This gluten free chocolate chip cinnamon tea cake is my solution to the cake conundrum that always accompanied my teatime in Oxford, after my wheat allergy was diagnosed. Scones are one thing. I like scones, but I can certainly live without them, and if I want to make some, there are plenty of gluten-free scone recipes. What I really missed out on was the tea cake. You see, there were always little cakes served at teatime, ranging from custard and fruit tarts to Victoria sponge. And, most of all, the classic British tea cake, which is sort of like a sweet roll, but lighter and doughier all at once, and studded with currants or nuts. This was the cake I wanted, because it wasn’t dessert like the others. It was supremely meant for tea, hearty enough to tide you over until dinner or to toast up for breakfast the next morning.
As an undergraduate in England, I didn’t affect an accent or give up celebrating Thanksgiving or the Fourth of July – my favorite holidays happen to be the most patriotic ones! But I did acquire the quintessentially British tea habit. I didn’t stop for “elevenses” tea and biscuits, but every day around five o’ clock my friends would gather together to shoot the breeze over a cup of tea. Even now, I find myself offering to put the kettle on whenever a soothing beverage is called for, if a friend is in distress or if it’s simply ghastly weather!
An Alice’s Teapot
I often go to meet friends for tea instead of grabbing a cup of coffee – it just feels so much more relaxing! I frequent a few neighborhood haunts. My go-to is Alice’s Tea Cup, whimsical and with a vast selection of teas, from the traditional to the exotic! My favorites are the rooibos teas – especially the red vanilla.
A wonderful birthday gift from a dear friend
For a more casual stop-by, Chatime has great iced teas (and bubble tea if you’re into that sort of thing!) and of course, Teavana and David’s Tea. In fact, my friends know me so well that they stopped by the latter to pick up a birthday gift over the summer…my very own kettle with birthday balloons!
Of course, one of my best friends also picked up a few teacup shot glasses…23 should be dignified, after all!
For more tips on tea in NYC, feel free to post in the comments! And special thanks to Emmeline Plews for beginning my teatime tradition five years ago.
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