By: Natasha Bougourd on behalf of Cath Kidston
One of our favourite pastimes is enjoying a homemade afternoon tea – and it’s even better taken out in the garden when the sun is shining. A quintessentially British selection of finger sandwiches, cakes, and scones with cream and jam is always delicious. But what if you’re vegan?
The good news is that you can make all of your afternoon tea treats vegan-friendly – so whether you’re living an animal-product-free life, your family or friends are, or you’re vegan curious, there are still plenty of treats to be enjoyed.
Vegan scones, cream, and jam
Scones piled high with jam and clotted cream are undoubtedly a highlight of afternoon tea, but traditional recipes aren’t vegan friendly. The good news is that there are plenty of scrumptious plant-based scone recipes to try.
The key component, the scone, isn’t traditionally vegan. You can easily make scones vegan by swapping out the butter and milk for plant-based versions for a pastry that’s deliciously dense yet just the right amount of crumbly. For the toppings, clotted cream made with coconut cream instead of heavy cream is equally rich and decadent. Use confectioner’s sugar to make sure it’s sweetened to your taste, and you have a dairy-free cream that pairs perfectly with jam and scones.
Most jams are vegan, but if you’re using store-bought jam, be sure to check that it doesn’t contain a binding ingredient like gelatin, which some may.
Vegan mini cakes
For the sweet-toothed among us, a selection of cakes is our idea of heaven. Sponges, cupcakes, muffins, and traybakes are all classic afternoon tea choices, and we can easily turn them into vegan delights.
A light, citrusy lemon cake is the perfect option for a summery outdoor afternoon tea and just requires some basic ingredient swaps. Sub in vegetable oil to replace the eggs and butter, add a sprinkling of baking powder, and use icing sugar and lemon juice to make your tasty frosting – just make sure it’s thick enough to cling to your cake.
For a rich treat, why not add some vegan cherry and almond brownies into the mix? Vegan margarine will keep your treats beautifully gooey, just as any good brownie should be. You’ll also need some ground flaxseed, vegan dark chocolate, flour, ground almond, vegan cocoa powder, baking powder, caster sugar, vanilla extract, and some sumptuous glacé cherries to finish. Check out the exact quantities for your vegan brownies.
Vegan finger sandwiches
Here’s where you can really let your imagination run wild with your vegan afternoon tea.
There are two routes you can go down with your finger sandwiches – the first is swapping in vegan versions of classic fillings. Replace butter with a plant-based version and combine vegan cheese with pickles. Creamy oat spread can replace cream cheese, and you can now even get vegan smoked ‘salmon’!
Alternatively, why not create some of your favourite sandwiches in finger form instead? Red pepper and pesto perfectly embody summer and are reminiscent of warm-weather holidays. Hummus is an easy ingredient to incorporate into dinky sandwiches and pairs perfectly with caramelised onions.
Of course, we can’t forget the key element – the tea. Simply swap in plant-based milk or go without if that’s your preference. Have a selection available – it’s not just a builder’s brew that pairs perfectly with finger sandwiches and cake. Peppermint tea is nice and refreshing in the summer, and an iced tea option will keep your guests cool. Break out all your favourite mugs – in this case, we think the more eclectic the mix, the better.
As strange as it may seem, not everyone is a fan of tea. Make sure you’ve got a variety of soft drink options to keep everyone happy. Some fizzy drinks have non-vegan ingredients lurking in them, including ester gum. Many variations of Coke are vegan, as are Pepsi and Pepsi Max, but Diet Pepsi isn’t.
Put on your best floral tea dress and you’re ready for the perfect vegan afternoon tea!