Salon de thé traditional English cream teas and cake stands
As we approached what we thought would be our last summer salon de thé we wanted to get as close as we could to our original My Fair Lady vision of tables on the village square with individual teapots and cakes on cake stands.
For what we thought would be our Big Finish we’d held back the one English cake that had name brand recognition in the village, that sums up the English tea and cake experience, and strikes such a deep chord in the English consciousness that we argue about how to say its name.
Jacqueline was finally going to bake scones.
First the rubbing in.
Then the rolling out. Note the heavily floured worktop to prevent sticking.
Finally the light, golden finished product.
Between the rubbing and rolling stages, I took the toolkit outside to work on cake stands.
In our original My Fair Lady vision of afternoon tea we saw cakes on proper crockery cake stands.
Our problem as ever was cost. We couldn’t afford anything brand new. We’d trawled the charity shops of Middle England when we’d driven back to England in the spring, but there were no tea-sets to be had, and we didn’t have time to trawl car boot sales too. Back in France we visited the local car boot sales, “vide greniers” – literally “empty attics” – but with one very nice seventies retro exception all we ever saw were overpriced, incomplete coffee services.
Enter the unlikely duo of internet giant Amazon and French cut-price general store Gifi. Someone in the Amazon marketplace sells small bags of cake stand scaffold poles, you just need to provide the plates. Gifi has plates by the shelf. Like well known English furniture chain stores they seem to be in a permanent state of “sale”, but at the start of the summer they had some genuine tableware clearance bargains.
If you knew how much I resent time spent on “bricolage” (French for DIY or home improvement), you’d understand the significance of this moment.
This is what we call an “and five minutes” job. We bought the plates a while ago, and the cake stand scaffold poles were delivered at the beginning of August. It’s therefore taken me something like four weeks, some odd days, “and five minutes” to get the job done.
For a two tier stand I have two plates of similar colour but different sizes.
To my left you can see the the pole already in place in the lower tier I made earlier. The finish on the support ledges at the pole ends is rough. I’ve pressed the edges flat with pliers and used the supplied protective plastic washers above and below.
I apply two layers of crossed marking tape to either side of the centre of each plate. Remember: measure twice and cut once. I measure again and mark the centre on the masking tape on the base of the plate.
Using our 4 mm ceramic tile drill I create a pilot hole in the centre of each. I then use a standard masonry drill to grind the hole wide enough for the threads of the cake stand poles.
I’m pleased with the finished item.
It looks even better dressed with cake.