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Vernalisa's Afternoon Tea Party

Afternoon tea was invented by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford (1783-1857), one of Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting.  In her day, the upper crust ate a huge breakfast, little lunch, and a very late dinner.  Every afternoon, the duchess experienced a "sinking feeling."  One afternoon she instructed her servants to serve tea and little cakes in her boudoir.  The experience was so delightful that Anna repeated it every afternoon thereafter.

    Soon others followed the Duchess' lead, and in just a few decades the custom of "taking tea" in the afternoon had become well established. At first the practice was limited to the upper classes, but it eventually became so popular that tea shops and tea-rooms began opening for the enjoyment of the general public.

America's Part in the History of Tea

The United States can claim two distinct contributions when it comes to tea, both dating from the early twentieth century.

    In 1904, visitors to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis sweltered in a heat wave and shunned the hot brew offered by Indian tea growers. An Englishman named Richard Blechynden, who represented the tea growers, tried pouring tea over ice in order to entice fair visitors. The result was iced tea, which now accounts for 80 percent of the tea drunk in the United States.

    The teabag began as the brainstorm of a New York tea merchant named Thomas Sullivan in 1908.   He decided to provide samples to his customers in small silk pouches.  Sullivan's customers soon discovered that the pouches could be put directly (and conveniently) in teapots, and soon orders were pouring in for tea packaged in "those little bags".  Before long, teabags had become a widely accepted means of packaging tea.

 Tea Rooms, Tea Courts, and Tea Dances

Beginning in the late 1880's in both America and England, fine hotels began to offer tea service in tea rooms and tea courts. Served in the late afternoon, Victorian ladies (and their gentlemen friends) could meet for tea and conversation. Many of these tea services became the hallmark of the elegance of the hotel, such as the tea services at the Ritz (Boston) and the Plaza (New York).

By 1910 hotels began to host afternoon tea dances as dance craze after dance craze swept the United States and England. Often considered wasteful by older people they provided a place for the new "working girl" to meet men in a city, far from home and family. (Indeed, the editor of Vogue once fired a large number of female secretarial workers for "wasting their time at tea dances").

Afternoon Tea is served at approximately four o'clock and can consist of whatever the hostess chooses (sandwiches, scones, cookies, a special dessert such as a fruit tart or a rich cake). It can be formally served in the dining room or at the living room tea table. Informal teas can be enjoyed in the kitchen, garden, as a picnic, or any location of choice.

Farmer's Tea is a combination of a Ploughman's Lunch (heavy grained bread, sharp cheese, fruit, and sausages or a meat pie), popular in British pubs, served with a sweet.

Full Tea is a complete four-course Afternoon Tea with sandwiches, scones, sweets, and a dessert finale.

Royal Tea adds a glass of champagne or sherry to the Full Tea.

Light Tea is a lighter version of Afternoon Tea with a scone and a sweet.

Cream Tea is an afternoon tea that features scones and clotted cream (for the scones, not the tea!).

High Tea is most often served as a Full Tea, only more of the same. It is enjoyed at approximately six o'clock and is a light supper for the family or a before-theater meal. An entree such as chicken a la king or meat pie may be served with breads, biscuits, salad, cheese, fruit, and sweets. Everyone sits down at the table.

Scones are light, tender biscuits served hot from the oven with jam and butter or clotted cream.

Lemon curd is a thick sauce about the consistency of pudding used like jam on the crumpets and scones, and also as a filling for tarts.Clotted cream, also called Devonshire cream, is made in Devonshire, England, by separating the cream from the unhomogenized milk and scalded until it is extra thick. True Devonshire cream cannot be found in the United States, but can be substituted with unsweetened whipping cream. Crumpets are like griddle cakes that develop surface holes as they cook. Americans substitute English muffins.

Planning An Anne Tea Party

Tea always tastes best when it's shared. Why not invite a few of your friends over for a tea party, serving some of the treats from the Anne books? Getting ready for the party is almost as much fun as the party itself, for you'll have a wonderful excuse to prepare a beautiful table setting, serve an array of delicious tidbits, perhaps dress up a little, and have a "perfectly scrumptious time", as Anne might say.Anne first entertained for tea in her first year at Green Gables. Marilla was to be out but gave Anne permission to invite Diana over for the afternoon. Marilla didn't allow Anne to go as far as to use the rosebud spray tea set, which was reserved for the most honored of guests, but she did offer to let Anne serve cherry preserves, fruit cake, cookies, and snaps ~ and raspberry cordial. More important to Anne than the menu, however, was creating just the right atmosphere for such a grown-up activity as having a friend for tea.

"I can just imagine myself sitting down at the head of the table and pouring out the tea", said Anne ecstatically. "And asking Diana if she takes sugar! I know she doesn't but of course I'll ask her just as if I didn't know. And then pressing her to take another piece of fruitcake and another helping of preserves. Oh, Marilla, it's a wonderful sensation just to think of it."Anne of Green Gables, XVI

Though the afternoon ended in an unorthodox way, Anne and Diana observed the most important elements of proper tea-time behavior ~ special attention to one's grooming and clothes, polite but sincere conversation, exquisite manners, an attractive table setting, and an appealing variety of foods offered with the tea itself.If you decide to plan a tea party, you have come to right place! The following tea-time treats are mentioned in the Anne books, and you might want to try some of them for your own tea party.

Tea Time

"Tea first...what do you want for tea? We'll have whatever you like. Do think of something nice and indigestible."Anne of Avonlea, XXIII

The custom of serving tea was brought to Canada by the many immigrants from Great Britain, where the tea-time ritual began and was refined and, thankfully, continues to this day. In the Anne books, tea was any meal eaten after mid-afternoon, whether it was a snack, light supper, or substantial dinner. When it was a formal occasion, Anne and her friends treated tea with great seriousness.

Brewing the Perfect Pot of Tea

Learning to prepare tea properly is one of the first steps in bringing Anne's world into your own.First, there are three main types of tea - black, oolong (semi-black), and green. Black tea is fermented before it's dried; green tea is steamed but not fermented before it's dried; and oolong is fermented only briefly before it's dried. Anne and her friends drank black tea (such as today's' English Breakfast or Irish Breakfast), which was the most common tea in the Canadian Maritimes. It is served at any time of day, while the more exotic oolong and green teas are reserved for the afternoon or evening.Tea is a delicate beverage, and to coax the subtleties of taste and aroma from the leaves, you must observe a few simple but basic rules.First ~ run enough fresh, cold water into a tea kettle to fill the teapot, plus an extra cup or two. Bring it just to a rolling boil.Second ~ While the water is heating, fill the teapot with hot water; this will enable the pot to keep the tea hot much longer. Just before the boiling water is ready, pour the hot water out of the teapot.Third ~ To the pot, add 1 teaspoon tea leaves for each tea cup - 3/4 cup - of water. The average teapot will hold four to six tea cupfuls, so you will need 4 to 6 teaspoons of tea.Fourth ~ Pour boiling water over the tea leaves in the pot, stir gently, and place the lid on the pot. Allow the tea to "steep" or stand for 3 to 5 mintues, stir again and serve immediately, pouring the tea through a strainer into the tea cups. The strainer will keep the loose tea leaves out of the tea cups (some people like to strain the brewed tea into another heated teapot before serving so there will be no loose tea leaves to deal with and the tea will not get any stronger. But you can simply have more hot water on hand; if you want to heat up or dilute the tea a bit, add a little hot water to the tea in the cup.)Fifth ~ Serve the tea with sugar and thinly sliced lemon or milk.Since the teabag was not invented until 1896, it is highly unlikely that Anne used it. While the teabag is a convenient method of brewing tea, the tea leaves do not open enough to brew properly when they are confined to such cramped quarters, and the material of the teabag itself can impart its own flavor to the tea.There are other beverages mentioned in the Anne books ~ Marilla's raspberry cordial (made from fresh raspberries, sugar, vinegar, and water), homemade current wine, ginger tea, Anne's Golden Picnic Lemonade, Miss Minerva Tomgallon's cocoa, and even coffee, which was considered exotic enough then to be included in the luncheon menu for Mrs. Charlotte Morgan ~ but the beverage most often served was tea.

Cowcumber Boats

"You must be real tired and hungry. I'll do the best I can for you in the way of tea but I warn you not to expect anything but bread and butter and some cowcumbers."Anne of Avonlea, XVIIIIngredients:

1/3 cup elbow macaroni

1 7-ounce can tuna

1 medium carrot

1 medium celery stalk

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

pinch of pepper

3 medium cucumbers

Put about 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the macaroni gradually and boil until tender ~ about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the macaroni and put it in a medium mixing bowl.Drain the tuna and add it to the macaroni.Peel the carrot and grate it into the bowl. Chop the celery into tiny pieces and add it into the bowl.Add the mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and stir with fork.Peel the cucumber and cut off the ends. Cut each cucumber in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds and any watery flesh.Fill each cucumber boat with tuna mixture.

Makes 6 Cowcumber Boats

Poetical Egg Salad Sandwiches

The girls sat down by the roots and did full justice to Anne's dainties, even the unpoetical sandwiches being greatly appreciated by hearty, unspoiled appetites sharpened by all the fresh air and exercise they had enjoyed.Anne of Avonlea, XIIIIngredients:

4 hardboiled eggs

1 celery stalk - chopped

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon salt

pinch of pepper

1/4 cup softened butter

2 tablespoons dried mint or dried parsley

8 slices of fresh bread

With a fork, mash the eggs in a small mixing bowl together with the celery. Stir in the mayonnaise, salt, and pepper and set in the refrigerator. Mix the softened butter with the dried mint or dried parsley in a small bowl. Set aside.Cut each slice of bread with a large cookie cutter. Save the bread scraps for the birds!Butter one side of the bread shapes with the minted butter. On half the bread shapes, spread the egg mixture. Place the other half of the bread shapes on top.

Makes 4 Poetical sandwiches

Old-Fashioned Lemonade

Anne had brought glasses and lemonade for her guests, but for her own part drank cold brook water from a cup fashioned out of birch bark...Anne thought it more appropriate to the occasion than lemonade.Anne of Avonlea, XIIIIngredients:

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups water

finely grated peel of 1 lemon

1 1/2 cups lemon juice

ice cubes

lemon slices

fresh mint leaves (optional)

Measure sugar, water, and finely grated lemon peel into a saucepan. While stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil for 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the stove and let the mixture cool.Squeeze 1 1/2 cups lemon juice and add it to the cooled sugar and water mixture. Pour the lemonade syrup into a jar and cover tightly. The syrup can be kept in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 weeks.When you're ready to serve the lemonade, put ice cubes in glasses. Pour 1/4 cup of lemonade syrup over the ice cubes, add 3/4 cup of cold water, and stir.Float a thin slice of lemon and, if you like, a fresh mint leaf on top of each glass.For pink lemonade, add 1/2 cup grenadine syrup to the jar and shake.The recipe makes enough syrup for 14 glasses of lemonade.

Afternoon Ruby Tea Biscuits

Mrs. Rachel Lynde and Marilla sat comfortably in the parlor while Anne got the tea and made hot biscuits that were light and white enough to defy even Mrs. Rachel's criticism.Anne of Green Gables, XXXIngredients:

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cut vegetable shortening

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup red jam or jelly

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.Measure the sifted flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt and mix with a fork in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the vegetable shortening until the mixture looks like coarse bread crumbs. Add the milk and mix it into the flour with a fork ~ but only until the mixture forms a soft ball. Place the ball of dough on a lightly floured surface and knead it 12 times. Rub some flour onto the rolling pin and roll out the dough until it's about 1/4 inch thick. With a large biscuit cutter, cut circles, very close together, in the dough. Use a straight downward motion, and don't twist the cutter.With a spatula, lift half the circles, one at a time, onto a cookie sheet. Arrange them about 1 inch apart.With a small cutter, cut a hole in the rest of the circles to make rings and lift out the centers with the spatula. Set these centers aside.Place the rings on top of the large circles on the cookie sheet. Put a teaspoonful of jam or jelly in the middle of each ring. Bake the biscuits 12 to 15 minutes or until puffed and slightly golden. Remove from the oven and immediately lift the tea biscuits from the cookie sheet.

Makes 12 ruby tea biscuits

With the leftover centers of dough, you can bake some little plain biscuits.

Miss Ellen's Pound Cake

"I wish I could get Miss Ellen's recipe for pound cake," sighed Aunt Chatty. "She's promised it to me time and again but it never comes. It's an old English family recipe. They're so exclusive about their recipes."Anne of Windy Poplars, IIIngredients:

1 cup softened butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

6 large eggs

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Grease and flour a 5x9" loaf pan. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.With a mixer, cream the butter in a large mixing bowl until soft, smooth, and fluffy. Add the sugar, a little at a time, beating until light and fluffy.Add the eggs, one at a time. Beat well after adding each egg.With a spoon, stir in the flour, salt, and vanilla. Mix well.Spoon the batter into the loaf pan. Smooth the top with a spatula and bake the cake for 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 hours.Test the cake with a toothpick. If it isn't done, test again in 15 minutes. When the cake is done, remove from the oven, and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes.Slide a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Turn the cake upside down on the cooling rack and gently lift off the loaf pan.To serve, cut the pound cake into thin slices with a knife.

Coconut Macaroons

"No, thank you, Kate, I won't have any more tea...well, mebbe a macaroon. They don't lie heavy on the stomach, but I'm afraid I've et far too much."Anne of Windy Poplars, VIIIIngredients:

3 room-temperature eggs

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

3/4 cup icing sugar

1 cup shredded coconut

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat over to 300 degrees.Cut a large paper bag into a rectangle that will just fit on your cookie sheet.Break the eggs and separate them, putting the yolks into a small bowl and the whites in a large bowl. Beat the whites with an electric mixter until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until the egg whites are stiff and glossy but not dry.With a spatula, carefully fold the sugar, coconut, and almond extract into the egg whites. Do not stir.Drop the batter by teaspoonfuls onto the brown-paper-covered cookie sheet - about 1 inch apart. Bake the macaroons for 20 to 25 minutes until they look dry on top.Remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Dampen a tea towel and lay it on your counter. Lift the brown paper and macaroons onto the tea towel. Let them cool completely. Peel the macaroons off the brown paper and put them on a plate.

Maritime Gingersnaps

"You'll put down the old brown tea set. But you can open the little yellow crock of cherry preserves. It's time it was being used anyhow ~ I believe it's beginning to work. And you can cut some fruitcake and have some of the cookies and snaps."Anne of Green Gables, XVIIngredients:

1/2 cup molasses

1/4 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons powdered ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

Place oven racks in center of oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees.Measure the molasses and shortening in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until it reaches the boiling point. Immediately remove from the heat.Measure the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Mix. When the molasses mixture is cool, pour it over the flour mixture. Mix well. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.Shape the dough into small balls ~ about the size of a quarter ~ and arrange them two inches apart on the cookie sheet.Flatten the balls with the bottom of a small drinking glass or with your fingers.Bake the gingersnaps until crispy and dry ~ 6 to 8 minutes. Watch them closely ~ they can burn very easily.When the gingersnaps are done, set the pan on a cooling rack. Let the gingersnaps cook for 5 minutes then remove from cookie sheet.

Makes about 4 dozen snaps

Tantalizing Raspberry Tarts

The little girls of Avonlea school always pooled their lunches, and to eat three raspberry tarts alone or even to share them only with one's best chum would have forever and ever branded as "awful mean" the girl who did it. And yet, when the tarts were divided among ten girls you just got enough to tantalize you.Anne of Green Gables, XVIngredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons cold butter

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 package frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.Measure out flour, sugar, and salt and mix in a large mixing bowl. Fill a liquid measuring cup with 1 cup cold water. Remove 6 tablespoons of the water. Push pieces of butter down into the water until the water level reaches 1 cup. Pour out the water. Then cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until it looks like tiny peas.To the egg yolk add the tablespoon of water and the lemon juice. Mix with fork.Sprinkle the egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture. Stir with fork until the pastry holds together in a ball.With your fingers pull small pieces of pastry from the ball and press them evenly against the bottom and sides of each tart tin. The pastry should be about 1/8 inch thick. Refrigerate the tart shells while you make the filling.Put the cornstarch and the water into a small saucepan. Stir in 3/4 cup sugar. Add the thawed raspberries to the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until thick ~ about 10-15 minutes. Let the mixture cool. Spoon the raspberry filling evenly into each tart shell ~ they should be no more than 2/3 full.Bake the tarts at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Then, turn down the oven to 350 degrees and bake them 15 minutes more ~ or until they are golden brown.Remove the tarts from the oven, set them on a cooling rack, and cool for 15 minutes. Then gently remove them from the tin.Try using 1 cup fresh raspberries when they're in season. Delicious!

Mrs. Irving's Delicious Shortbread

"Of course I'll stay to tea", said Anne gaily. "I was dying to be asked. My mouth has been watering for some more of your grandma's delicious shortbread ever since I had tea here before."Anne of Avonlea, XIXIngredients:

1 cup softened butter

1/2 cup icing sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

pinch of salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer until it is soft, smooth, and fluffy. Add the icing sugar, a little at a time, and beat until smooth.Measure and add the flour, salt, and baking powder to a medium mixing bowl. Mix with a fork. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until well mixed.Turn the dough onto a floured surface and roll it out into a large circle ~ about 1/4 inch thick. With cookie cutters, cut the dough into any shapes you like. With a metal spatula, lift the shortbreads onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Place them about 1/2 inch apart. Prick each shortbread twice with a fork and sprinkle with sugar.Bake the shortbreads for 20-25 minutes until they turn light brown around the edges.Remove from the oven and immediately lift the shortbreads onto a plate.

Diana Barry's Favorite Raspberry Cordial

"But it isn't good manners to tell your company what you are going to give them to eat, so I won't tell you what she said we could have to drink. Only it begins with an R and a C and it's a bright red color. I love bright red drinks, don't you? They taste twice as good as any other color."Anne of Green Gables, XVIIngredients:

2 packages frozen unsweetened raspberries

1 1/4 cups sugar

4 cups boiling water

3 lemons

Put the thawed raspberries into a saucepan and add the sugar.Cook over medium heat stirring once in a while for 20-25 minutes, until all the sugar is dissolved.With a potato masher, mash the raspberries and syrup thoroughly.Pour the mixture through a strainer making sure you extract all the juice.Squeeze 2 of the lemons and strain the juice. Add it to the raspberry juice.Let the raspberry cordial cool, then chill it in the refrigerator.When the cordial is ready to serve, float a thin slice of lemon in each glass.

There you are . . . all of Anne's and her friends' favorites for their tea parties. I have tried most of them . . . including the cordial, and it is superb!

I hope you and your friends enjoy!

Madeira Cookies

A fortified wine, Madeira originally came from the Portuguese island of the same name. These old-fashioned cookies, brushed with Madeira and dusted with sugar, make a romantic treat to serve with tea. You may serve tiny glasses of sweet Madeira with the cookies.

1/2 cup unsalted butter

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 3/4 cup sifted cake flour

1 tsp. cream of tartar

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Madeira for brushing

sugar for dustingCream the butter very well. Add the sugar gradually, beating until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the dry ingredients together and fold into the butter. Cover the gough tightly and chill overnight. Shape tablespoons of dough into balls and place on to greased baking sheets, 1 to 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 drgrees F. for 5 to 10 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Remove from oven, brush with Madeira, dust with sugar, and return to the oven for one minute more. Remove from baking sheets with a spatula and cool on racks. Makes one dozen cookies.


How to Eat a Scone

    Take a tea knife and split the scone in half across it's girth.  Now take a spoonful of jam or lemon curd and Devonshire Cream onto your small tea plate.  Then spread a little jam or lemon curd on the area of the scone's crumb face, the size you might expect to bite elegantly.  Top this with as much or as little Devonshire Cream as you wish and eat just that mouthful.  For true English elegance, do not spread the whole half at one time, and most certainly not the whole scone!  This is considered inelegant in those circles where people know about such matters as tea-table etiquette! 

~Tea Delight Scones~

1 3/4 cups cake flour

4 tsp. baking powder

5 Tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces

5 Tbsp. sugar

(Optional) 1/2 cup currants, raisins, or chocolate chips

A little less than 2/3 cup milk

1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten, for glaze

1.  Sift cake flour and baking powder into a medium bowl. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, cut butter and sugar into flour to form a fine crumble. Make a well in center, and add milk and optional ingredients. Knead very lightly three or four times.

2.  Place dough on generously floured surface, divide dough in half and pat into two six-inch circles, slightly taller in the middle. Cut circles into fourths and place on cookie sheet. Brush tops with lightly beaten egg yolk. Allow to stand for 15 minutes.

3 Bake at 400 till golden for 12 mintues

Egg Salad

Tea Sandwiches

4 boiled eggs

1/4 cup Miracle Whip Salad Dressing

2 tbsp. pickle relish

1/8 tsp. prepared mustard

1/8 tsp. dill

8 slices thin white bread

Dice eggs and mix with other ingredients.   Chill thoroughly.  Spread egg mixture onto bread.  Remove crusts and cut into squares or triangles

Tomato Tea


3 ripe tomatoes

Whipped Garden Herb Cream Cheese, softened

8 slices thin white bread

Spread cream cheese thinly on bread slices.  Slice tomatoes very thin and blot with paper towels.  Lay tomato slices on bread and top with bread.  Remove crusts and cut into squares or triangles.

Old Victorian

Jubilee Cherrie Cake

Cake Ingredients 5 eggs separated

1/4 cup sugar

1 Tbs. lemon juice

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

Cream Cheese Filling 8 oz cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1 cup heavy cream

2 Tbs cherry jelly

1/4 tsp almond extract

Cherries Jubilee Filling 1 quart pitted black cherries

1/2 cup claret

1 cup or less sugar (to taste)

3 Tbs cornstarch

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp lemon juice

To Make The CakePreheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat the egg whites until they stand up in soft peaks. Beat in the 1/4 cup sugar a tablespoon at a time. Without washing the beater, beat the egg yolks with the lemon juice until thick and lemon colored. Gradually beat in the 3/4 cup of sugar. Pour the yolk mixture over the beaten egg whites and fold together gently with a spoon or spatula until well blended. Sift the flour and salt together and fold into the egg mixture. Spoon the batter into two unbuttered 9-inch layer pans. Cut through the batter gently several times to break any large air bubbles. Bake about 30 minutes. Test by pressing lightly with a finger. If the cake springs back, it's done. Invert on a wire rack to cool.

To Make The Cream Cheese FillingCream the sugar and cream cheese together, add remaining ingredients and beat until thick.

To Make The Cherries Jubilee FillingDissolve the sugar in the claret and pour over the cherries. Let stand for several hours. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of the cherry juice. Heat the cherries in a saucepan to the boiling point. Lower heat and stir in the cornstarch mixture. Simmer, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat, add spices and lemon juice and allow to cool.

To Assemble The CakePlace one layer of sponge cake on a cake platter and spread a layer of cream filling about 3 inches wide around the perimeter of the top of the cake. Cut out the center (in a heart shape if using heart-shaped pans) of the other layer, leaving a 3 inch border. Put aside the center piece you cut out. Place the layer with the cut-out center on top of the other and press down to make the layers stick together. Decorate by placing a paper doily on top of the cake and sifting confectioners' sugar over the doily. Carefully remove the doily and fill the center of the cake with the Cherries Jubilee filling. There, now, wasn't that simple??

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