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Tea and Cake

Tea and Cake: what’s best with your tea?

Discovering the UK’s Favourite Tea-Time Treats

Tea and cake is irresistible. Up to 84% of the British population drinks tea and herbal infusions every day, amounting to approximately 60.2 billion cups being consumed every year. According to the United Kingdom Tea and Infusions Association, tea consumption forms a vital part of everyday life for most people in the United Kingdom. Although the rise of coffee culture has contributed to the steady decline of tea consumption over the past two decades, tea is still the drink of choice for most Brits.

While a departure from conventional tea may be popular in the UK at the moment, with the sale of traditional tea decreasing by 6% in the past 5 years, sales of less traditional teas such as China oolong, white and flavoured tea have grown steadily since 2012. Drinking tea is often linked to eating, especially the consumption of sweets, cakes, and biscuits and with the array of delicious traditional baked fare available it is no wonder that there is no such a thing as simply drinking a cup of tea in the UK. While many food options pair perfectly well with tea, nothing beats a slice of freshly baked cake being washed down by your preferred brew. Here are a few UK favourites to consider for your next tea break.

Carrot Cake

No season of the much-loved Great British Bake Off is complete without the inclusion of a number of deliciously-delectable carrot cakes. The present-day version of the cake is believed to be a descendant of a 10th-century carrot pudding with the carrots being used as an alternative to sweeteners which were hard to come by in the middle-ages. The cake became increasingly popular during the 2nd World War with the traditional cream cheese icing appearing in the 1960’s.


Scones are traditionally served with strawberry jam and clotted cream and are an absolute must for tea time. The word ‘scone’ dates back to 1513 but it is unclear whether it referred to the tea-time treat we know and love today. It is believed that a scone was originally part of a type of Scottish flat quick-bread known as a bannock. All through history, the scone has been considered one of the most sought-after baked treats of UK origin.

Victoria sponge cake

Also known as a Victoria sandwich this sponge cake is typically filled with raspberry jam and whipped cream and affectionately named after Queen Victoria. It became popular during afternoon tea during the 19th century with the traditional method of making it dating back as far as 1615. It wasn’t until the 1840’s that the Victoria sponge took on its fluffy form with the invention of baking powder. These days the humble sponge is famous for being one of celebrity baker Mary Berry’s favourite recipes.

Eccles Cake

This cake consists of pastry filled with currants and was named after the town of Eccles in Greater Manchester. In 1769 a recipe similar to that of the cake was found in a cookbook in Arley Hall, Cheshire. It was originally referred to as a ‘sweet patty’ and was sold 24 years later in Eccles, a mere 20 miles away from Arley Hall.

Battenberg Cake

The Battenberg is pink and yellow, covered in marzipan and has a chequered pattern. It is believed to have been created for the wedding ceremony of Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria in 1884. It didn’t always boast the 4-section panel it has today: in an early recipe dating back to 1898 it contained 9 pieces. Today the elaborate recipe is still a favourite amongst impassioned bakers.

Pausing for tea and eats during the course of the day is a fashionable event all across the United Kingdom. While the rest of the world embraces tea culture as well to a certain extent there is simply no competing with the love especially the English have for a cup of freshly-steeped tea, especially Tea AND cake!

Post kindly contributed by Jane Sandwood