Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Bread
Enjoy Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Bread (tea loaf) recipe for your next “tea,” along wtih pictures and stories from Highclere Castle, Hampshire, England. WATCH THE VIDEO!
I still have to pinch myself, that I was able to visit Highclere Castle, where Downton Abbey was filmed, and the little town of Bampton, a couple years ago.
Today I’m sharing a delicious Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Bread that I was able to enjoy while I visited the castle. And if you love lavendar, try our Banana Lemon Bread with lavendar!
What is tea loaf?
I like to think tea loaf is the same as tea bread, but it’s different. They’re both an English cake, but tea loaf is made with fruit and cinnamon, and traditionally served sliced served with butter. Tea bread is actually “tea buns” to be eaten with tea.
Well, today’s recipe is sort of like a cake, but in the shape of a loaf.
Let’s just call it Lavender Tea Bread :)
Also everyone has been asking about the lavender.
You can use fresh lavender, or you can buy it dried. I mostly use dried, and I buy it from World Market. It’s called “French Lavender” and it comes in a square package in the herb section.
A dream come true!
Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Bread
I recommend you use fresh ground lavender for this recipe, but you can always double the amount and used dried (just not as flavorful). Also, for a more lemon flavor in the glaze, use lemon juice instead of water.
Can I subsitute the sugar?
Yes, you can substitute the 1 cup of sugar for 1/2 cup of honey + 2 Tablespoons of coconut sugar!
Give it a try!
Highclere Castle, Hampshire, England
Friends, let’s talk “estate.” Since 1679, the castle has been home to the Earls of Carnarvon.
Currently Highclere, the centerpiece of Downton Abbey, is home to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, but did you know there are over 5000 acres? I would have loved to spend time touring the entire estate!
By 2009, the castle was in dire need of major repair, with only the ground and first floors remaining usable. Water damage had caused stonework to crumble and ceilings to collapse; at least 50 rooms were uninhabitable.
Lord and Lady Carnarvon
The 8th Earl and his family were living in a “modest cottage in the grounds”; he said his ancestors were responsible for the castle’s long term problems.” As of 2009, repairs needed for the entire estate were estimated to cost around $12 million, $1.8 million of which was urgently needed for just the castle.
As of late 2012, Lord and Lady Carnarvon have stated that a dramatic increase in the number of paying visitors has allowed them to begin major repairs on both Highclere’s turrets and its interior. The family attributes this increase in interest to the on-site filming of Downton Abbey. The family now live in Highclere during the winter months, but return to their cottage in the summer, when the castle is open to the public. — from Wikipedia
Lady Fiona was so generous with her time, and at tea, she shared the history behind all the portraits that lined the walls, plus what it was like to live in the castle, raise their son, all her charity work, and … a fun tidbit. Did you know that the Downton “kitchen” was off site, on a set in London? The actual Highclere castle kitchen is now modern, remodeled to accomodate events that take place there.
In the dining room are portraits of Carnarvon ancestors who took part in the civil war in England in the 1640’s.
There are over 5,650 books, the earliest dating from the 16th century. The Library is as much used by the family today as in the past, and is a focal meeting point for drinks and conversation, both before and after lunch and dinner.
Either side displays portraits of Carnarvon ancestors who took part in the civil war in England in the 1640’s.
Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Bread
Reflecting on my Highclere visit, I hosted a tea in my home. It was simple, lovely, and I hope you enjoy this Lavender Tea Bread today!
The bread is fabulous, and I’m updating this post with a little advice from a reader, who just made the bread and gave me some sage advice. Less is more (when you use dried lavender).
Use a little over a tablespoon in this recipe, and it comes out perfectly.
You can make this in a loaf pan, or 3 small loaf pans.
Downton Abbey Dinner Party Menu
Lori, at RecipeGirl.com, has a Downton Abbey dinner party menu if you’re feeling courageous and want to host a party this week. Do it! And come back and let me know how it goes.
Here’s my post with tea sandwich recipes.
And possibly you’ve tried my Pear Potato Soup recipe? I think Mrs. Patmore would approve!
I’m a huge Downton Abbey fan … I hated that the show had to end. I think at this point my favorite character is Tom. Possibly because he is an Irishman, and I’m married to the most amazing Irishman, or maybe it has something to do with his virtuousness. Maybe they’ll do a spin-off with Tom … what do you think?
Get the Recipe:
Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Bread
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lavender, finely chopped (or 3-4 tsp. dried)
- 6 Tbsp. butter, softened
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, or plain or vanilla
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2/3 cup sifted powdered sugar
- 3 tsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan (or 3 small pans; 3 1/2 x 6-inch pans).
- Combine the milk and lavender in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat to a simmer, then remove from heat, and allow to cool slightly.
- With a hand mixer, in a medium mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs and lemon zest until the mixture is light and fluffy; add in Greek yogurt, and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; gently mix into the creamed mixture alternately with the milk and lavender, until just blended.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s).
- Bake for 45-50 minutes (loaf pan). For the 3 small pans, bake for 30 minutes.
- To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. Poke holes with a fork into each loaf (about 6-8 times per loaf). Spread glaze over hot cake. Cool in pan 20 minutes on a wire rack; remove each loaf from the pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
Highclere Castle photos by TravelChannel.com
This bread was a hit! I can’t wait to make it again. For the icing I did lemon juice instead of water and it was fantastic. Next time I will try what Rosmarie suggested below for a bit of a healthier version. This is a must try recipe!
This is a lovely post. The executive chef at the castle, Paul Brooke-Taylor, is a very good friend of mine. I’ll send him a link to this post so that he can enjoy it too! I’m enjoying all of the recipes.
Fun, I just found him on instagram!
This was one of the best tea breads ever! My family loved it. I did make some revisions with my second loaf because of heart health issues. I substituted 4 tablespoons of the butter with plain or lemon yogurt and used 1/2 cup honey plus 2 tablespoons of sugar instead of one cup of sugar and it was as delish as my first loaf! I also used lemon extract instead of vanilla in the bread and icing as well due to preference. My sister added some lemon shavings on top of her icing and said it was a hit with her family as well ! Have already made this multiple times !
This is wonderful. I added lemon zest to mine for a lemon & lavender cake. So summery!
This bread is not only easy to make, but it’s delicious!! It was a hit at work and at home!
Absolutely delicious…Recipe perfectly balanced..Thank you..
Hi this is DC again .. made the bread today delicious especially with glaze… couldn’t taste the lavender I used 1 1/2 teasp lavender paste Would use more next time but it blended well with the milk so that wasn’t a problem .. thanks for the recipe delicious with tea. I’m from England so I would definitely make it for a Downton abbey tea.
That’s great. How much past would you recommend? I’ll add that to the post.
Can I use lavender paste instead.. this was all I could find ? How much would I use?
I have not tried the paste. If you do, can you come back and let us know how it turned out?
Wow this was SO delicious! It was incredibly easy to make and turned out fabulous. I beat everything with a fork and it still was amazing. I substituted the flour for oat flour and the milk for oat milk just because that’s what I had in my pantry! Will absolutely be making this again and again, thank you!
I was out in my yard yesterday and realized that I never use my lavender for anything. Then I came across your recipe. I made it this morning and was impressed with how easy and tasty this was to make! My sister and two daughters loved this bread and have requested I make this bread again!
Yay! So glad it’s a hit with your family! :)
Do you think this bread will freeze well?
I’d like to make a bunch of loaves to deliver later.
Hi, Daney! I have never freezed this bread, so I can’t say. But probably will be fine?
I love all about this pin. Thank you for sharing, I’m also a big fan of Downton Abbey. I miss it but I had the opportunity to see the movie last January. Not the same though but still.
This recipe sounds so nice for tea! I think I will try a lemon powdered sugar glaze however with the lavender buds. Thank you for sharing the recipe.
So I finally tried this recipe after pinning it and it is AMAZING. Remembered to use some fresh lavender from my garden, and it made a huge difference! Will definitely make again. 10/10, would stuff in face repeatedly.
I’d like to know about this and lavender extract liquid or lavender essential oil, if anyone knows.
I made the recipe to use up some lavender left over from lavender shortbread. It was wonderful!
Just one quibble – Highclere Castle is in Hampshire, not London.
Can I use lavender extract paste instead of fresh or dried lavender? If so, what do you suggest for the amount? Thank you!
I have never tried it, Leslie. If you do, come back and let us know! :) I’ll add it to the recipe!
Cake was amazing! I did put a lid on sauce pan so it held in the steam as it cooled!
Cake was better when it was cooled. The lavender flavor was better
Can I freeze the cake for three weeks, the defrosted completely, then make the glaze? I’m renewing our 41 year vows. The more I can freeze the better.
I have never tried this Judith, but I would think it would work just fine. Add the glaze after it’s defrosted. But again, I haven’t done it … to say “it’s fabulous!” I hope it turns out great for you. Happy 41st Anniversary! That is a milestone for sure! xo
What is your experience with how long this bread should be cooked? The first time I cooked it for about 50 minutes and the middle seemed doughy still and not fully cooked. The 2nd time I cooked it for a little over an hour and it seems better but the edges are mosre crispy.
Is there a difference between vanilla and vanilla extract in the ingredients?
Sandy, I found some dried lavender, but is it a different measurement then for the fresh lavender?
Denise, you can use 2 Tbsp. of dried. Enjoy!
Hi, I am making this with dried also. I see your response is 2 Tbsp but in the recipe above it says 2tsp?
Our church is doing a ladies tea in a couple of weeks and I would love to make this. Where is a good place to find the fresh lavender? Thank you for this recipe!
A health food store, and they’d have the dried lavender, too!
I’ve enjoyed many a tea, both cosy and High Tea functions. I love a good tea party. It’s so good for the soul. I’m a Scot, so we always had some versions of a scone at Tea. Everyone has a recipe, and not all were tasty… ha-! I like to CT my sandwiches using a flower cutter. I don’t care for angles. Just a quirk. And I cut all the fruits and vheese. Obviously a small tea. !. I don’t care for Earl grey or the like but prefer organic fruit teas like Celestrial, but always offer the hardier teas in a loose conflagration. Having several electric hot water kettles help .
As to favorite characters. I adored Matthew and sort of grieved his loss to the show. You are right, Tom has picked up that gauntlet of virtues nicely. We all need that person who is the heart –the soul –the conscience –of the family .. to set the paces, and without it , the family, crumbles because humans are pack animals that discover their personal dynamics early on, and the pack maintains those dynamics always, never allowing varience or it would mean each individual has to change. Which is why many move away.
But Tom holds that group fast. Violet in her old age has come to realize and appreciate that need and has been adding it that bit by bit. Mary is oblivious and it may add to her own dimise emotionally.. she only becomes aware of its need when she thinks of Matthew but she never connects to that need being fulfilled by her.
Her sister, is consumed by her own turmoil and also cannot connect to her being part of the solution .without Tom, the family will erode quickly. So far, none of the spouses are picky up the pace either. AUNT is aware, but unable.
Downstairs.. it too is unraveling with change. They feel uncertain if their station and security as the Family upstairs is disintegrating as well as society changing and 2 world wars. Living by the land. Living off the land are not as viable for the increased masses. Towns and cities begin to swell with uneducated poor. For Mr Mosely, Mr Akers the butler, and Daisy –they are seeking a better chance to survive this societal earthquake. Mrs Patmos and the butter wife team are looking only to their retirement yrs. Anna & husband , the footman, and such have even less outlook. So we see a slice if society happening on all fronts. Some will exceed, some will succeed, some will survive, and some will fail. We care for each character because we’ve watched them, know their hearts, but in real life where this goes on.. these people slip thru the cracks of charity and perish. I’m glad you chose Tom and look forward to your next post☆☆☆
Nice to hear your “spin” on the show, Blue! Thanks for sharing!
How fun!! British tea would be a blast and so yummy I’m sure. I’ve never watched Downton Abbey and actually thought it was called DownTOWN Abbey for the longest time :)