An easy, traditional recipe that keeps or freezes well.
Vanilla Tea Cake Cookies
Vanilla Tea Cake Cookies are a simple buttery, soft vanilla tea cookie perfect for afternoon tea. Much like Scottish Shortbread, the ingredients are simple, but the texture and vanilla flavors are deliciously unforgettable.
Victoria Sponge Cake: A Teatime Classic
This Victoria Sponge Cake is an afternoon teacake recipe, favored by Queen Elizabeth, with a long British royal heritage. An easy-to-make, simple two-layer cake that's lightly sweet, soft, and perfect!
Vanilla, Sour Cream & Poppy-Seed Bundt Cake
“This lovely Vanilla, Sour Cream & Poppy-Seed Bundt Cake is the centerpiece of a festive afternoon tea.”
Strawberry Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze
This Strawberry Bundt Cake Recipe with Lemon Glaze is utterly delicious with fresh strawberries and lemon. A tender and moist texture from Greek yogurt make it irresistible and perfect for the season.
Lemon Pound Cake
This Lemon Pound Cake is velvety soft, moist, buttery, and tender. Flavored with fresh lemon zest and juice, it's an easy to make cake that's absolutely spring perfect.
Apple Spice Visiting Cake
Apple Spice Visiting Cake is a buttery and moist fall cake with autumn spices that permeate every bite. It's a simple cake, with simple ingredients, to have ready for guests, or to bring to a favorite friend.
Lemon drizzle cake
This top-rated Lemon Drizzle Cake recipe is perfect for afternoon tea in any season.
More Afternoon Tea Recipes
You will find delicious and easy recipes, perfect for an afternoon tea sweets course. For more afternoon tea recipes, you’ll love these too:
Seasons of Afternoon Tea
- Queen Elizabeth Afternoon Tea Recipes
- A Winter Afternoon Tea for Chilly, Snowy Days
- Valentine’s Day Afternoon Tea
- Spring Afternoon Tea: Easy Recipes and Ideas
- Beautiful Mother’s Day Tea Recipes
- Easy Summer Afternoon Tea Recipes and Ideas
- An Autumn Afternoon Tea: Celebrating a Glorious Season
- An Easy Scottish Afternoon Tea to Remember
- Hosting a Christmas Afternoon Tea
Thank you so much, Allain!
My friend and I teach a class at Forman College OLLI program called Tea & Mystery. of coarse spring quarter and now fall has been cancelled but I hope you don’t mind I have pinned some of your ideas to use
That is a class right up my alley — I love tea and mysteries! What fun! Thank you for pinning!!
I’m a Brit living near DC. My dream is to open a tea shop one day, thank you for the wonderful recipes and beautiful photos to get me dreaming. Currently my “tea shop” is online ?
Hi Laura! Opening a tea shop would be my dream too! There’s nothing better than tea! I’m on the opposite coast as you, but when I need a British style tea fix, I hop on a ferry and cross the Puget Sound to Victoria, B.C. And it is heavenly! When you accomplish your dream — I can’t wait to come and visit! Thanks so much for the kind comments.
I love this! Beautiful, easy, and explained clearly.
Thank you, Charlotte!