Tea With: Jill Barklem & Brambly Hedge (Plus Recipes)

“I do.”
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. -Proverbs 25:11

Oh dear readers! My husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary this month and, despite Covid, we managed to have a lovely little party! So here is another lovely “Tea With” story. For the recipes for the cookies go to this post. Iced tea and cake frosting recipes are towards the end of the one you are reading now!

Inspiration & Planning

This is the most enjoyable part for me- dreaming up and arting what the day could be like. It’s almost more fun than all the other parts!

Last year I found some of the last Martha by Mail copper cookie cutters I wanted to collect. They were made for weddings, but I knew they would be perfect for our 20th anniversary. I saved them and did not bake with them until then because I wanted them to be special. (I hope to use them to celebrate my children’s weddings one day as well!)

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I started planning the day in my first journal for this year: (yes, the date is a mistake- I fixed it later!)

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Then, a few months later, made a page spread with ideas and how I wanted the theme to feel.

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Then, long before the party, I started to decorate our dining room. We don’t use this room very much, preferring the kitchen, but it is ideal for parties. I wanted to enjoy the room and the decorations longer than just one day, and I had so much fun gathering things and setting everything up! I chose a summery Brambly Hedgy color scheme because I was so enamored with this royal wedding cake last year:

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Why Brambly Hedge? Well, it was experiencing a revival at Target the year we got married (2000) and the Summer book features a lovely wedding! Plus, I already had some Brambly Hedge china pieces so everything just seemed to go together!

Decoration

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Baking

About a week before the event, my daughter and I started baking. I hired her to do the cake and she was so professional! She had several talks with me about what I wanted the cake to be like. She and I did lots of research on icings (we wanted something that wasn’t as rich as regular buttercream) and she worked so hard perfecting everything. Here it is with its crumb coat on a Pioneer Woman cake stand in the fridge.

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By God’s grace we had a very easy time with the cookies and I finally got everything to go right and to taste lovely. It was so nice having my daughter do the cake while I focused on the cookies. This took a lot of stress off of me.

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We put the cookies in treat bags and laid them on the tiered tray stand. They were the party favors as well as rock candy lollipops.

Celebrating

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The cake and flowers were exactly how I wanted them- a smaller, more rustic version of the wedding cake I adored with fresh flowers instead of gum paste. The icing was the best! It was light and not heavy like American buttercream. The lemon couldn’t be tasted but added a freshness and cut the richness of all the sugar. It was a delight! Here is the recipe:

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The Perfect Buttercream

1 Cup butter
1 Cup shortening
2 Pounds powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
2 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
3-5 Tablespoons of milk
Beat butter and shortening until light and creamy. Put the salt in one cup of the sugar, mix this into the butter and shortening on medium speed (you want to avoid air bubbles). Add 1 cup of sugar at a time, mixing on medium, until all sugar is incorporated (it might take a few minutes). Then mix in vanilla, lemon juice, and milk to reach consistency you need. For a crumb coat, add more milk.

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In front of the cake is our anniversary token- a porcelain (it’s out porcelain anniversary) figure set of the Brambly Hedge mice getting married. So sweet.

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Instead of hot tea we had iced tea. My daughter made this as well with a blend of green tea and fruity teas it tasted just like what I thought a Brambly Hedge tea would taste!

Brambly Hedge Iced Tea

Boil a quart of water, pour into a 1 gallon pitcher. Add 3 peach, 3 green, and 3 raspberry tea bags. Let steep 5 minutes, then remove bags. Pour in cold water until pitcher is full. Sweeten to taste with honey. Serve iced.

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We had to have some mice to help!

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Ready to party!

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Here we have eaten half the cake! It was so delicious!

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I had to give my sweet golden some cake. Abbey got her own piece on a china plate!

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Enjoying

The next few days my breakfast tea tray looked like this! I put the cake flowers in water and there were still a few cookies left for munching! Hooray!

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Happy tea parties to you from Kansas Street,

-Jaime

 

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