Traditional English Pastries to Serve with Tea

Now that you know how to make a proper cup of tea you probably want a good treat to enjoy with your cup of tea. Tea time is such a large part of British culture, they are known for it all around the world. A large part of tea time is the treats that you eat along with the tea. Here are some of the more traditional pastries you can enjoy with your tea and a little but of the history around them as well.

Victoria Sponge Cake

Also called Victoria sandwich and filled with raspberry jam and whipped cream, this pastry was named in honor of Queen Victoria (1819-1901) and was popular after tea snacks in the 19th century. It was made using the traditional method for preparing sponge cakes of 1615. By the 1840s, due to the invention of baking powder, the fluffy style was introduced and has remained to the present day. Mary Berry, a celebrity cook, has made this cake her favorite recipe ever since.

Chelsea Buns

First made in Chelsea Bun House in the 18th century, this bun shop in Chelsea, in London, produced only for the royal family especially King George II who often visited the shop in the morning. The bun is made to look like a cinnamon roll, and sometimes, lemon peel and mixed spice are added to it. It is a simple enough idea but with delicious flavors and a good texture it goes perfectly with a hot cup of tea.

Battenberg Cake

This cake is made with pink and yellow colors together with a checkered pattern of marzipan. This cake is believed to have been specially made for the marriage between Prince Louis of Battenberg and his fiancée Princess Victoria in 1884. The four divisions of the cake were not in the original recipe. It was said that Frederick Vine had instructed that nine pieces of the cake be made. Today, bakers are given this recipe as a test of their baking skills during the Great British Bake Off as it has become such a classic. This is a favorite in my household and the almond flavor of the marzipan is a perfect compliment to a cup of tea.

Carrot Cake

The unique way modern carrot cake is made is believed to have its roots in the Arabian carrot pudding of the 10th century. In the middle ages, sweeteners were rare, so carrots were used to sweeten them. It was called pudding until the 1800s when it was renamed dessert the moment its recipe was found. The popularity of the cake grew during the Second World War, especially in Britain. Frosting the cake with cream cheese icing was first introduced in the 1960s.

Eccles Cake

Eccles cake is named after one of the towns in Greater Manchester. The cake is a pastry filled with currants. A cookbook written by Mrs Elizabeth Raffald of Arley Hall in Cheshire was found to contain a similar recipe. Then, it was fondly called a `sweet patty.’ James Birch, who lived in Eccles, sold the cake twenty-four years later.