Monday, December 15, 2008

Tomorrow is Jane Austen's 233rd Birthday

Getting away from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, today I'm featuring a tablescape I recently did in honor of Jane Austen. Have you read the book Tea with Jane, by Kim Wilson? The author takes you back to Jane Austen's time (1775-1817) and includes excerpts from her novels, tea history, recipes, Et cetera. Each chapter describes how tea was taken at different times of the day; i.e., Breakfast Tea, Tea & Shopping, Tea Away From Home, and Tea in the Evening. This book demonstrates how hospitality was "done" during Jane Austen's time. Tea was kept under lock and key as it was expensive and considered a sign of social status and fine hospitality. Jane Austen was a tea lover and tea is at the center of almost every social situation in her novels. It's a wonderful book for those who love tea and are Jane Austen enthusiasts.

I chose a breakfast-for-two tablescape using the Blue Willow design at my table for "A Grand Breakfast with the Austens at Stoneleigh Abbey."


(from the book)

Toast and Butter

Rasberry Jam


Jane and Cassandra's Pound Cake*

Orange Juice

Richard Twinings English Breakfast Tea

*Recipe for Jane and Cassandra's Pound Cake

2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature

6 eggs, plus 6 egg yolks, at room temperature

4 1/3 cups cake flour

2 cups white sugar

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a bundt or tube cake pan. Beat the butter with an electric mixer at medium speed or by hand until very smooth and creamy. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and egg yolks together well (about one minute). Add the eggs and vanilla extract to the butter and mix thoroughly. Add the cake flour gradually and mix well. Mix in the sugar. Beat the batter on medium speed until very smooth--about five minutes, or at least 200 strokes by hand. Pour the batter into the pan, leveling it off well.

Bake for one hour and 20 minutes, or until a bamboo skewer inserted in the deepest part of the cake comes out clean. (Check after one hour and every few minutes thereafter to ensure the cake does not become overdone). Invert the pan on a wire rack and carefully lift it off the cake. Do not allow the cake to cool in the pan, as the crust will be ruined.

Thank you for stopping by today. Tomorrow I will be posting a Christmas tablescape for Tablescape Tuesday, hosted by Susan at Between Naps on the Porch.


Anonymous said...

I LOVE your menus and beautiful tablescapes Janice! Just FABULOUS!! And I'm totally loving that toast rack!!

Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

Oh Miss Janice...I loved your post! Miss Jane is one of my favorites and I do think she is holding up well for an old lady, don't you? Your tablescape looks "very British." Of course I can just imagine Elinor Dashwood serving the tea! Thanks for the very interesting post and the recipe!...Debbie

Lady Katherine said...

Miss Janice, You have picked a lovely tablescape for Jane Austen'd Birthday! I have not read this book, but it shall be on my list now. I love the siver you used with the blue willow. The toast rack and tea pot warmer are so wonderful! I have a set of blue willow, My tea pot is totally different. Your is very pretty! Love the napkins and place mats. The orange juice looks so invining in the little saucer. The view outside is so refreshing green.

Sue said...

What a pretty table all dressed in blue & white, one of my favorite color combinations.

Cynthia's Cottage Design said...

Oh your table scape is gorgeous Janice!! and I just love Jane Austen too, I just bought a book the other day that has little tidbits of all her work and it also included copies of her hand written "notes to self" etc, I treasure it!

Hope your having a wonderful Holiday Season!

Hugs, Cynthia

Kara said...

Gorgeous! Love the Blue Willow pattern and the Waterford "Alana" pattern.
So refined and so relaxing., can't wait to add on the pounds with the pound cake!
Miss Kara

Glenda said...

How fortuitous. The UPS truck just delivered my Spode "tea for one" cup and small brewing pot.
When I take it for it's trial run, I'll be thinking of you and Jane Austen and all the beautiful "teas" you've attended. Looking forward to tomorrow's post.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for such a lovely post. Your table setting is just lovely, and I look forward to trying the pound cake recipe!

Bo said...

Hi Miss Janice...congratulations on winning Kristen's fabulous giveaway! This breakfast tea table is so very attractive and inviting looking...Lady, you do have style...I'm sure Jane Austen would approve... ;-) Bo

The Old Painted Cottage said...

Your tablescape is gorgeous, and I can't imagine a more perfect menu!


Nanette said...

What a beautiful way to relax for a bit.

Unknown said...

Hi Miss Janice,
I love this book! Did you see the article in Tea Time Magazine this month about JA?


Sandra said...

Gorgeous! I would appreciate it if you would come to Tennessee and do my holiday table :)

Tammy B said...

Miss Janice, I ran across your blog and just love it. I spent the afternoon reading your posts. I just love your menus and tablescapes. I am into tea, but I'm not a tea snob. Keep up the good work!

Gone said...

Hi Miss Janice...

What a lovely table you set...wish I could have been there!

Thanks for popping in and commenting on my tea cart.


Teresa Jane said...

Well, I feel that old too.

Suzann said...

I am a new fan of Jane Austen ,so this post was directly to my heart. I do not have this book, but I will be heading off to my wish list straight away to add it.
Such a beautiful tablescape too! Jane Austen would be quite thankful.

Envoy-ette said...

I wanna come! I wanna come! Please...let me come and sit at your table...(I'm whining for the first time in my life..see what you've done...)

LillyB said...

Fantastic Table and the menu sounds delicious!! Just beautiful!!

Lori said...

Oh my goodness! How did I miss this wonderful post on Jane Austen? I love her!! I've always wished that I lived in that romantic era. She would definitely approve of your tablescape. Just wonderful!