A compilations of A Return To Loveliness posts from A Delight Life.

A Return to Loveliness No. 23

Christmas Tea

“What is the Christmas spirit?
it is the spirit which brings a smile to
the lips and tenderness to the heart;

it is the spirit  which warms one into
friendship with all the world,
which impels one to hold out the

hand of fellowship to every
man and woman”

“Of all the traditional holiday foods,
Gingerbread is among the most delightful. 

Stories like Hansel & Gretel
and The Gingerbread Man lend a
whimsical touch to the easy-to-make
cookie and ornate gingerbread houses
give it an air of elegance.

Gingerbread has a long history.
Its origin goes all the way back to the
eleventh century, when Crusaders
returning from the Middle East
came back with a new spice called Ginger”.
Emilie Barnes
The Twelve Teas of Christmas

“We have Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, to
thank for the delightful tradition of a proper

afternoon tea—tea served with miniature
sandwiches, small cakes, and other such
delicacies. In her day, the English people

typically at a large breakfast and a late
dinner, without much in between. By the

middle of the afternoon, the Duchess always
experienced a ‘sinking feeling’, which she
staved off by dining on tea, cakes, tarts, and

biscuits at four o’clock in the afternoon. Thus
was born the custom of taking afternoon tea.”
Emilie Barnes
Twelve Teas of Christmas

“If teacups could talk

And teapots could sing,
Especially at Christmas,
They would tell us some things...

Of family and friends,
Carolers and trees,
Sahring the warmth of the season
With twelve special teas.”
Sandy Lynam Clough

Twelve Teas of Christmas - Emilie Barnes

Victoria Magazine 1991, 1993, 1994

Gingerbread Cake Recipe
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup  (1 stick)  butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup molasses
1 egg
1 cup boiling water
Whipped cream, Cool Whip, or Glaze (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease 9 inch square baking pan.
In a medium bowl, Stir together flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda.
In a separate, large bowl, beat softened butter, brown sugar, and molasses.
Mix egg into the wet mixture.
Add the dry mixture, alternating with boiling water, to the wet mixture, stirring until well-blended.
Pour into the greased pan.
Bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees.  or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let sit on wire rack (still in pan) about 10 minutes.
Invert cake onto wire rack and cool completely.
Serve with whipped cream or lemon glaze (both are optional.)

Optional Lemon Glaze:
1 Cup confectioners' sugar
1 to 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (colored part of rind)
Stir together powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth.
Add lemon zest.
Drizzle over cooled cake and let set before serving.

Another Optional Glaze:
6 Tablespoons Butter
1 cup Sugar
3 Tablespoons Flour
1 1/2 Cups Hot Water
3 egg yolks
3 Tablespoons Vanilla
¼ teaspoon Salt
On the stove, mix together the butter, sugar, flour, and hot water until butter is melted and all ingredients are mixed well.
Allow glaze to cool a bit and then add the egg yolks.
Cook until mixture is a semi-thick liquid.
Remove from heat and slowly add the vanilla and salt.
Drizzle over cooled cake and let set before serving.

Note that adding just a touch more butter to the gingerbread cake recipe can actually make the cake softer and richer, though you certainly don’t want to add too much of this ingredient.
Some believe that mixing by hand with a wooden spoon rather than using an electric mixer actually makes the cake “taste” better after cooking.
A gingerbread cake recipe isn’t complete without a topping. It can be as simple as Cool Whip or whipped cream, but for an added touch, try on eof these gingerbread glazes. A gingerbread glaze will make a world of difference in your gingerbread cake recipe.
note: my husband and I agreed - next time we would increase the amount of the spices