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
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 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 favourite 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 into the fridge to defrost overnight. In the morning, ice it with nice passionfruit icing, cut into squares and arrange on a platter.”
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:
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.
“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.”
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.
“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.”
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 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.
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!
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.