Cream Tea Scones

Ah, the delightful cream tea scone – a classic treat that's synonymous with British tradition. Picture this: a warm, crumbly scone served with a dollop of clotted cream and a generous spread of fruity jam. It's a simple yet indulgent delight that has been gracing afternoon teas for generations. But what exactly makes this humble pastry so special? Join me as we unravel the delicious secrets of the cream tea scone and discover why it holds a cherished place in the hearts of dessert lovers everywhere.

History and Origins

Cream tea scones have a rich and fascinating history that dates back centuries. These delectable treats originated in the United Kingdom, particularly in England and Scotland. They have become an integral part of British culture and are often associated with afternoon tea.

The exact origins of cream tea scones are a subject of debate, but they are believed to have emerged in the 11th century. It is said that the tradition of enjoying scones with clotted cream and jam began in the southwest of England, specifically in Devon and Cornwall.

During the 17th century, tea became increasingly popular in England, and it was around this time that the concept of afternoon tea emerged. Afternoon tea was a social event where people would gather to enjoy a light meal, which included tea, sandwiches, cakes, and, of course, scones.

The cream tea scone's popularity grew throughout the centuries, and it became a staple in tearooms and cafes across the United Kingdom. Today, cream tea scones are enjoyed not only in Britain but also in various parts of the world.

The scone itself is a simple yet delicious baked good. It is a small, round pastry made from flour, sugar, butter, and milk. Scones can be plain or flavored with ingredients like raisins, currants, or cheese. They are traditionally served warm with clotted cream and jam.

Clotted cream is a thick, indulgent cream that is made by heating unpasteurized cow's milk and then allowing it to cool slowly. This process causes the cream to rise to the surface and form a thick layer. Clotted cream has a rich, silky texture and a slightly sweet taste, making it the perfect accompaniment to scones.

When it comes to enjoying cream tea scones, there is a debate on the proper way to eat them. Some people prefer to spread the cream first and then add the jam, while others believe in the reverse order. This disagreement has even led to the famous "Jam or cream first?" debate, which continues to spark lively discussions among scone enthusiasts.

Whether you choose to enjoy cream tea scones in a cozy tearoom or bake them at home, their history and cultural significance add an extra layer of enjoyment to these delightful treats.


When it comes to making delicious cream tea scones, you'll need a handful of simple ingredients that come together to create a mouthwatering treat. Here are the key ingredients you'll need:

  • Flour: A basic staple in baking, flour forms the base of the scone dough. All-purpose flour works perfectly for this recipe.
  • Sugar: Sweeten up your scones with a touch of sugar. It adds a subtle sweetness that balances out the flavors.
  • Baking powder: This magical ingredient helps the scones rise and become light and fluffy. It's the secret to achieving that perfect scone texture.
  • Salt: Just a pinch of salt goes a long way in enhancing the flavors of the scones. It adds a hint of savory goodness.
  • Butter: Butter is the star of the show in cream tea scones. It adds richness and creates those lovely layers in the dough. Make sure it's chilled and cut into small cubes for easy incorporation.
  • Milk: To bring the dough together and add moisture, you'll need some milk. Whether you prefer whole milk, low-fat milk, or even almond milk, just make sure it's cold.
  • Eggs: Eggs help bind the ingredients together and add richness to the scones. They also contribute to the golden color of the baked scones.
  • Clotted cream and jam: Now, this is where the "cream" part of cream tea scones comes in. Clotted cream, a thick and indulgent cream, is traditionally spread on the scones, followed by a dollop of your favorite jam. It's a heavenly combination that brings everything together.

Remember, these are just the basic ingredients for cream tea scones. You can always get creative and add your own twist by incorporating dried fruits, chocolate chips, or even a sprinkle of cinnamon. The possibilities are endless!

Traditional Cream Tea Scone Recipe

Now, let's dive into the traditional cream tea scone recipe. It's a simple yet delightful treat that you can easily make at home.

- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup cold unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
- Clotted cream and strawberry jam to serve

1. Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).
2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together.
3. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and add it to the dry ingredients. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
4. In a separate bowl, mix the milk and vanilla extract together.
5. Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in the milk mixture, and stir until it forms a soft dough. If using raisins, gently fold them into the dough.
6. Lightly flour your work surface and pat the dough into a 3/4-inch thick round. Use a cookie cutter to cut out scones and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
7. Brush the tops of the scones with a little milk.
8. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the scones are golden brown.
9. Once cooled, serve the scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam.

This traditional cream tea scone recipe is perfect for a cozy afternoon tea with friends or family.

Variations and Flavors of Cream Tea Scones

When it comes to cream tea scones, there is no shortage of delicious variations and flavors to tantalize your taste buds. Whether you prefer a classic scone or want to venture into more adventurous territory, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

One popular variation is the fruit scone. Bursting with juicy raisins or sultanas, these scones add a delightful sweetness to every bite. They are perfect for those who crave a touch of fruity goodness in their cream tea experience.

For those who love a bit of indulgence, chocolate chip scones are a must-try. The rich and velvety chocolate chips melt into the warm scone, creating a heavenly combination of flavors. It's like having a mini dessert with your cream tea!

If you're feeling a bit more daring, why not try a savory twist on the classic scone? Cheese scones are a savory delight, packed with sharp cheddar or your favorite cheese. They are perfect when served warm with a dollop of butter, adding a savory element to your cream tea experience.

For those who love to explore flavors from around the world, there are even more exciting options. Matcha scones bring a touch of Japanese elegance with their vibrant green hue and earthy flavor. These scones pair beautifully with a cup of green tea, creating a unique and refreshing cream tea experience.

Lastly, for those with a sweet tooth, there are flavored scones that add an extra punch of deliciousness. From caramel to cinnamon, these scones offer a burst of flavor that will leave you wanting more.

Tips for Making Perfect Cream Tea Scones

  1. Tips for Making Perfect Cream Tea Scones
  2. Use cold ingredients: Make sure your butter, milk, and other ingredients are cold. This helps to create a flaky texture in the scones.
  3. Don't overmix the dough: Mix the dough until it just comes together. Overmixing can result in tough scones.
  4. Use a light touch: When shaping the dough, handle it gently. Press it down with your fingertips instead of using a heavy hand. This will help the scones rise properly.
  5. Chill the dough: After shaping the scones, place them in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. Chilling the dough helps the scones retain their shape and rise evenly.
  6. Preheat the oven: Make sure your oven is preheated to the correct temperature before baking the scones. This ensures even baking and a golden crust.
  7. Brush with egg wash: Before baking, brush the tops of the scones with a beaten egg. This gives them a beautiful golden color.
  8. Serve warm: Cream tea scones are best enjoyed fresh out of the oven. Serve them warm with clotted cream, jam, and a cup of tea for a delightful treat.

Serving and Enjoying Cream Tea Scones

Now that you've made your delicious cream tea scones, it's time to enjoy them! The best way to serve cream tea scones is to split them in half and spread them with clotted cream and jam. You can also add a dollop of whipped cream on top for an extra indulgent treat.

When it comes to enjoying your cream tea scones, I recommend serving them with a piping hot cup of tea. The combination of the warm scones with the creamy toppings and a comforting cup of tea is simply delightful.

To make the experience even more special, consider serving your cream tea scones on a pretty platter or tiered stand for an elegant touch. Whether you're hosting a tea party or simply treating yourself, the presentation can truly elevate the enjoyment of these delicious treats.

Pairing Cream Tea Scones with Different Teas

Now that you've mastered the art of making delicious cream tea scones, it's time to elevate your tea time experience by pairing them with the perfect cup of tea. The right tea can complement the flavors of the scones and enhance your overall enjoyment.

Earl Grey Tea: This classic black tea with a hint of bergamot pairs beautifully with cream tea scones. Its citrusy aroma and bold flavor provide a delightful contrast to the richness of the scones.

English Breakfast Tea: A robust and full-bodied tea like English Breakfast is an excellent choice to enjoy with cream tea scones. Its malty notes and strong character stand up well to the creamy texture of the scones.

Darjeeling Tea: Known as the "Champagne of Teas," Darjeeling tea offers a light and floral profile that complements the delicate flavors of cream tea scones. Its bright and refreshing taste is a perfect match for a relaxing teatime treat.

Green Tea: For a refreshing and health-conscious option, consider pairing cream tea scones with green tea. Its grassy and slightly astringent notes can provide a cleansing effect, balancing out the richness of the scones.

Experiment with different teas to find your perfect pairing and elevate your cream tea scone experience to new heights. Whether you prefer a bold and robust tea or a light and fragrant brew, there's a perfect match waiting to be discovered.

Health Benefits of Cream Tea Scones

While cream tea scones are often perceived as indulgent treats, they can actually offer some surprising health benefits. Here are a few reasons why enjoying a cream tea scone can be good for you:

  1. Energy Boost: Cream tea scones are made with flour, which provides a good source of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy, making cream tea scones a great option for a quick pick-me-up.
  2. Nutritional Value: Cream tea scones contain essential nutrients like calcium, iron, and B vitamins. Calcium is important for maintaining strong bones and teeth, while iron plays a crucial role in carrying oxygen to the body's cells. B vitamins help with energy production and brain function.
  3. Heart Health: Cream tea scones can be part of a heart-healthy diet when enjoyed in moderation. The scones themselves are low in saturated fat, and if served with a small amount of clotted cream and jam, they can provide a satisfying and portion-controlled dessert option.
  4. Mood Booster: Treating yourself to a cream tea scone can have a positive impact on your mood. The combination of carbohydrates and sugar can increase serotonin levels in the brain, which contributes to feelings of happiness and well-being.
  5. Bonding and Relaxation: Cream tea scones are often enjoyed in a social setting, such as during afternoon tea with friends or family. This shared experience can help reduce stress and promote relaxation, which can have a positive effect on overall well-being.

Remember, while cream tea scones can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet, moderation is key. Indulge in these delightful treats occasionally and savor the experience.

Where to Find the Best Cream Tea Scones

If you're craving a delightful cream tea experience, you can find the best cream tea scones in quaint tearooms, cozy cafes, and traditional bakeries across the UK. Look for establishments that pride themselves on using fresh, locally sourced ingredients and traditional baking methods. Local tearooms are a great place to start your search, as they often offer a charming ambiance and homemade scones that are hard to resist. Bakeries known for their artisanal pastries are also worth exploring, as they tend to prioritize quality and authenticity.
Additionally, country fairs or farmers' markets are fantastic spots to discover hidden gems, where you might find unique variations of cream tea scones made by passionate bakers. For a modern twist, some trendy cafes experiment with new flavors and presentations, adding an exciting touch to this beloved British tradition.

Tips for Storing and Reheating Cream Tea Scones

When it comes to enjoying cream tea scones, it's important to know how to store them properly to maintain their freshness. Here are some tips to help you store and reheat your cream tea scones:

  1. Cool completely: Before storing your cream tea scones, make sure they are completely cooled. This will prevent moisture from building up and causing them to become soggy.
  2. Store in an airtight container: Place your cream tea scones in an airtight container or a zip-lock bag. This will help to preserve their moisture and prevent them from drying out.
  3. Freeze for longer storage: If you want to store your cream tea scones for a longer period, you can freeze them. Wrap each scone individually in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer bag. They can be stored in the freezer for up to three months.
  4. Thawing frozen scones: When you're ready to enjoy your frozen cream tea scones, simply remove them from the freezer and let them thaw at room temperature for a few hours. You can also reheat them from frozen in the oven or microwave.
  5. Reheating in the oven: To reheat your cream tea scones in the oven, preheat it to 350°F (175°C). Place the scones on a baking sheet and warm them for about 5-10 minutes. This will help to restore their crispness and warm them up.
  6. Reheating in the microwave: If you prefer a quick and easy reheating method, you can use the microwave. Wrap the scones in a damp paper towel and microwave them on medium power for about 15-30 seconds. Be careful not to overheat them, as they can become tough.

Remember, while reheating can bring back some of the scones' freshness, they are best enjoyed when freshly baked. So, try to consume them within a day or two for the best taste and texture.

Frequently Asked Questions about Cream Tea Scones

As a popular treat enjoyed during afternoon tea or brunch, cream tea scones often raise questions. Here are some frequently asked questions about cream tea scones, along with their answers:

  1. What is a cream tea scone?
    A cream tea scone is a delicious baked pastry, typically round in shape, that is a quintessential part of the British cream tea tradition. It is light, fluffy, and slightly sweet, making it the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea.
  2. What makes cream tea scones different from other scones?
    Cream tea scones differ from other scones in that they are made with cream as a key ingredient. This addition of cream gives them a richer and more tender texture compared to traditional scones.
  3. Can I make cream tea scones without cream?
    While cream is an essential ingredient in cream tea scones, you can substitute it with alternatives like buttermilk or yogurt. However, keep in mind that the texture and taste may differ slightly.
  4. Are cream tea scones only served with tea?
    Cream tea scones are traditionally enjoyed with a cup of tea, but they can also be paired with other beverages like coffee or hot chocolate. Additionally, they can be served with jam, butter, clotted cream, or even fresh fruits for added flavor.
  5. Can I freeze cream tea scones?
    Yes, cream tea scones can be frozen to enjoy at a later time. To freeze them, allow the scones to cool completely, then wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or place them in a freezer bag. When you're ready to enjoy them, simply thaw them at room temperature or warm them up in the oven.
  6. How long do cream tea scones stay fresh?
    Cream tea scones are best enjoyed fresh on the day they are baked. However, if stored properly in an airtight container, they can stay fresh for up to 2-3 days. To retain their freshness, avoid exposing them to moisture.
  7. Can I make cream tea scones gluten-free?
    Yes, it is possible to make gluten-free cream tea scones by using alternative flours like almond flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour. Simply follow a gluten-free scone recipe and substitute the regular flour with the gluten-free option.
  8. Are cream tea scones suitable for vegetarians?
    Yes, cream tea scones are typically suitable for vegetarians as they are made with vegetarian-friendly ingredients like flour, sugar, butter, and cream. However, it's always a good idea to check the specific ingredients used in the recipe to ensure they align with your dietary preferences.

Remember, cream tea scones are a delightful treat that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Whether you're a tea lover or simply have a sweet tooth, these scones are sure to bring joy to any occasion.

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