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A tea party is a tasty way to spend any afternoon. But it tastes even sweeter knowing that while you gorge on tea and biscuits, cakes and coffee, you are raising money in support of a very worthy cause. Marie Curie provides care and support to individuals and families throughout the UK who are dealing with terminal illness and by hosting a Blooming Great Tea Party at home or at work, we can all help to further their great work.

To show our support, you’ll find everything you need for a tea party to remember at your local convenience store. Here are our top tips for collecting some delicious donations over a cuppa.

Bake it, Don't Fake it, with these Easy Cakes to Make

Whatever cakes you contribute can be bought on the day and will raise vital funds. But that warm, fuzzy, fundraising feeling you get inside will feel even better knowing you made your own cake(s) for the party. You could make a large show stopping cake that can be auctioned off if you feel like channelling your inner Mary Berry! But for something a little simpler, why not consider some of these easy cakes to make at home? Share these ideas amongst friends to inspire them and get them involved.

1. Easy Chocolate Cupcakes

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Chunk up 300g of dark chocolate and using a processer, grind it down into small pieces. In a large mixing bowl, add in 200g of sugar, 200g of self-raising flour, 6 tbsp of cocoa, 150ml of sunflower oil, 2 eggs, 1 tsp of vanilla extract, 100ml of soured cream and 100ml of water. Use an electric whisk to mix and once smooth, add in 100g of your ground chocolate. Divide between 10 paper cases and bake for 20 minutes.

Leave your sponges to cool. Meanwhile, make your icing – simply mix the remaining chocolate, 180ml of soured cream and 3 tbsp of sugar in a small saucepan. Heat gently and keep stirring until you have a smooth icing. Chill in the fridge and once firm enough, pipe on top of your muffins. They’ve got to be worth at least £2 each in your charity cake sale…

2. Fruity Traybake

A classic fruitcake will always be a big seller, a delicious accompaniment to a sweet tea or a strong coffee. A traditional fruitcake can be highly time consuming, what with all the proving and the occasional top up of alcohol! For something swifter, easier to share out, yet equally as appealing, try a fruity traybake.  

Heat your oven to 180°C and grease and line a 22cm square baking tin. Add 175ml of vegetable oil and 175g of brown sugar to a large bowl and whisk vigorously until light and fluffy. Beat in 3 large eggs one at a time and then then add a small, ripe banana which has been mashed with a fork. Grate 140g of apple and 100g of carrot. Dice and peel 1 small mango and add this and your grated ingredients to the bowl along with the zest of 1 lemon.

In a separate bowl, combine 250g of self-raising flour, 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda and 1 tsp of mixed spice and then fold in to your previous mixture. Pour the mix into the tin and bake for 40 minutes, cool for 10 minutes then add your icing, made from 225g of icing sugar, 75g of cream cheese and 75g of lemon curd mixed. Spread over the top of the cake and cut into 15 squares – perfect for a busy tea party at work.

3. Easy Victoria Sponge

It’s not a Blooming Great Tea Party without this Blooming great classic. And this version is really easy to make!

Heat your oven to 190°C. You’ll need two 20cm sandwich tins, greased and floured. Put 200g of unsalted butter, 200g of caster sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla extract in a bowl and beat until creamy. Add in 4 medium eggs one-by-one then fold in 200g of self-raising flour and mix. Divide the mixture between your two tins and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven, cool in the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Spread raspberry jam on one and whipped double cream on another before sandwiching together. Share this one around, who minds if there’s a few extra Victoria sponges on display?

Offer these Brilliant Biscuits with Tea

With tea in their name, naturally you should have some rich tea biscuits on hand to sell at your Marie Curie Tea Party. But they’re hardly substantial, and can’t carry much of a price tag - even if it is for charity! So what other biscuits can you have on display?

Earl Grey tastes grey-t with a Ginger Nut!

The citrus hit and lingering warmth on your palate from a ginger biscuit is a fine pairing with Earl Grey – thanks to the scent of bergamot oil and citrus fruit found in the tea. You could offer a special price for purchase of this combination. It tastes so good, no-one should mind a premium price point.

Milk Chocolate is a Dream, with Green!

Chocolate – sweet, creamy and indulgent. Green tea – earthy, fresh and grassy notes. Opposites certainly attract as the tea cleanses the palate, cutting through the taste of sweet chocolate. Be honest, you never thought there was such science in pairing tea and biscuits before…

Custard Creams Combine well with Coffee

Opposites attract again here – sweet creamy biscuits paired with creamy, yet bitter coffee. Robust enough to stand up to a dunking, the heat has a delightful melting effect on the creamy centre. Delicious, and well worth a decent donation!

Blooming Great Tea for a Blooming Great Tea Party

The focal point of any tea party, the key to your tea, is variety. There are plenty to choose from, including Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Peppermint, Camomile, Fruit-infused and Herbal. We’d recommend a maximum of three offerings plus a coffee option – enough choice to get all your friends or colleagues spending, without too much wastage.

As your Blooming Great Tea Party is covered in cake and brimming with biscuits, it’s certainly a sweet affair – so offer some accompanying sweet teas, such as English Breakfast and Earl Grey, plus a contrasting option, such as green tea to serve alongside your chocolate digestives or chocolate fingers.

Cakes, biscuits and drinks sorted – what else?

Here are a few extra things to make sure your Marie Curie Tea Party raises more than just a cup and saucer:

  1. Make it easy to donate – ensure that a donation box is clearly on display – make sure it’s substantial enough to hold all those generous donations. A box with a slot in the top encourages plenty of coins, but maybe go for something with a bigger opening to coax out a few notes, too.
  2. Make a price list. Whether offering biscuits with tea as a combination, or slices of singular cakes with coffee, set some suitable prices for friends or colleagues to stick to, but make it clear that there is no upper limit!
  3. If hosting a tea party at work, throw in a few extra raising reasons – such as a raffle or tombola. Or hold a competition. ‘How many sugar strands are on top of Shelley’s show stopper?’ Closest wins. Remember you have to count them though!

So, set your dates, get your invites sent and get baking, buying and eating, to raise some vital funds for Marie Curie. Find everything you need for a Blooming Great Tea Party at your local convenience store.

For more information and tips on the Blooming Great Tea Party initiative, visit the Marie Curie website.