Afternoon Tea - A Brief History - Part 1

There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.
Henry James

In a couple of weeks, Caked will be launching a brand new afternoon tea service, and in anticipation I’ll be looking into the etiquette, trends and history of this most British of traditions.

We think of tea as the national drink, but in fact before the 1700s coffee was the favoured hot beverage of the English. It was in coffee shops, not tea rooms or pubs, that people would gather.

When tea arrived on these shores it was seen as a rare medicinal drink, until trade with India brought down the price and turned drinking tea into a sign of class and respectability. But the idea of afternoon tea as a meal didn’t begin until the 1800s.

Surprisingly, we have the increased prominence of affordable gaslight to thank for this. As it became cheaper to light homes, the time of dinner moved fashionably later. This was at a time when it was normal to only have two main meals in the day – breakfast and dinner.

Afternoon tea itself is attributed to Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford. It is said that because of this later dinnertime, she would get “a sinking feeling” in the afternoon. And so she requested a tray of tea, bread and butter and cakes delivered to her room at 4 o’clock, to see her through to dinner. After some time, Anna started inviting friends to join her for tea in the drawing room of her home at Woburn Abbey.

Eventually this became a widely adopted social event. Every afternoon, upper-class ladies would change into their finery and attend tea, which consisted of dainty sandwiches and small morsels of cake served with Indian or Ceylon varieties served in bone china cups.

Afternoon-Tea-Table-2

I’ll be continuing this history in my next post, when I’ll be looking at how hotels adopted afternoon tea and turned it into the decadent and elaborate ritual we know today.

And look out for more information coming soon on Caked Teas!

Happy Birthday Caked!

Caked is one year old today!

Caked-One-Year-Old

One year ago today I officially launched my business. I'd been working towards my dream of owning my own cake business for a long long time, but I was finally there. Ready to hit go on the website I'd been working on for two months, and ready to start earning my living doing what I love.

It's been quite a year! There have been surprises, challenges, great times, not so great times, and I definitely spend almost as much time in Excel as I used to working in an office. I've worked with gorgeous couples planning their perfect wedding day, and even more clients to provide cakes for their celebrations and events. I plucked up the courage to exhibit at my very first wedding fair (with the support of my good friend Lisa - thank you!) and can now drive through central London without suffering heart palpitations.

And I've loved every minute. Even the Excel part. And that's because it all contributes to my very own business. I've put my heart and soul into Caked - and into each and every one of my cakes - and will continue to strive to bring the most beautiful and delicious cakes to my lovely customers.

Here's to the next year!

Check out all of my latest wedding cakes here and get in touch here to talk about your upcoming event. I can't wait to hear from you!

 

Treat Your Valentine...

Is it too soon to mention Valentine's Day? If there's cake involved surely that's ok?

To celebrate this years appointed day of love, however you feel about it, snap up a box of these decadent chocolatey treats to get you in the mood for love.

Valentine's Day Chocolate & Raspberry Mini Cakes

Rich chocolate sponge with light raspberry buttercream and a devilishly naughty brownie heart on top. What better way to show your Valentine you care?

Available in boxes of 6 or 12, or as a 6" or 8" layer cake upon request, order by Friday 10th February for delivery on the 14th.  

Click here to order!

Valentine's Day Chocolate & Raspberry Mini Cake