Impromptu Tea Parties

Monday, April 18, 2016

When I was very little my parents would often read to me from a book of children's poetry. I had most of the poems memorized, and my favorite was the following by Jessica Nelson North:

I had a little tea party 
this afternoon at three.
Twas very small-
three guests in all-
just I, Myself, and Me.
Myself ate up the sandwiches,
while I drank up the tea;
Twas also I who ate the pie
and passed the cakes to Me.

I'm always up for a tea party, and it doesn't take much to inspire me to throw one. What inspired me today was my sister-in-law Laura. 

Yesterday as I helped her clean through her things, she gave me a new cupcake pan and a sweet little mini bundt pan as well! Of course I had to try out the new bundt pan, so this morning I flipped through my cook books to find the perfect recipe.

What I found was a simple sponge cake that I hadn't yet tried out, so apron on and spoon in hand I spent the morning making little bundt cakes!

But of course everyone needs a break (and the sponge cakes needed to cool), so after a morning of getting no attention at all (at least in her mind) Greta was ready for a walk. So off we went!

The weather had been very peculiar and it couldn't make up its mind between rain or sun, but it didn't bother us much.

Greta is now eleven weeks old and she has gotten so big since we first got her! Although my sisters are anxiously awaiting the arrival of a baby in our home (maybe someday...) I think they would agree that Greta is the perfect niece. My own mother calls Greta her grand-puppy!

On the way back up the trail to the Barn, we noticed that the salmon berry bushes were all blooming. Indeed, even the alder, willow, and skunk cabbage were showing off their bright green leaves! Spring has finally come to Juneau!

The salmon berry flowers were so pretty, I decided they would be the perfect garnish for my newly made cakes. And if we were having cakes decorated with flowers, there would have to be a tea party, don't you agree?

With a fresh picked bouquet, it was time to go plan a tea party!


Unfortunately, I didn't have any guests to invite. My mother and sister-in-laws are not eating sugar, and my husband Quinn was sick with a sore throat. And myself being the baker that I am, my husband Quinn usually finds himself having to eat quite a few sweet things (though I don't think he has ever complained), so who I was to call on? Like the poem, I was going to be having a tea party for one.

But! Just as I put the final touches on my tea party cakes, I spied Abigail out the window. 
OH! It wouldn't hurt to ask, right?

Abigail told me that she wasn't eating a lot of sugar, so with a hop-skip-and-a-jump I had two cakes in her hand! One for her, and one for mom with strict instructions to give it to her even if all she did was look at it and admire the flowers. 

Luckily for me, Mom and Abigail were both so happy about the prospect of an impromptu tea party that they invited ME for tea! Although there are merits to having a personal tea party (eating all the cakes is a big plus), drinking tea with friends and dining on one (or two) cakes is always a better choice!

If you care for the recipe, here you are!

Hot Milk Sponge Cake 
From the Better Homes & Gardens Cook Book

2 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter

1.) Allow eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes (or put them in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes or until warm). Meanwhile, grease a 9x9x2-inch square baking pan; set pan aside. Stir together flour and baking powder; set aside.

2.) In a medium mixing bowl beat eggs with an electric mixer on high speed about 4 minutes or until thick. Gradually add sugar, beating on medium speed for 4 to 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the flower mixture; beat on low speed until combined. 

3.) In a small saucepan heat and stir milk and butter until butter melts; add to batter, beating until combined. Pour batter into the prepared pan. 

4.) Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack. 

I then made a powdered sugar icing by mixing powdered sugar and a little bit of milk together. I added pink food coloring to match the pink of the salmon berry flowers and a bit of almond extract just for fun. The perfect little tea cakes, I hope you enjoy!


  1. Oh, Emily. Your tea party cakes are so beautiful! Almost too pretty to eat. You know we will have to try your recipe soon. I am going to see if salmon berry grows here in Texas. The flowers are beautiful and it is a bonus that they are edible. The little poem is sweet. I have heard it many times, but now, I will always think of you and your cakes. Greta is precious. I know she will bring much joy to your life. Have a lovely week.

    1. I must admit Donna, it was a bit hard for me to cut into the cake. I agree with you: almost too pretty to eat! I hope you have a great week as well!

  2. Faith made your cake recipe and it was delicious. She was disappointed with her ganache, but it was delicious. I wanted to buy a mini bundt pan, but she didn't want to wait, so she used the full-sized one and it didn't come out of the pan too easily. I told her it didn't matter. At least she got in the kitchen and tried her hand at this by herself. Baking is sometimes trial and error, but in the end, if it tastes great, then it is okay.:)

    1. I always say, as long as it TASTES good, I succeed! Haha! Tell Faith I am so proud of her for doing it! I saw the picture on Instagram, and it looked very very yummy.


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