One of the fondest memories I have of my mom is that she always made such a fuss about anything related to High Tea. For my 6th or 7th birthday, she threw me a “Little Ladies Tea Party”. All the guests were told by fancy invitation to wear their mother’s hats, pearls and high heels. She transformed our living room into a stylish “Conservatory” fit for a Princess, complete with little tables seating 4 girls each. She took out her expensive china left to her by her Grandmother and made us delicious Cucumber & Cream cheese sandwiches, miniature Quiche Lorraine and dainty cupcakes. I was in heaven.
Another one of my fond memories is one that plays off quite a few years later and in much sadder circumstances, but it’s one I’ll never forget. My mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and endure vicious treatment, but when she felt strong enough, she would tell me that I must get dressed nicely because we are going for ‘High Tea’. It was never to a fancy hotel but always to a small restaurant in our local mall. There she would order us each a slice of quiche, a pot of tea and to end it off with, Blueberry Pancakes with Mascarpone. I smile with tears every time I think about her and how she made my life so incredibly special filled with wonderful moments like these. (I have to add here that everything I do on my blog is in honour of her. She would’ve supported me and encouraged me to no end and even though I was always the “funny smart but not book smart” girl in school, she would’ve been so proud that I’m turning into a “food writer” and that I have such promising and exciting prospects in my near future. She was, after all the one that taught me to read and encouraged me to read my holidays away. )
After our ‘High Tea’ we would go shoe shopping, which was actually quite hilarious as both of us wear a size 9 (American size 11) and we would NEVER get shoes that fit us as most South-African stores only carry shoes up to size 8, and the shoes that are size 9 my gran wouldn’t even be caught dead in. (Thank goodness that’s changed and SOME shops now carry up to size 10)
So it’s safe to say that the High Tea tradition is a very special one to me. My favourite High Tea spread, to this day is the one at Sun City at the Palace of the Lost City. The food is impeccable, the tea is delicious and the venue is breath-taking. If you are EVER in South Africa, you have to visit the Palace, it is absolutely marvellous.
But as I live quite a few km’s away from Sun City, I try to bring some of that High Tea glamour into my own kitchen. Of course I don’t prepare the sandwiches, quiches, tarts and cakes that the wonderful chefs at the Palace do, but I try to bake something every week to add some delicious-ness to our home.
This cake is so extremely easy and really takes almost no effort, which is why I feel quite guilty giving you the recipe when I’ve been hammering on about fabulous High Tea’s. But I think it’s the simplicity and the real punch of flavour that gets to me with this one. I have a thing for fresh Lemons, it is the one thing my kitchen is never without and I use it in literally EVERYTHING. Even if it is just one drop of the juice. And using lemons in 3 different ways in this recipe makes this cake what it is. Delicious, moist and something I know my mom would’ve absolutely adored.
Makes 1 standard loaf cake
250g self-raising flour
200g caster sugar
150g softened butter/ margarine
2tsp lemon zest
1tbsn lemon juice
75ml lemon juice
Lemon Glaze :
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
1-2 tbsn lemon juice
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°c and grease a standard loaf tin.
- For the cake, combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix until everything is well combined and the mixture is thick and creamy.
- Transfer the batter to the cake tin and smooth out the top.
- Bake the cake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the tin before removing it and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Meanwhile, make the lemon syrup by bringing the ingredients to the boil in a small saucepan. With a skewer, poke holes into the cake and carefully spoon the hot syrup over the cake, allow to cool down completely.
- Make the lemon glaze by whisking the lemon juice teaspoon by teaspoon into the icing sugar. You want the glaze to be quite thick.
- When the cake has cooled completely, drizzle over the lemon glaze.