Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tea Party Tuesday ~ Maids of Honour Cakes

What an amazing time I had with  
Queen Anne Boleyn 
on Saturday for our Mad Tea Party!!! 
If you want to experience that slice of whimsy again and enter the giveaway for the LOVELY tea for one 
then you must click HERE!!!!

Happy Tea Party Tuesday!!!
Oh how I LOVE Tea on Tuesday with my dear friends from blogland!
Today, as promised, I am going to provide some information about Queen Anne's favorite tea time treat....the "Maids of Honour".

As told by Queen Anne herself during tea on SATURDAY
the cakes are not only decadent in taste but also tale.
These words below taken from the cafe in England called "The Original Maids of Honour Company" that actually still holds, under lock and key, the ORIGINAL recipe for these treasured cakes.....

It all started with the dainty Maid of Honour cakes after which we are named. It is believed that Henry VIII, King of England from 1509-1547, came across Anne Boleyn and her Maids of Honour (the young ladies who attended the Queen), eating the cakes from a silver dish. 

Tasting one for himself, the King was so delighted by its ‘melt-in-the-mouth’ sensation that he confiscated the recipe and demanded it be kept secret in a locked iron box at Richmond Palace.

One account goes even further and states that, in order to protect the secret recipe, the unfortunate Maid who invented the cake was imprisoned within the Palace grounds and ordered to produce the delectable tarts solely for King Henry and his royal household!  

We don’t know, but one thing’s for sure – the cakes which are deliciously sweet and yet slightly savoury, light and crisp yet unctuously soft in the middle, required a careful balance of the finest ingredients and the lightest hand to make – and they still do.

The continued popularity of the Maids

The years passed and the Tudor Dynasty gave way to the House of Stuart. Certainly by the early 18th century the recipe had been disclosed to a bakery in Richmond and the tasty little cakes became one of the features of fashionable Richmond through that century and beyond.
The first Original Maids of Honour shop was on the corner of Hill Street in Richmond under the ownership of Mr John Billet and can be traced back to the early 18th century. Here a young lad called Robert Newens served an apprenticeship and went on to open his own premises, first in King Street and later at No 3 George Street, and so the 
tradition of making and selling Maids of Honour in Richmond continued.

A secret passed on

Robert Newens’ family helped build the business and in 1887, his son Alfred Nashbar Newens opened a brand new establishment on the Kew Road – exactly where we are today. Of course, the father passed the now secret family recipe on to his son and the Maids of Honour were served warm and delicious to the people of Kew – 
with a whole range of other baked goods on offer as well.

Alfred Newens died in 1927 leaving his business to be carried on by his son John and daughter Kathleen. But during World War II (1939-1945), the elegant early Victorian building that housed the bakery, shop and dining room suffered severe bomb damage and the future looked bleak.

Beyond the Blitz…

A surveyor’s report from 1947 describes the site of the bakery as “little more than a pile of rubble, the baker’s oven a charred and blackened hulk at its centre”.

But the Dunkirk spirit was alive and well (a phrase used to describe the tendency of the British to pull together and overcome times of adversity) and the Original Maids of Honour had its own “miracle of deliverance” when John Newens’ son Peter left the army and with his family, set work to get the business back on its feet.

The bake house was rebuilt with new gas ovens installed, and the shop front was remodelled. Though the fashionable 1940s building lacked some of the lofty elegance of its Victorian predecessor, the new premises had a welcoming and homely appeal with its distinctive Mock Tudor mix of painted pebbledash, red clay roof tiles, heavy timbering and casement windows – and few would disagree, is a far more fitting home for a cake and an odyssey of Tudor origin!

…and into the Future

Visitors today to the Original Maids of Honour are greeted by this very same shop front, and since the 1940s the business has gone from strength to strength. And though its no longer run by the Newens family, little else has changed. The Maids of Honour are still served warm from our ovens every day and the bakery provides a mouth-watering experience for any visitor in its huge variety of high quality homemade iced and 
plain cakes, meat pies, cream teas and traditional English luncheons.


Knowing it true that I could not rely upon the Newens Family to hand over this treasure, I went upon a fabulous internet journey to find a 
suitable recipe for the Queen
Actually I happened upon SEVERAL versions....
which is why I ended up making two types of "Maids".

The first recipe I tried was this lovely bite.....

It was incredibly easy and may I say TASTY...seriously they were DEVOURED so fast that I had to make a second batch for Queen Anne
Maids of Honour ~ Version 1
1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 c. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. raspberry jam
1/2 c. chopped nuts (I use pecans)

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat until light. Add sifted flour, salt and baking powder. 

Form small balls between hands and put into small cupcake pans. Make a deep hole in center by pushing up around edges. 

Mix jam and nuts together; fill tarts. Cover with small piece of dough. 

Bake at 375 degrees for about 9-12 minutes, until lightly browned. Top with dusting of confectioner's sugar and/or whipped cream when serving. Yields 15-18

Having found a second MUCH different version of the Maids, I realized that I must make both, so off I went again to the kitchen which produced these lovely cakes....

And everything is better with a little powdered sugar....
 Maids of Honour ~~ Version 2 ~

Refrigerated Pie Crust
Raspberry Jam
Chopped Nuts of your choice
Yellow Cake Mix

Roll out pie crust and cut using scalloped cutter to fit into tart or regular cupcake pan. Make sure to grease pan for easy removal. Line pan with cut pie crust.
Mix up cake mix according to box instructions.
In separate bowl, mix together raspberry jam and nuts
Place about 1/2 T of jam/nuts mixture into bottom of crust lined cavities
Pour cake mix over raspberry mixture careful not to fill to high (do not fill above level of pie crust)

Bake at 375 for 12-18 minutes...baking times vary. You are looking for cake to spring back and lightly golden.

All recipes used here at Sweetology can be found 
on my fabulous RECIPES page by clicking HERE....

For a direct link to the printable recipe for BOTH these 
delights go ahead and traipse over HERE.

Don't you just LOVE this black rose teacup?  
So fitting for Queen Anne, in my humble opinion.

I happened on this treasure recently..having visited the antique shop in my town countless times, I often believe that I know where each and every tea cup is perched in this lovely shop...but recently 
this one surprised me as new.

Of COURSE you are coming home with me! I have nothing at all like you with your regal black color and proud red rose. 

Little tea cup so bold, you will be well placed 
in my formal living room with it's 
 bold red walls BLACK accents and Parisian salon motif.

Happy Tea Party Tuesday, dear friends...I can't wait to see what you are bringing to Tea today....remember it does NOT have to be a recipe! 

I am having TEA with these blogs:

Sassy Sites!
Between Naps on the Porch ~ Tablescape Thursday
Add a Pinch ~ Mingle Monday ~ I Made That!
Sumo's Sweet Stuff

The Girl Creative ~ Just Something I Whipped Up
Fireflies and Jelly Beans Blog ~ Show your Stuff!
My Romantic Home ~ Show and Tell Friday
Delicate Construction
Lily Rose Cottage: L.A.C.E
Foodie Friday ~ At Designs by Gollum

Tempt my Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace
Savory Sundays
My Sweet and Savory ~ Let's Do Brunch Wednesdays
Wow us Wednesday!
Made by You Monday ~ Skip to my Lou
Recipes I Can't Wait to Try ~ Wednesday
Sweet Treats Thursday at Something Swanky
Feathered Nest Friday's at French Country Cottage
Let's Do Brunch ~ Wednesdays
Home Sweet Home Friday's at The Charm of Home
Tidy Mom ~ I'm Lovin It!
Tablescape Thursday 
Muffin and Cupcake Monday 
Now it is YOUR turn....


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipes, Trisha - and the history lesson! Two favorite things in one post - and the most unusual teacup ever! Love that black and red one. Poor Anne - yes, very appropriate.
I want to try adjusting the recipes for gluten free eating. I'm supposed to be off the stuff but I LOVE pastries and cake! I mill my own gluten free oats into a fine flour and add a touch of spelt. We'll see how this turns out - I'll let you know!
Miss Kathy

Lisa @ Flour Me With Love said...

Lovely story and pictures too! Tea Time is one of my favorite times of the week. Thanks so much for hosting :)

Barbara F. said...

I am flipping out with these cakes, Trish! I am planning a tea luncheon in August and BOTH of these will be on the menu. I adore that tea cup. I hope to be able to join this lovely meme in the next couple of weeks. xo,

bj said...

Delicious little cakes, I'm sure.
xo bj

Joy @ Joy Of Desserts said...

Absolutely wonderful, Trisha. I love history, tea, and all the beauty and gourmet sweetness you are sharing here. Thank you for participating at Joy of Desserts and for hosting this lovely tea party. I brought my vintage rhubarb sherbet recipe. :-)

Wanda Lee said...

Dear Trish,

What a lovely tea post! History, beauty and very pretty yummy treats await us each week!

Thanks for joining me for last week's TTTT and also for my 88th,'Tuesday Tea For Two' also!~(I was so late this week that tomorrow's tea is just around the corner)!..,

Oh my!..,Things are sooo busy!

Your last week's tea post was simply lovely and so very heartwarming with your dear mama's B-day! Happy belated birthday to her!

Thanks so much for your kind words of encouragement as well!

Cheers and hugs from Wanda Lee

Lynn said...

I love the look of the first version, they sound great:@)

MsFoxsSweets said...

To be imprisoned for creating the best cake...would just kinda make you not want to make the best one. I do like the version 2 of the little cakes, the little flower shape around them is delightful. I have some strawberry jam not being used, this may just be a good use for it! I have linked up my Pina Colada Cupcakes. The coconut makes them a little messy so maybe not fit for a queen. I think I would be safe from imprisonment :)

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

When I think of Henry the VIII I don't think too kindly! Those poor maids! That nasty many stole their sweet treats, and heads!!!! But in a very "twist of fate" way he may have also also saved this delightful recipe! I was so infatuated by the history of the Maids~ and the way they seemed to be destined to survive.
Thanks so much for joining me for ON THE MENU MONDAY! YOu have added a very inspriring post~ and I appreciate your dear support! I have a sweet idea for TEA PARTY TUESDAY next week! I hope to join in!

Wendy Aspinall said...

Okay from what i remember of eating said Maid of honor from that shop in Kew, Richmond. I second seems to look like them.. but I think the top one will teste like them I will try both and let you know .. thank you for the recipe.....they really are the best tasting treats I even had and even after all these years I can remember them.....Thank you sharing

Anonymous said...

Happy to stumbled upon your lovely blog as I am new to blogland! Love the treats and those tea cups are swoony!


Paula said...

thank you for an awesome history lesson and I look forward to trying the recipe. I'm always blown away by you. Thanks for sharing Trisha!


Oh, I just dropped by from Ivonne's, OTMM and saw this beautiful post! Thank you for the great lesson and for the wonderful recipes I see...I may make some for an upcoming B. Shower I'll be hosting. Love the Eng. cups, so beautiful! Wish I could go and have tea with you, in style! Hugs, FABBY

Miz Helen said...

I would love to come to tea with you. Your recipes are very special. Thank you for sharing and have a wonderful day!

Angela McRae said...

Thanks for all the great info! Both versions look absolutely delicious!

Mary said...

Love the history behind these sweet cakes! Your second version with the scallops look like little crowns! Love your new teacup :-)

Unknown said...

I just love ya! I wanted to remind you of that BIG fact! :)

I linked up my Better than Starbucks Blueberry Scones.

Bernideen said...

I have an entire Maids of Honor Folder with many recipes but love the one in The Great Tea Room of Britain. Yours look very lovely here!

Poppy @ With a Dash of Color said...

I feel so honored that you came and graced my tea table, m'lady...thank you so much for inviting me and for your endearing comments. I loved those mouth-watering Maids of Honour and learning about the minstrel's tale... the poor maid! Thanks for sharing the recipe and I'm happily following you and feel honored to be part of Tea Party Tuesday. Good Day to you, m'lady!~Poppy said...

Beautiful!!!! I loved reading the history behind those lovely little cakes. I must make them, and finding a teacup with cute little feet is now on my wish list too! :0)

Martha said...

Delightful little cakes! Melt in you mouth goodies!

Betty said...

What a wonderful and very interesting post. The recipes look so good and Thanks for sharing.

Jacqueline~Cabin and Cottage said...

I'm in serious trouble every time I stop over here. All I can think about is the next goodie I'm going to eat! But it's so much fun!

Tea & Chocolate Guy said...

Wonderful follow up post to Saturdays Mad Tea Party post!!! Thanks for sharing these fabulous recipes!! I'm also participating in your tea party ... thank you for hosting such a wonderful gathering!!! xo HHL

❀~Myrna~❀ said...

I love your Party!
Happy UnBirthday to you !

♥ Miss Tea said...

what a great story! not that i approve of what the king did to imprison the maid but gosh those maid in honor cakes look sooo yummy and you always did a great job in making them and arrange them in such a beautiful setting! i also love the cupcake with teapot on it (im sure i said it before hehe) i'm glad that the recipe survived even thru the blitz so we can all enjoy it and make them ourselves, thanks for sharing the recipe and I absolutely adore you teacup, love the foot and the gorgeous desing on it! xx Susan

Unknown said...

Fab TC&S and I love your living room *swoon*

love Dawn xx

Concetta said...

Dear Trisha,
I just love your posts and having tea with you on Tuesdays! Your dessert recipe is making my mouth water - I will be making these soon1
Thank you for hosting and sharing!

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Dear Trisha,
I am smitten with your post! I have always wanted to try Maid of Honour tarts and now I can because you were so kind to share the recipe; thank you! What a fun post and I am always happy to have you join me for tea, my friend. What a talented lady you are to produce those darling cupcakes for the Anne Boleyn tea! I love your black teacup adorned with the red rose! It is exquisite. Thank you for sharing another lovely tea and joining me for Tea Time. Wishing you a delightful day.


Kathy said...

That's an absolutely fantastic story - I am so glad the recipe was not locked away and that this family's tradition is still going - I think I'd like to make these this weekend - see what review my family gives! Thanks for sharing this with A Return to Loveliness,
God Bless,

Two Minute Takes said...

A delightful history lesson served with two version of tarts! What could be better. Both of your tarts look lovely by the way. I like your newest teacup, I think the tiny legs are my favourite part of it.

Notes from the Homestead said...

What a fabulous tale of legend and whimsy! I just love that era and so enjoyed reading your post! I am so looking forward to trying your recipes! AND...I must say your tea cup is perfect in your lovely red parlour!!!
Big H*U*G*S !!!!

Rachel @ Little Kitchen, Big Bites said...

what a lovely recipe! i have a friend's bridal shower coming up soon and will definitely have to try these then...and i love the back story too!

Terri said...

What a dramatic beautiful cup! I love the black background, the beautiful rose and the gold design! Lucky you found it.

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

Oh my, Trisha, I wish I had made your cakes for my Royal Wedding Party!! They look gorgeous & sound delicious. I'll need to make them soon...but which recipe to try??? Hmm-m-m, maybe both!!

Suz said...

What a great lesson in history and baking. Both of the recipes look sooo good. I love the black china piece...quite dramatic in your living room. I enjoyed this a lot. This is my first day participating and it was really enjoyable!!!

Hope you will stop by to see my first teacup!


April @ The 21st Century Housewife said...

I really enjoyed this post, and what lovely teacups! Both your recipes sound delicious, and I look forward to trying them for myself. It turns out that the shop that makes the original Maids of Honour that you wrote about is only about an hour or so drive from my home in Berkshire, so I will definitely have to visit it next time I am in the Kew/Richmond area. I'm so glad you brought it to my attention! Thank you for sharing this post with Let's Do Brunch :)

Kathryn said...

Great post! Very informative and I can't wait to make these fabulous maid of honour cakes! Thanks so much for sharing your recipe at Muffin and Cupcake Monday! Have a great week and hope to see you again soon!

Kitchen Benchtops said...

this is one of those interesting recipes I’ve been looking forward to a bridal treat I’ve never heard of before.

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