If you’re struggling for ideas for a summer party or gathering apart from the obvious barbecue, have you thought about offering afternoon tea? It’s delicious, trendy and really easy as most of it can be made in advance. Afternoon tea also offers great decorating opportunities – you can set a gorgeous scene at the venue without spending too much money.
Using a cake tier to present food
One thing that all afternoon teas have in common is elegant presentation. Sandwiches immediately become more upmarket when cut into fingers and served on a cake stand. Ideally you will make some scones (and serve them with jam and clotted cream) and some delicate little cakes and a good Victoria sponge, and all of these things become more interesting when cleverly and prettily displayed on tiers of glass or white ceramic.
You will need to start with a base of a tablecloth and some real napkins, plus a selection of small plates, cake forks and of course, a teapot and cups and saucers. Bunting, pom poms, balloons and other decorations can be added to your taste. Fresh flowers will look amazing and you should also give some attention to your own appearance – smart and pretty is appropriate rather than all out glamour. It really depends how much you want to set the scene.
Afternoon tea sandwiches aren’t hearty doorstoppers of corned beef and pickle. They are typically dainty with fillings such as cucumber, smoked salmon and cream cheese, egg mayonnaise and cress or prawn mayonnaise. If you are worried about your guests going hungry you could consider also some miniature quiches and Scotch eggs, but really apart from sandwiches an afternoon tea is all about the sweet stuff. Scones with strawberries and cream are non-negotiable and you will need some miniature cakes – Battenburg, Bakewell tarts and miniature Victoria sponges are ideal.
Tea is another essential component but if it’s warm you should probably offer some cold drinks too – homemade lemonade and elderflower cordial would fit the theme perfectly.
Wares of Knutsford’s cake tier range
You can choose from a variety of cake tier at Wares of Knutsford, including wire, glass and ceramic versions. Some are domed to keep the contents fresh and some are two or even three tiered for extra capacity. The ceramic two tier cake stand features dishwasher safe stoneware plates connected by a polished, chrome plated handle. It comes in a gift box and is ideal for presenting small food items of any kind. For a larger cake, create some dramatic effect with a footed stand.