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I have a bucket list trip coming up! I have convinced my husband that we absolutely need to do a walking tour of the Cotswolds and visit the Holy Grail. And by that I mean attend a picnic tea at Highclere Castle, otherwise known as Downton Abbey.
Something else on my bucket list is figuring out how to make afternoon tea parties part of my daily life. I am not sure my husband will be into it, but my fancy dog, Showgirl, most certainly would. She’s a very attractive, slightly spoiled, somewhat prissy Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with a penchant for the finer things in life. Showgirl has very high standards. And why not? She’s basically the Dowager Countess of dogs.
While I count down the days for the movie to be released, I’m going to try and re-read the book that inspired the show, practise my British spelling, and peruse through my favorite Dowager Countess quotes. Because really, is there anyone funnier than Maggie Smith?
And here’s why you’re desperately in need of Downton Abbey recipes
Just in case you have been living under a rock, I want to let you know that Downton Abbey THE MOVIE is coming out September 19th. And the King and Queen are coming to Downtown!
Lord, calm my fluttering, Anglophile heart!
Here’s a link to the trailer and all kinds of Downton details.
So when a movie this momentous comes out, it’s only appropriate to gather your friends and plan a proper party. In this case, a tea party. Now, I could have baked up a crumpet or miracle muffin or Knickerbocker Glory or Bannoffee Pie (this last one holds a special place in my heart from my favorite restaurant in Connecticut), but I resisted the urge. I wanted something simple and seasonal that would make Paul Hollywood proud. If you don’t know who he is, you are missing out on one of the wonders of the world. His baking brilliance.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand, I opted for this tea cake that’s roughly inspired by a recipe a friend of mine shared with me a long time ago. It’s not too sweet and truly beautiful. The almond flour gives it a complex flavor that’s so satisfying.
Is it really a recipe from Downton Abbey? Well, no. But it could have been! All I know is this: it’s delicious and pairs well with fancy hats, delicious tea, and British accents. Paul Hollywood would certainly approve. (Whoops – here I am again getting distracted from the important task at hand. Mr. Hollywood has that effect on me.)
Here are a few others recipes I am excited to try when I get back from my trip abroad: High Society Cucumber Sandwiches, Deviled Eggs, Victoria sponge cake, and these homemade sausage rolls from Don’t Go Bacon My Heart.
The King and Queen are apparently coming to Downton Abbey in the movie. I get excited when my girlfriends come over for book club so I can’t begin to imagine the excitement involved when actual royalty come to visit (although I suspect my friends are more fun!).
This recipe is the absolute best for a proper tea party or even to accompany your morning coffee if there are no tea parties in your future. The blueberry, lemon, and almond flavors go together beautifully. I have no doubt it meets the high standards of the Dowager Countess. If I ever meet her, I will certainly ask her.
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅔ cup all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup almond flour (I just ground almonds in my food processor, but my local supermarket sells it as well)
2 cups fresh blueberries, divided
⅔ cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 375
Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and spritz the paper with nonstick cooking spray (or butter).
In your stand mixer bowl, cream the sugar into the butter and add the lemon zest, and vanilla. To get it nice and fluffy, this will take about 4 minutes.
Add one egg at a time, scraping the sides to make sure it’s all incorporated.
In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, almond flour, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the stand mixer and mix on low until just incorporated, with no white specks remaining
Really carefully, fold in one cup of the fresh blueberries.
Pour into the loaf pan.
Bake for 15 minutes, then sprinkle the other half (one cup) of the berries over the top.
Bake for another 20 minutes until the top starts to turn golden brown.
Cover loosely with foil and cook for 30 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted comes out clean. Oven temperatures may vary so make sure to do this test!
Let the cake cool. Make the icing while you wait. Whisk together one tablespoon of lemon juice and powdered sugar until smooth with no lumps.
Once the cake is cooled, drizzle the icing on top.
Let it dry for 30 minutes before serving.
Serve with your favorite afternoon tea!
- Prep Time: 45
- Cook Time: 50
- Category: baked goods
- Method: oven
- Cuisine: high tea
Keywords: Downton Abbey recipe, tea cake, blueberry, lemon, almond flour, summer baking ideas, breakfast ideas, tea party recipe
What Downton Abbey recipe are you eyeing for your next tea party? Please share!