Well, for a start, it doesn't have to be served in a Tea Salon, although this one at the Salon The` Musee`d Orsay in Paris is certainly sublime. This photo taken when we were there a few years ago.
It does require teacups...
...or this one which I lovingly prepared for The Diva Child's fourteenth birthday...a pastel rainbow iced fudge cake...
....or perhaps some Raspberry Iced Tea Muffins...recipe following...
...then there's Aunty M's Rock Cakes for something a little more substantial...
2 1/4 cups self raising flour, sifted
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup any mixed fruit
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons milk
Line two cookie trays with baking paper and preheat the oven to 200C.
The flour goes into a large mixing bowl with the butter. Rub that in with clean fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. This will take no more than a minute or two.
Add the cinnamon and the dried fruit, and combine lightly.
Add the sugar and milk to the beaten eggs and beat with a fork.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and stir with the fork until well mixed. The mixture should be really firm and stiff.
Take two dessertspoons, and scoop a generous spoonful of mixture with one, and slide it onto your lined tray with the other. Continue until all the mixture is used.
Six rock cakes to a standard sized tray is about right. They'll rise and expand, so don't crowd them too close together.
Bake them in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until lightly golden.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before storing in an airtight container.
Low Tea or Afternoon Tea is actually the 'tea' we're more accustomed to seeing as a celebratory tea here.
You'd include soft crustless sandwiches cut into elongated fingers, that are spread with real butter and have fillings like cucumber or thinly sliced radish, smoked salmon with fresh dill and capers, watercress or wild rocket, and cream cheese seasoned with chopped fresh herbs.
Your cakes would be of the more delicate kind like my faux petit fours above, or my pastel iced fudge cake, or even a real Victoria Sponge.
Or you could try this great egg free recipe, which is fab baked as muffins or cupcakes as I've pictured above...
Egg Free Raspberry Iced Tea Muffins
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup strong brewed raspberry herbal tea
1 teaspoon strawberry essence
1 tablespoon white vinegar
6 tablespoons neutral flavoured oil
1 teaspoon Bicarb-Soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 180C. Line muffin pans with papers
Combine the flour, sugar, tea and strawberry essence in a bowl. Add the other ingredients and beat with electric beaters on high until smooth. Note that this is a rather thin batter.
Pour into the prepared pans and bake for 20-30 minutes or until firm to touch in the centre. Remove from the oven and cool before icing with a simple icing sugar icing made by combining sifted icing (confectioners) sugar with some more of the strongly brewed raspberry iced tea.
Decorate with gel icing tubes as desired.
So, who's coming for tea?
Where I party....