In celebration of the opening of the opening of The Woodland Walk, one of the final phases of the garden restoration at Strawberry Hill House, local caterer, Fruits of the Fridge, baked a delicious 18th Century Tea for Alan Titmarsh, Britain’s best-loved gardener, and other distinguished guests, to accompany a fine blend of tea supplied by Fortnum and Mason.

The original gardens at Strawberry Hill were created between 1747-1797 by Horace Walpole as a setting for his gothic villa. The restoration of the gardens included planting over 200 new trees, shrubs, plants and bulbs, and reinstating several key features, such as Walpole’s Shrubbery – a rare example of a ‘theatrical border’.

Sandwiches were made popular in around 1762 and the recipes selected by Fruits of the Fridge are from around the same period:

English Rosewater and Raspberry Cake

For the cake:

  • 350g butter (softened)
  • 500g golden caster sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 200g full-fat natural yogurt
  • 500g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp rosewater

For the raspberry cream:

  • 300ml double cream
  • 1tsp rosewater
  • 8tbsp raspberry jam
  • 300g raspberries

Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Grease and line the base and sides of 3 x 20cm round loose-bottomed cake tins with baking parchment. Tip all the ingredients for the cake into a large bowl and beat with an electric whisk until well combined. Divide the mixture between the 3 cake tins and smooth the tops. Bake for 45 mins, swapping the tins halfway through so they cook evenly. Leave to cool for 10 mins in the tins, then remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Whisk the cream to soft peaks, adding the rosewater as you go, then fold in the jam and about half of the raspberries, slightly crushed.

To assemble, place one cake on a plate or cake stand, and top with half the cream and half of the remaining raspberries. Sandwich another cake on top and add the remaining cream and raspberries, then the last cake. Sprinkle the top of the cake with icing sugar.

Plum Cake

18th Century Plum Cake

  • 680g butter (softened)
  • 480g sugar
  • 7 eggs
  • 7 egg yolks
  • 680g flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 6g ground mace
  • 6g grated nutmeg
  • 180ml brandy
  • 225 g currants
  • 225g raisins
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 180g candied peel
  • 28ml orange blossom water


Preheat oven to 180c, grease and line a 23cm round, loose bottomed cake tin. Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and yolks well. Mix the beaten eggs into the butter and sugar. Add the flour and spices. Mix in the brandy, fruit, zest, peel and orange blossom water. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 45 mins.


Ratafia biscuits (makes approx 24)

  • 125g ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 125g sugar
  • 2egg whites
  • 8 drops vanilla essence
  • flaked almonds (optional)


Preheat oven to 170°C Line a baking tray with baking paper. Gradually mix together all of the ingredients beating until it becomes a thick paste. Using a teaspoon dipped in ice water, drop little mounds of the mixture on the baking paper. Sprinkle with flaked almonds if desired. They will spread while baking, so place them about 5cm apart. Bake 20-22 minutes, or until puffy and delicately browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few seconds before removing the biscuits from the baking paper and onto a wire rack to cool fully.

Caraway Biscuits (makes 15 – 20 biscuits)

  • 700g plain flour
  • 5 tsp lemon zest
  • 300g cater sugar
  • 5 tsp baking powder
  • 310g butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp caraway seeds


Preheat oven to 190C. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and baking powder. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In another bowl, beat the eggs, milk, seeds and lemon zest until blended well. Add to the dry ingredients and blend until smooth.  If the dough seems a bit stiff, add extra milk one tablespoon at a time. On a floured surface, roll dough out to 5mm thick and cut using a 5cm round biscuit cutter. Place biscuits 5cm apart on a greased baking tray. Bake for 7-10 mins until edges are lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.


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