How To Make Delicious Scones For Your Own Cream Tea, By Nancy Birtwhistle

national cream tea day scones
Nancy Birtwhistle's lemon and caraway scones will impress your guests (Roddas/David Griffen)

For National Cream Tea Day, the Cream Tea Society has also teamed up with Great British Bake Off champ Nancy Birtwhistle to come up with a mouthwatering scone recipe with a twist for those wanting to make their own at home.

Nancy insists that a well-made scone is “light, springy and delicious” and should be served fresh and eaten the same day.

“I always make scones by hand and the secret of success with scone baking is to not have the mix too dry,” she says. “Try not to over handle, plus you need a very hot oven.”

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Nancy’s lemon and caraway scones are sublime, the inspiration coming from a cake her grandmother used to make.

Here’s how to make six of them yourself in just 20 minutes:


-225g Self raising flour

-45g salted butter

-35g caster sugar

-Zest and juice of 1 lemon

-130ml whole milk

-1 tsp caraway seeds

-1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Firstly, in a dry frying pan toast the seeds gently for a minute or two just to extract the nutty flavour contained within. Don’t burn them or they will be bitter.

In a medium mixing bowl grate the zest from the lemon. Place the milk in a small jug or glass then squeeze the lemon juice into it (the lemon should yield about 20ml) and set aside to thicken and curdle.

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Place the self-raising flour into the bowl containing the zest then add the softened butter and using your fingertips rub the mix together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and toasted seeds.

Next, add the vanilla extract to the milk mixture, then add enough to bind the dough together. I use a knife initially then my hands.  The dough needs to be just sticky, not too wet that you can’t handle it and not too dry.

Turn out onto a lightly floured worktop then smooth out using a rolling pin or simply the palm of your hand. The dough needs to be quite thick – about 1.5cm. Using a 7cm cutter dipped in flour to prevent the dough sticking, cut out six scones.  You will need to reuse the trimmings.

Place your scones on a baking sheet lined with non-stick parchment then pop them into the fridge.

Heat your oven to 225 degrees c and when your oven has reached its temperature take your scones from the fridge and if you have any milk mix left, give them a little brush just on the tops.  Avoid letting any run down the sides as this will impede the rising.

Pop straight into the hot oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until well risen and golden.  Do not overbake – the base of your scone should be golden brown not dark brown or black!

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Cool on wire trays and serve the same day.

Serve these scones with jam followed by a dollop of clotted cream.

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