Aprons at the ready… it’s time for for tea, cake and a recipe

17 Feb

Introducing Sybil Worsley-Cundall from Once Upon a Teacup

Vintage inspired tea parties are a hot trend for 2012. And with tea, comes cake! And lots of it. So The Sweet Pantry caught up with Manchester’s Once Upon a Teacup to find out why vintage tea parties are so popular, and owner Sybil Worsley-Cundall treats us to her favourite cake recipe.

What does Once Upon a Teacup offer?
We specialise in providing private Vintage Tea Parties across Manchester, Lancashire and Cheshire. Our aim is to make your vintage tea party a day to remember, and we achieve this with our attention to detail. From our home baked goods, right through to personally dressing each and every table. We also offer our new ‘Tipsy’ Tea Menu which includes teapots filled with Cocktails or Bubbly great for hen parties or special birthdays.

Why did you start the business?
I started Once Upon a Teacup in August 2011 because my first love is baking and any excuse is a good excuse to bake, especially if other people are enjoying it, closely followed by my second love which is collecting vintage china, lace and linen and I needed an excuse to buy more and this was it!

Why do you think vintage crockery and tea parties are so popular?
People love to be taken back in time. It appeals to 20 year olds who remember their grandmother’s china, and the grandmothers remember using it the first time around. And ultimately tea and cake is just so quintessentially British.

Time for tea... cake lovers can now enjoy afternoon tea in their own home thanks to a growing trend in tea parties

Time for tea... cake lovers can now enjoy afternoon tea in their own home thanks to a growing trend in tea parties

So you bake all your own products… tell us about your favourite?
Yes everything is home baked – and my all-time favourite is my Vanilla and Lemon Sponge with Strawberry Jam and Fresh Cream

Sounds amazing – please can we have the recipe?
Yes of course. And don’t forget my top tip for baking this recipe is to always sieve your flour and fold carefully into the sponge mixture – never whisk it in, and invest in a good jam. (And if your making pastries I recommend cold hands and a warm heart!)

Recipe: Lemon & Vanilla Victoria Sandwich filled with Strawberry Jam & Fresh Cream


  • 250grams self-raising flour
  • 250grams soft butter
  • 250grams caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Strawberry jam
  • Whipping cream (whisk to stiff)
  • Icing sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4
  2. Beat the eggs together and keep separate
  3. Line two 6in-7in/15cm-17.5cm cake tins with greaseproof paper
  4. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until it is soft in texture, using an electric whisk or a wooden spoon
  5. Add the beaten eggs a little at a time and whisk
  6. Add the lemon zest/juice and vanilla extract
  7. Sieve the flour into the mixture folding it in, adding a little at a time
  8. Pour the mixture equally between the two cake tins and level the tops
  9. Make a slight dip in the centre
  10. Place in the oven and bake for about 18-20 minutes until golden brown
  11. Remove from the oven and put them on a wire rack to cool
  12. When cool, spread the sponge with a thick layer of jam and the whipped cream, then carefully sandwich together.
  13. Dust with icing sugar, serve and enjoy!

    Sybil's delicious Lemon and Vanilla Victoria Sponge

    Sybil's delicious Lemon and Vanilla Victoria Sponge

To contact Sybil please log on to: http://www.onceuponateacup.org.uk, email: onceuponateacup@hotmail.co.uk or phone 0161 743 1296/ 07957 930011

Did you try this at home? Send your pictures to amy@thesweetpantry.co.uk, or send us your favourite recipes and you could feature on this blog.  

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