“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” Henry James
When lunch is a distant memory and dinner still feels like a long way off, there is nothing more enjoyable than the light relief of the delicate sweet treats and savoury snacks of Afternoon Tea.
Perhaps that most quintessential of all English customs, the Afternoon tea is surprisingly a relatively new tradition which was introduced in 1840 by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford.
The Duchess found that she become hungry mid-afternoon due to the long period of time that past between lunch and the fashionably late serving of dinner at eight ’o’clock. She began inviting her friends to enjoy tea and ‘a light refreshment’ in her rooms at Woburn Abbey, a daily ritual that soon became fashionable and was popularised by Queen Victoria.
To celebrate ‘Afternoon Tea Week’, an annual date that falls every second week of August, how about trying out these delicious Vanilla Cupcakes, the perfect sweet treats to accompany a thirst-quenching pot of earl grey!
Afternoon Tea Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes:
- 110 grams Unsalted Butter
- 110 grams Caster Sugar
- 110 grams Self-Raising Flour
- 2 Free-Range Eggs
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 tbsp Milk
For the Buttercream Icing:
- 140 grams Butter
- 280 grams Icing Sugar
- 2 tsp Milk
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1.Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and prepare a cupcake tin with paper cases.
2.Mix the butter and sugar together in a bowl until a creamy consistency is achieved. Fold in the beaten eggs, vanilla extract, milk and sifted flour.
3.Spoon the mixture into the cupcake paper cases until they are half full.
4.Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. To check they have cooked, simply insert a skewer or folk into one and if it comes out clean, then you know they’re ready to come out of the oven.
5.Set aside the tin to cool for a while, then remove the cupcakes from the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.
To make the Buttercream Icing:
1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth and creamy.
2. Now place the buttercream into a piping bag and carefully pipe the icing on to the cupcake using a spiralling motion to create a beautiful swirl effect and decorate with a wafer biscuit flake.
To give the cupcakes an extra special finishing touch for afternoon tea... cut strips of your favourite floral wrapping paper (I like to use scalloped scissors to create a decorative curved or zig zag edged effect) and gently wrap around the cupcake cases, to create an beautiful and elegant display.