I don’t know what got into me this year, but I think I’m far enough down the “from scratch” rabbit hole that when I decided to throw Charlie a tea party for her 2nd birthday party, making all the food was the only reasonable option. I could make what ever I wanted, be proud of it, and be comfortable knowing I was feeding people healthy, nutritious food!
For this post, I thought it would be helpful to see the menu, how I prepared for the party (without going crazy) in advance, what recipes I used, and my thoughts on how everything went now that the party is done. So, here we go!
Here is the menu I prepared for Charlie’s 2nd birthday party. Since we were having a tea party, I wanted an assortment of tea sandwiches and pastries. Also, I knew that keeping it simple would be great for kiddos and adults alike.
How to Prepare a Tea Party for Twenty People
I started prepping for the party two to three weeks before hand. With lots of baking on my list, I knew spreading things out would be my best bet. I figured that twenty people (some of them children), would each want at least one of each sandwich type, plus pastries to much on. So I figured four types of sandwiches would be enough to keep people happy.
I chose to do one batch of sandwich bread and one batch of French bread. The sandwich bread was soft and spongy, perfect for my PB & J and Cucumber & Cream Cheese sandwiches. The French bread was a little sturdier and would hold up better for the Toasted Ham & Cheese and Fig Jam, Goat Cheese, & Prosciutto.
Each batch of bread made two loaves, which made life lots easier. I baked the sandwich bread three weeks before the party, and the French bread two weeks prior. As soon as they were cool, I wrapped them tightly in plastic wrap and threw them in the freezer.
I baked both the Pumpkin Scones and the Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins the week of the party. I threw them both in the freezer as well, so they’d stay nice and fresh.
The Day / Night Before
I baked the cake in the early afternoon, and iced it right before bed.
I also took all the breads and pastries out to thaw overnight.
The Day Of
All that was left to do on the day of the party was assembly! I made the teas late in the morning so they could steep, and worked on assembling/ displaying each sandwich starting around 1 PM. The party started at 3 PM, so this gave me time to get everything ready without worrying about things getting too stale. Once I had a sandwich all done, I covered it in plastic wrap until go time.
My mother-in-law brought the fruit salad, and my dad got the veggie tray and picked up the coffee, so those were things I didn’t need to worry about.
While I came up with all the sandwich varieties on my own, I used some great recipes for the breads, pastries, and cake. Here they are!
Easy Sourdough Discard Sandwich Bread – This sandwich bread is a go-to in our house already, so I knew it would be a great choice for the party. Soft, spongy, and a super reliable recipe!
Sourdough French Bread – Pretty much anything by Lisa Bass from Farmhouse on Boone is absolutely delicious. Again, I’d made this bread several times before so I had an idea of how it would turn out. I made two batches of this bread because the loaves are a little smaller (and we ate one the day I baked the first batch… it was too tasty!)
Classic Pumpkin Scones – This was a tough one for me to decide on because there were so many good looking pumpkin scone recipes out there! I ended up going with Sally’s because it was simple and to the point, so I knew I could get it done quickly. Making a double batch and making them mini scones instead of full size gave me about 50 mini scones. I didn’t make the Maple Glaze that she has written in the recipe because although they’re not super sweet, I thought they were just sweet enough to accompany a nice hot cup of coffee. And a lot of my guests actually said they liked that they weren’t too sweet!
Sourdough Zucchini Bread – Another recipe from Farmhouse on Boone, I made Lisa’s zucchini bread, but instead of a bread I made mini muffins. I got 52 muffins out of one bread recipe, and I added some dark chocolate chunks as a mix in. These were by far the hit of the party!
Ruth Reichl’s Giant Chocolate Cake – I’ll be honest, I was a bit intimidated about baking a cake big enough to feed twenty people. I just didn’t know how to figure out how much I needed! So I Googled “Cake for 20 people” and this recipe came up. Again, it was relatively simple, and doable (I had 9×13 pans on hand). This cake was moist, decadent, and fudgy. And the chocolate cream cheese icing was amazing as well. We’re finishing up leftovers a few days later and it’s still amazing!
Now that the Party’s Done…
I’ve had a few days to mull over how the party went, and I have to say I’m pretty darn pleased. I’ve made dinners for friends and family, but never made enough food to that scale. Overall I think it was a success.
There were a few pastries, a few pieces of cake, and some fruit salad left, but no sandwiches. The sandwiches didn’t go too fast though, so I’m not sure if I didn’t make enough, or I just made the perfect amount. I think next time I might make one more type of sandwich, or just one more loaf of bread so there would be a few more sandwiches left and people could eat more without worrying about eating the last one.
I am definitely glad I took the time to spread out party prep over a couple of weeks. It made a large, potentially overwhelming event, much more manageable since I cut it down into bite-size chunks.
Looking for more recipes?
If you’re looking for other sweet treats to add to your tea party, check out My Top Fall Treats.
Having a dinner party? Try out my Chicken and Cabbage Alfredo!
Tag me on Instagram @sweetgumspot with any pictures of the recipes you tried out or your own Tea Party Menu. I’d love to see how you prepare for a big group of guests!