Sunday Tea

adelaide cakes

Meal times in our house are rather old-fashioned as we still sit down together to eat food that has been home cooked, sometimes with meat from the farm and fruit and vegetables grown in the garden. I think it’s important to spend time as a family around the table, chattering, laughing and bickering, especially as we no longer have to contend with sudden teenage explosions that end with someone storming off.

My favourite meal of the week is Sunday Tea. A long walk in the afternoon works off some of the traditional Sunday roast dinner, leaving me just hungry enough for bread and cake in the early evening. Most weeks our immediate family gather for Sunday tea but, every now and then, the wider family join up and the table is filled with four generations from Great Granny down to babies. The big teapot is brought out and the table piled with food as siblings and cousins jostle for the best chairs or just one that won’t fall to pieces or wobble alarmingly.

Bill’s family and mine have slightly different Sunday tea. One side of the family sits down at 5pm to eat neat sandwiches (why do sandwiches made by somebody else always taste better than making your own?), a full cheeseboard with crunchy sticks of celery, teabreads and fruit cakes while the other side mill around until everybody arrives and then dive into quiche and salads, pancakes and sponge cakes. I try to steer a middle course taking favourites from both sides, while avoiding the specialities (hence I make scones not pancakes and have yet to make a batch of rock cakes) and introducing a few of my own.

adelaide cakes recipe

Skimming through Gran’s old recipe books I’ve found plenty of new ideas and also discovered the difference between wartime Tray Tea, Trolley Tea and High Tea. One of my current favourites are Adelaide Cakes. As the recipe appears close to Queen Cakes, I presume these cakes are named after Queen Adelaide, wife of William IV who reigned from 1830-1837, though I have no idea.

The recipe, like so many others in Gran’s books, is rather vague so I’m not sure if the way I make them is how the originator of the recipe intended. These are quite plain little cakes, which makes a welcome change from cupcakes topped with a mountain of sickly icing, though a drizzle of glace icing  over the top makes them look a little more exciting.

Do you eat Sunday tea? What’s your speciality?

Adelaide Cakes

Adelaide Cakes

120g plain flour
60g cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
120g soft butter
120g caster sugar
3 eggs
½ lemon – zest and juice
60g glace cherries quartered
30g flaked almonds

12 hole muffin tin lined with paper cases

Sieve together the flour, cornflour and baking powder.

Cream the butter and sugar until pale. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each and then mix in the flour.

Fold in the lemon zest, cherries and almonds and enough lemon juice to make a dropping consistency.

Spoon into the paper cases and bake in roasting oven of AGA with cold shelf above or 180C for 12-15 minutes.

Leave in the tin to cool for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack until cold.

18 thoughts on “Sunday Tea

  1. We occasionally have a Sunday tea, mostly in the winter when the days are short – and there’s not much happening on the gardening or sporting front – and when we have a proper Sunday lunch. We call it a tea-tea (for the northerners among us to differentiate between dinner and tea – oh the endless ‘discussions’ about that one!). It usually consists of savoury crumpets or muffins and cake. Lots of carbs to keep us warm 🙂 Your Sunday teas sound delicious and much more interesting than ours. Thanks for the recipe – these cakes sound delicious.

    1. We have inter-generational discussions about whether the meal in the middle of the day is lunch or dinner. I haven’t had crumpets for ages – must remember them this winter.

  2. Hi Anne. In my mother’s generation Sunday lunch was a roast and Sunday tea was something light, like cheese on toast. That is as close as we ever got. That all gone now.

    1. We still have a roast every Sunday lunchtime, mainly because it’s so easy and also so we have leftovers most of the week, which means less thinking about what to cook. Cheese on toast sounds an excellent Sunday tea.

  3. Being in the US we don’t have Sunday tea but I love the tradition. I’d love to know the differences that you found in the types of teas. In Boston, for years before it was sold, the Ritz used to have high tea and on Sunday’s they would have a special class for little girls (or big girls too I guess) on manners and customs for high tea.

  4. Sunday Tea; the best meal of the week! Totally agree with comments about cup cakes – they don’t compete with a good old fashioned “fairy” cake.

  5. This is lovely Anne. Isn’t it interesting how we basically eat the same things…but at different times and sometimes we call it different things. As a family, we eat much the same as your family, mostly home made/grown/raised and cooked and always at the table unless we are in the paddock. We almost always have a traditional Sunday roast but for our evening meal (which we call tea) Sunday lunch tends to be leftovers or something simple. Your Sunday tea menu sounds delicious and a lot like what I might serve for morning or afternoon tea (which we call smoko) I agree on the sandwiches too..always better made by someone else x

    1. Strange isn’t it, how the meals are so moveable, yet basically the same. We seem to have many names for meals in our house – I always call our evening meal ‘tea’, regardless of whether it’s cooked or not and there’s always confusion about when dinner is. I like the idea of your smoko.

  6. I think I’ve mentioned my childhood love of trolley tea? But I also remember kippers with brown bread and butter for tea which I adored but haven’t eaten for decades. When my parents were first married my dad’s aunt used to post potted shrimps from Morecambe Bay to arrive for Saturday teatime. In those days my parents would go dancing in the evening so I imagine a five o’clock high tea was perfect. In my lifetime I would always cook for the children at lunchtime and they would have high tea at about five but once they were both at school full time we moved to all eating together in the evening. And we always have afternoon tea even if, as today, there is no cake and we have to make do with toast and marmite. Sunday is invariably a roast and usually the only day of the week we eat meat – today it was rack of lamb with wet garlic and asparagus followed by rhubarb and clotted cream. I love reading about what other people eat! One other note, my grandmother grew up on a Shropshire farm and my mother was evacuated to farming relatives in Shropshire during the war which she always said were the best days because the food was so delicious – and plentiful.

    1. Kippers and brown bread takes me back. I haven’t eaten that for ages, but what a perfect tea time treat. Now we don’t have to worry about schoolchildren, we’ve moved our main meal back to lunchtime most days, which feels much healthier than a large meal in the evening. Your Sunday roast sounds delicious.

  7. An interesting post Anne… always lovely to hear about how things are run at Slamsey’s. Will have to give the Adelaide Cakes a try – these kinds of treats are very well received in our house. 🙂

  8. Anne, our Sundays get rearranged every year, so we don’t have Sunday Roast and Sunday Tea. Though I’m in the US, I have food traditions of my English grandmother and mother; but Sundays just don’t work. I keep an afternoon tea tradition and am in fact co-hosting one this week for which I’ve made the clotted cream and lemon curd. And, though I prefer un-iced cakes like your Adelaide cakes, I’m making cupcakes decorated with a load of icing for the tea!

  9. I do not do sunday tea, but it sounds calming and wonderful. I di like the sound of your Adelaide cakes – I like simple little cakes like this too, rather than things with gooey masses of frosting! I believe the cake must stand on its own merits 🙂

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